It’s easier than you think to start eating healthy. Small changes can make a big difference to your overall health and wellness. By incorporating the Good and limiting the Bad and the Ugly foods listed below, you will be well on your way to a healthier, happier you.

The Good: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruits to meals as part of your main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the most vitamins, minerals and fiber your body needs to be healthy.

Switch your refined-grain foods to whole-grain foods, such as whole-wheat bread as opposed to white bread. Reading the ingredients list and making sure that whole-grain ingredients are listed first, is the best way to know that you are choosing the right products. Make sure to look for things such as: “whole wheat”, “brown rice”, buckwheat”, “oatmeal”, “rolled oats”, “quinoa”, or “wild rice”

If you are a fan of milk, switch to 1% or fat free, it has the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but contains fewer calories and less saturated fat.

Meat, poultry, seafood, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds are all part of the protein foods group. Selecting leaner cuts of ground beef, turkey breast, or chicken breast are much healthier options for the body.

The Bad: Avoid all foods that are extremely high in cholesterol! This means limiting saturated fats and oils such as butter, bacon, lard, palm oil and coconut oil. As an alternative, use soft tub margarine and/or vegetable, olive or canola oil.

Fried foods are known to be nutritional nightmares. They can clog your arteries, veins, cause possible stroke, Alzheimer’s and heart attacks. Just as modified or processed foods, fried foods do not break down in the body properly, remaining in the kidneys, liver, intestines, prostate and colon for extended period of time, if not permanently. STAY AWAY!

Lastly, we have The Ugly: Avoid foods like hamburgers, fries, friend chicken, and tacos. They are all high in both total fat and saturated fat. If you choose to eat out, it’s best if you opt for broiled sandwiches or chicken without skin, salads with low-fat dressing, and foods that again are not fried. Leave off the cheese, high-fat dressings and mayonnaise too!

I know we all love good sugary snacks and drinks, but they have been linked to excessive weight gain, fat in the liver, belly fat accumulation and can cause insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, different types of cancers and can generally become very addictive.

Limit snacks like croissants, crackers, quick breads and cakes made with saturated of hydrogenated fat, whole eggs, or whole milk. As an alternative, try low-fat baked goods, and if you must use spread or toppings, use them lightly.

Now, go ahead and begin transitioning to a healthier, happier you & let us know how it’s going!