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You’re not alone. Most of us know how important eating healthy food is. Yet most adults don’t meet nutrition guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Eating nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, chicken or fish can lower your risk for health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even some types of cancer. However, loading up on foods that taste great but have little nutritional value, like fast food or candy, can increase your risk for developing these conditions. These foods often have too much fat, sugar or salt and not enough nutrients that fuel your body. 

Here are more benefits of good nutrition: 

  • In addition to lowering your risks for certain diseases, eating well can help you feel better now. Good nutrition can help improve conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Your diet is an important part of managing Type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association offers more information here. Healthy eating can also help you lower your blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Nutritious foods can boost your mood, too. Often we reach for tasty snacks like chips or cookies when we’re feeling down. These “comfort foods” activate rewards centers in our brains that give us a quick boost. But this quick jolt of energy is often short-lived. For a more long-lasting mood boost, turn to fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts or dark chocolate, according to the American Heart Association
  • Good nutrition is also a key part of keeping your immune system working its best. Eating well keeps your immune system in good working order so your body can fight off viruses like flu, the common cold and COVID-19.
  • Eating well keeps you looking your best, too. Your body needs nutrient-rich foods to keep your skin, eyes, hair and teeth healthy. 

There are many reasons we choose to eat the foods we do. You may have grown up eating certain foods, and it’s hard to break the cycle. Maybe you’re unsure about which foods to eat or believe you’re eating healthy already. You may be eating because you are stressed, bored, or just watching TV and eating without thinking about it.  No matter your history and relationship with food, consider exploring ways to upgrade your eating habits. In fact, just making a few small changes can help you improve your health. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot. There are ways to plan healthy meals on a budget.

Tips for Healthier Eating

Here are a few quick tips you can use to tweak your eating habits and resources you can use to help:

Choose whole foods: Avoid packaged, processed foods. Get your nutrients straight from the source: fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and lean proteins. For example, eat an apple, not applesauce. And bonus, it comes in its own edible package. 

Eat the rainbow: One quick way to make sure you are getting needed nutrients is to make sure to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Aim for five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, too.

  • Red fruits and veggies can contain nutrients like lycopene and resveratrol, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties protect against oxidation, which can age and damage your body’s cells. It also protects against inflammation, which can cause your body to attack its own healthy cells. Some inflammation is good for us. For instance, if you cut yourself, your immune system rushes in to fight infection and start the healing process. In contrast, if inflammation lingers too long, and your body thinks it’s under constant attack, this is chronic inflammation. It causes cell damage and DNA changes that can lead to arthritis, asthma, cancer and other conditions. 
  • Orange and yellow fruits and veggies contain beta carotene, which is good for your eye health. These foods also contain anti-inflammatory properties and could help lower your risk for heart disease and cancer.
  • Green fruits and veggies contain lutein, which helps with eye and heart health. Dark, leafy greens are particularly rich in antioxidants, fiber, folate and vitamins A, C, E and K. Researchers have found that eating just 2 to 3 cups of dark leafy greens a week can cut your risk for several types of cancer and reduce your risk for heart disease. 
  • Blue and purple fruits and veggies are also anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and can promote blood vessel, heart and brain health. They can also help lower your risk for certain cancers, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • And don’t forget white and brown fruits and veggies like cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic, onions and potatoes. Cauliflower contains cancer-fighting compounds. Potatoes (with the skin) are a good source of potassium and fiber, while mushrooms are loaded with selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin D. Garlic has antioxidant properties and onions help combat inflammation.

Eat from all food groups: Make sure you are getting a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein. 

Watch your portion sizes: Often a lot of us make the mistake of eating portions that are too large. Use the examples below to get a handle on your portion sizes. Each example below explains what a single serving of each food looks like.

  • Meat: The palm of your hand
  • Cheese: A pair of dice
  • Rice, pasta: A tennis ball
  • Cut-up raw fruit, vegetables: A baseball
  • Dried fruit, nuts: A handful, or a golf ball

Read food labels: When you’re shopping, check out the nutrition information on your food labels. Here are some important things to look for.

  • Added sugar: Avoid foods with large amounts of added sugar. Less than 10 percent of your daily calories should be from added sugar. Children under two should avoid all foods and beverages with added sugar. 
  • Saturated and trans fats: Less than 10 percent of your calories should be from these types of fats, which can increase your risk for heart disease.
  • Serving size: Pay attention to the serving size and the number of servings for the product purchased. Some items like beverages may look like a single serving, but the calories and nutritional information say the container is two or three servings.  
  • Fiber: Look for foods high in fiber. Try to get at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Fiber helps keep your blood sugar stable and is a key part of keeping your digestive system moving. Getting enough fiber also helps lower your risks for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Sodium: Avoid too much sodium. Keep your daily intake under 2,300 mg, or less than 1,500 mg if you have high blood pressure. 

Resources for Healthier Eating

meQuilibrium*: If you’re looking for support changing your eating habits and relationship with food, consider using meQuilibrium. meQulibrium is a digital mental well-being program designed to help you face each day with confidence. This program is available to fully insured Florida Blue and all Florida Blue Medicare Advantage plan members at no extra cost. meQuilibrium is a self-guided and personalized program. You can choose from a variety of activities to help you change your relationship with food. 

 Here’s how to log in and sign up: 

  • Log in to your member portal at 
  • Select Find & Get Care
  • Select Mental Well-Being from the dropdown menu
  • Scroll to Available Programs
  • Select meQuilibrium

Or, if you don’t have a Florida Blue plan, visit 

Florida Blue Centers: You can also get answers to your nutrition questions from one of our Florida Blue Center nurses. Our team can connect you to resources in your community if you need healthy food and offer suggestions for cooking healthy food on a budget. Our centers also offer webinars and classes on a variety of health topics, including nutrition, to the public at no cost. Visit your local center or call 877-352-5830 to speak to a care nurse. Learn more at

BlueForMe**: Florida Blue members eligible for our care programs can reach out to their care manager for additional information on stress management. And now, with the BlueForMe app, they can do it through their smart devices.

Feeding Florida: If someone you know needs food, you can find mobile pantries and food banks with fresh food near them. Just visit to find a food bank near you. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: For healthy eating tips, links to local nutrition programs, food assistance programs and more, check out the CDC’s Nutrition page

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Get tips for eating right on a budget, healthy recipes, eating as a family and more here

Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Want to check out the U.S. dietary guidelines for yourself? You can check view them here


*meQuilibrium is an independent company contracted by Florida Blue to provide health and wellness services and resources to members. This benefit is available to Florida Blue members age 18 and older.  Eligibility is limited to members with an individual or family plan, an individual or family ACA plan and members with coverage from their fully insured group employer health plan.

**Florida Blue has entered into an arrangement with Wellframe to provide members with care decision support services, information and other services. All decisions that require or pertain to independent professional medical/clinical judgement or training, or the need for medical services, are solely the member’s responsibility and the responsibility of their physicians and other health care providers.  Wellframe is an independent company that provides online services to Florida Blue members through the BlueforMe app.

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