Open Accessibility Menu

Healthy Eating, Healthy Living

Published in Heart & Vascular, For the Health of It, Healthy Eating Tips Author: Jessica George,RD LD Author: Jessica George, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian, CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center

You hear about so many diet gimmicks and trendy fads. How do you know what’s healthy and safe?

It’s always a good idea to discuss nutrition with your health care provider. A sensible regimen that is recommended is the Mediterranean-style meal plan. This plan promotes healthy fats, lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

In addition to what you eat, the Mediterranean way of life includes:

  • Daily exercise
  • Not smoking
  • Limited alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Why chose the Mediterranean plan?

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries. It also is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

What should you eat?

Fruits and Vegetables: Aim for five to 10 servings per day. Serving size is ½ cup cooked or one cup raw.

Lean Protein: Choose baked, broiled, grilled or poached. Aim for two servings per day.

  • Fish and Seafood: Aim for two to three servings of fish per week. Serving size is 3 oz. (about the size of a deck of cards).
  • Poultry and Eggs: Poultry serving size is 3 oz. (about the size of a deck of cards). One egg equals 1 oz. of protein.
  • Beef, Pork and Wild Game: Limit to less than two servings per week. Serving size is 3 oz. (about the size of a deck of cards).
  • Beans and Legumes: Substitute these for meat at least two times per week. Serving size is ½ cup.

Grains: Choose whole grain breads, pasta, rice or cereals. Aim for three to eight servings per day. Serving size is one slice of bread, ½ cup portions of rice, pasta or cereal.

Dairy: Aim for two to three servings daily. Serving size is one cup of milk/yogurt, one oz. of cheese, one cheese string or one cheese slice.

Fats and Oils: Choose monounsaturated fats. Aim for four to six servings per day. Serving size is one teaspoon oil or tub spread.

Nuts and Seeds: Choose unsalted or lightly salted nuts. Aim for one serving daily. Serving size is ¼ cup.

Tips for success

  • Beverages — choose water most often.
  • In place of salt, make a point of using herbs and spices for tastier foods.
  • Go easy on:
    • Added sugar
    • Highly processed foods
    • Caffeine
  • Read food labels — know what you are eating.
  • Spread your intake over the day.
  • Vary your type of protein over the week.
  • For food categories with ranges:
    • Smaller people — choose the lower range.
    • Large people or those very physically fit or active — choose the higher range.
  • If health issues exist, such as heart disease or high blood sugar, you may need to adjust diet.
  • For more health tips/ideas, visit on
  • Look for the Dietitian’s Choice logo on shelf tags at Coborn’s.