. Healthy eating is a lifestyle change. Learn a few basic food rules and it'll be easier to maintain your weight and temperament. If you're aiming for healthy eating, pay attention to what you eat. Being healthy is a balancing act. Aim for the proper combination of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. First and foremost, it's important to drink between two and three litres of water daily. Water is important. Hydration helps every system in the body.

Breakfast - the most important meal of the day!

An old saying goes:
"eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper." The truth in the saying is that the biggest meal of the day should be breakfast. Meals should get smaller as the day progresses. Research shows that people who skip breakfast are fatter. That's because eating breakfast gets your metabolism started for the day, and keeps it active through the morning. If you skip breakfast, you may be so hungry by lunchtime that you'll overeat. Another rule is eat five times per day. Physicians believe eating three smaller meals, with two snacks in-between, keeps your blood sugar steady.

Some rough nutritional guidelines

The government's old food pyramid has been replaced with the food plate. 2012 guidelines include one or two servings of milk and dairy per day. It's recommended that we switch to low fat (fat-free or one percent) milk. Half of your plate should be fruit and vegetables. Consider eating leafy greens like kale, collard greens, mustard greens and swiss chard. Leafy greens are packed with nutrients and help keep you full. The amount of grains and proteins needed daily depends on your age. However, at least half of the grains eaten should be whole grains. Whole grains are complex carbs. Complex carbs are beneficial because they're higher in vitamins and other nutrients.

Fat - the good, the bad and the ugly!

It's important to know the
difference between good fat and bad fat. The body needs monounsaturated fats to keep our cholesterol low--reducing the risk of heart disease. Foods that are high in monounsaturated fats include olive oil, nuts, fish oil and various seed oils. Avocados are high in the good fats. Here's a great recipe for a veggie deluxe sandwich:


2 slices whole wheat bread
2 tbsp. hummus
1/4 avocado, sliced
2 oz. low-fat cheese
1 large leaf of lettuce, torn into large pieces
1 small tomato, sliced,
Other veggies of your choice (shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, onion slices, etc.)
Dash of vinegar & olive oil

Spread the hummus on one side of each slice of bread. All other ingredients in layers. Add the vinegar and oil over the veggies.

It's also important to pick healthy protein sources, like fish and beans. We don't always have to eat burgers. Eating fish, chicken, beans and nuts, instead of red meat and processed meat, lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Processed meats are items like bacon, cold cuts and hot dogs. Finally, you don't have to skip dessert.
Just remember to eat in moderation. There are healthy dessert options like fresh fruit or nonfat frozen yogurt. Eating healthy is not as difficult as it seems. Stick to as many of the rules, as possible, and your body will thank you.
Healthy eating is not the same as a diet