Starting on a journey towards better nutrition can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Start with small changes that are achievable and build on them over time. For example, if you don't eat many fruits and vegetables, try adding one serving to your diet each day.
Learn about the different food groups, how they affect your body, and what a balanced diet looks like. This will help you make informed choices about the foods you eat.
Make a meal plan for the week and prepare meals and snacks in advance to help you stick to your goals.
Pay attention to the nutrition information on food labels and look for options that are low in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium.
Drinking enough water is essential for good health. Aim for at least 8 cups of water per day.
Consider consulting with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to help you develop a personalized nutrition plan that meets your individual needs and goals.
Remember that good nutrition is about balance and moderation, and it is a journey that takes time and effort. Celebrate your successes and don't be too hard on yourself if you slip up along the way.
I found the book Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating by Walter Willet to be a great start. Generally Harvard, Tufts, and AHA nutrition recommendations are easy to understand.
For some reason, the nutrition field is loaded with terrible advice, grifters, scam artists, and statistically naive journalists that produce tons of flawed and dangerous misinformation, either out of stupidity or for profit. Unless you have a background in biostatistics/ nutritional epidemiology, its probably best to let absolute experts in this field interpret nutrition studies instead of a lot of the grifters online with no experience.
For me, it took a few years to fully change from an unhealthy teenage diet to the one I am eating now. Think about it not as a rapid dietary change but as "migrating" to a new lifestyle. Also, find healthy food that you like instead of forcing yourself to eat healthy food that you hate. There is a such huge variety of whole grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables, oils , fruits, poultry that you really should stick to what you like and make it enjoyable.
My, this post is old-- not sure anyone is looking for an answer, anymore. I would say start by emphasizing fruits and vegetables. Try to get the minimum of 3 servings of vegetables and two of fruits per day. Try new ways of serving the ones you like, and try out some that you haven't gotten used to yet.
Another healthy food is oatmeal.
One tool I like is the 'recipe nutrition calculator' on myfooddata.com
What I do, is I type in an approximation of my day's food as if it were one 'recipe', and look at how my vitamins, minerals, and amino acids add up.
There are a few things I'm often deficient in, so I supplement with those.
I'd also say that if you ever buy any 'junk'-- STOP. Seriously, don't even put that stuff in your cart. You will find other options if you don't have the anti-foods around. There are no chips or soda or candies or cookies or sweet baked goods in my apartment or even in my hands (when I am out, I take along a healthy snack, like pb&j or a plum or even some carrot sticks and a couple of walnuts).
When you don't have the junk as an option, the plain oatmeal, the vegetable soup, and the fresh apple look a lot more appealing!