Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
“Taking care of our overall health is what determines longevity. If you make one change: Eat more fruits and vegetables every day. It’s the single most consistent finding,” says David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.
The new plate couldn’t make it clearer: Make 50 percent of what goes into your mouth a fruit or vegetable.
“When this becomes the main dish in your diet, you’re really going to be aided in weight loss and boost the value of your diet,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, M.A., R.D., C.D.N., author of Read It Before You Eat It. “By piling your plate with a colorful array of produce, you’ll supply your body with a variety of protective, disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols.” Plus, these low-calorie foods add bulk to the diet, making you feel full without causing weight gain.
According to Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, when you adopt a plant-based diet that stays away from processed and refined foods, you can eat whatever you want. “You don’t even need a diagram to figure out what to eat. You can eat as much as you want, and your body takes care of itself and loves you back. It’s pretty amazing and surprisingly simple,” she says.