Athens Regional Health System

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is one of the foundations of health and vitality. The purpose of this section of our website is to review the basics of healthy eating and, most importantly, to give you some practical help in turning that into a reality.

Here are some of our beliefs about food:

  • Food is a goodness and should always be a pleasure. While we may occasionally eat something because "It is good for me," it is important to enjoy your meals, and to eat them in a calm, friendly atmosphere. And without media distractions.
  • The body, mind and heart work best when given the raw materials that are needed for optimal functioning.

These are guidelines, or perhaps goals. Everyone "cheats." Life happens. However, the more you move toward healthy eating, the better you will feel. All changes make a difference.

  • Physical activity is the beginning of healthy eating.
  • Maintain a healthy weight by balancing what you eat with regular physical activity.
  • Plants (vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes and grains) should make up most of your diet. Variety is important.
  • Eat as little animal fat as you can, replacing some with healthy oils, such as olive, nut, canola and other vegetable oils. Eat as little saturated fat as you can. There is no safe level for trans fats. Don't make yourself crazy, but DO make an effort to reduce or eliminate them. Look at food labels for saturated and trans fats, even on baked products.
  • Generally speaking, organic foods are preferable because they are free from pesticides and other contaminants. Organic meats and poultry do not have hormones and antibiotics present.
  • If you eat meat, move towards fish and lean poultry. Beef and pork should appear rarely in your diet, especially red meat that is not organic and free range.
  • No sugar is best, but can be a challenge. Sweets are occasional foods that should be eaten in small amounts. Avoid drinking sugar, i.e. soft drinks, and sweet tea.
  • Whole grains are essential. Whole wheat, brown rice, and other whole grains provide micronutrients and fiber.
  • Use alcohol in moderation or not at all. Moderation is the equivalent of one drink or less per day for women, or two drinks or less per day for men. If you have trouble with inflammation, alcohol makes it worse.
  • Take a multivitamin with minerals each day for insurance. Choose a product that does not exceed 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for each vitamin.
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