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Healthy Living

Meal guide for healthy eating

22 January, 2024
Produced by:
Optum Medical Care, P.C.
Meal guide for healthy eating

Clinically reviewed by: Optum National Clinical Review Team

Meal guide for healthy eating

Making good food choices can help lower your cholesterol, blood sugar and weight.

Make your plate look like this:
  • ½ plate non-starchy vegetables and/or salad
  • ¼ plate carbohydrates
  • ¼ plate protein
Breakfast ideas
  • 1 to 2 slices whole-wheat bread with natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup berries
  • 2 egg whites omelet with veggies
  • 1 to 2 slices whole-wheat bread
  • light margarine or light butter
  • ½ cup cooked, unflavored oatmeal
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup nonfat milk or nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 10–15 almonds or walnuts
  • optional: add flaxseed & cinnamon
  • 1 corn tortilla
  • ½ cup beans
  • Eggbeaters®
  • 1 slice low-fat cheese
  • 2 small pancakes with diet syrup
  • 2 turkey or soy sausages
  • Eggbeaters®
  • 1 to 2 corn tortillas
  • 2 slices low-fat cheese
  • salsa
Lunch or dinner ideas
  • grilled salmon
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pasta
  • green beans
  • water or sugar-free drink
  • turkey burger on whole-grain bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles and light mayo
  • green salad with light dressing
  • water or sugar-free drink
  • Lean Cuisine® or Healthy Choice® frozen meal
  • steamed vegetables or green salad with light dressing
  • water or sugar-free drink
  • 6-inch turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread
  • green salad with light dressing
  • water or sugar-free drink
  • stir-fry veggies and tofu
  • ½ cup brown rice
  • water or sugar-free drink
  • 2 chicken tacos on corn tortillas
  • ½ cup beans
  • green salad with light dressing
  • water or sugar-free drink
Choose more foods from this section

Vegetables: 2 or more cups a day

Fruits: 2 to 3 servings a day

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • cucumbers
  • green beans
  • tomatoes
  • zucchini
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 cup berries
  • ½ cup mixed fruit

Legumes and soy: 4 to 5 servings a week

Fish: 3 servings a week

  • beans
  • lentils
  • peas
  • soy beans
  • tofu
  • salmon
  • sardines
  • shrimp
  • mahi-mahi
  • mackerel
  • tuna: limit 1x week
  • canned salmon

Healthy fats (Small portions)

Unsalted nuts and seeds (Small portions)

  • canola oil
  • olive oil
  • soft-tub margarine
  • avocados
  • flaxseed meal
  • almonds
  • peanuts
  • pecans
  • walnuts
  • pumpkin
  • chia
  • cashews


Poultry and dairy

  • whole-wheat bread
  • whole-wheat pasta
  • whole-wheat tortilla
  • corn tortilla
  • farro
  • bulgur
  • brown rice
  • steel-cut oats
  • quinoa
  • plain yams and potatoes
  • corn
  • skinless chicken
  • turkey breast
  • low-fat cheese
  • egg whites
  • 1% milk
  • fat-free milk
  • light or greek yogurt


  • water
  • unsweetened tea
  • unsweetened coffee
  • unsweetened almond milk
  • unsweetened soy milk
 Stay away from food in this section

Foods high in saturated fats

  • whole milk and 2% milk
  • coconut milk
  • ice cream
  • sour cream
  • cheese (like cheddar)
  • chips
  • sausage, bacon
  • ground beef
  • chicken with skin
  • ham, bologna
  • salami, pastrami
  • liver, tongue, heart
  • menudo, ribs
  • butter, stick, margarine, shortening, lard
  • coconut, palm oil
  • prime beef
  • pork and beef franks
  • creamy dressings
  • pork rinds
  • egg yolks (No more than 3 times a week)

Foods and drinks high in sugar

  • sherbet
  • smoothies
  • frozen yogurt
  • sugar, agave, honey, jelly, syrup
  • pies
  • candy
  • Jell-O®
  • donuts
  • sweet breads
  • cake
  • cookies
  • chocolate
  • regular sodas
  • juices, punch, Snapple®
  • sports drinks
  • energy drinks

Limit starches

  • bagels
  • croissants
  • white bread
  • white rice
  • pastas
  • boxed cereals
  • beer
  • non-alcoholic beer
  • mixed drinks
  • regular sodas
  • wine and whiskey
  • gin
  • tequila
  • rum
  • vodka
  • brandy

download PDFMeal Guide for Healthy Eating



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