We all know that a nutritious diet is the key to long, happy, healthy life. But between fat-free foods and low-carb crazes, sometimes it’s hard to determine what a healthy diet actually looks like—making it all too easy to yield to the temptations of processed junk food.
But you can forget the crazy fad diets and expensive health food products. A healthy diet shouldn’t be complicated, and with these fourteen visual aids, it doesn’t have to be!
1. Eating Healthy Starts at the Grocery Store
The best way to keep yourself from accidentally eating a whole bag of chips is to simply not buy the chips in the first place. Stick to this list and you’ll be good to go.
2. Ditch The Food Pyramid
Remember that confusing pyramid chart we all had to learn in the 90s? Keeping track of serving sizes is so much easier when you can picture the food on your plate.
3. Know Your Portion Sizes Like the Back of Your Hand
And we mean that literally. Use your hand as a guide to figure out your perfect portion.
4. Save Your Health AND The Planet by Keeping Your Food Fresh
Your produce won’t do you any good at the landfill. Plus, decomposing food waste is a big source of methane—a greenhouse gas that is 21 time more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.
5. You are What You Drink, Too
Not only is sugar full of empty calories, it’s also incredibly addictive. In a recent study in Bordeaux, rats even chose sugar over cocaine, despite already being addicted to the drug. Save your calories for sweet treats that will do you good!
6. A Spoonful of Sugar Can Go by Many Names
Even if “sugar” isn’t on the ingredients list, chances are that most of the pre-packaged foods in your pantry are loaded with added sugars. Keep this list handy to see which of your foods are really sugar-free.
7. Have Your Cake—and Make it Healthy, Too!
Okay, you get it—excessive sugar is bad for you. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a sweet treat once in a while. These swaps will let you indulge in your favorite baked treats without sacrificing nutrition.
8. Don’t Go Nuts With the Nuts
Nuts are a true superfood that contain heart-healthy fats, protein, and vitamins. However, they’re also calorically dense, making it easy to sabotage your healthy eating plan by over-indulging. Stick to these portion sizes to avoid overdoing it.
9. No Meat, Dairy, or Eggs? No Problem
What’s the hardest part of being vegan? Answering all those questions about how you get your protein and other nutrients. Here’s a handy chart that will do the explaining it for you.
10. Find Out What You’re Really Craving
Eating healthy is easy as pie—until someone says the word "pie" and you’ve suddenly got a craving for it. Try these substitutes instead.
11. Meatless Monday Made Easy
Whether you want to cut out meat seven days a week or just on Monday, plant-based proteins are great for your both your health and your wallet.
12. So Many Smoothies!
Smoothies are God’s gift to health nuts. Whether you prefer your smoothies green or chocolatey, this chart has you covered.
13. Switch Up Your Cooking Oil for a Health and Flavor Boost
Olive oil is great, but there’s a whole world of healthy oils out there to be explored. However, this chart comes with one caveat: palm oil is linked to severe deforestation, so make sure to consider environmental costs when choosing the best oil for your meal.
14. One Great Grain Guide
How many times has this happened to you? You go to cook your grains for dinner but you’ve thrown away the packaging that contained the directions. Don’t worry—we’ve got a chart for that.
Print out these charts to make it even easier to stay on track with your healthy diet. Which one do you find most useful? Let us know what other charts or diagrams you use to stay healthy!
Image credit: Mandy Martini