No matter how young or how old you are, good nutrition is essential to looking and feeling your best. You can plan to make meals that will provide top nutritional value by keeping some basic ideas in mind. Consider the solid advice in the article below to start eating right to stay healthy.

Read the fine print. When you are grocery shopping, don’t be fooled by packaging that gives the impression of containing healthy food. Don’t assume that because it is “low-fat” or “organic”, that it is healthy. Take a second to flip the box over and read the nutrition information panel and ingredient list to determine its nutritional content for yourself.

When cooking your lower-calorie and lower-fat diet meals, increase the amount of spices and flavoring you use. This will help you feel more satisfied with less food. If you get a variety of tastes in your meal, you won’t feel as deprived as if you are eating bland low-fat foods.

It may sound like a broken record but when it comes to nutrition, pull out that food pyramid you were given in elementary school. This will ensure that you get the proper combination of starches, proteins, carbs, and other essential elements of a healthy diet. If you are looking to be a productive member of society, or just of the workplace, being well nourished is the first step.

If you wish to improve your diet and nutrition, begin gradually. Change normally does not occur right away. Trying to eat too many unfamiliar foods will make it harder on yourself. Work on adding nutritious items over time, and as time passes, your habits will have become much healthier.

Copper is an important mineral which should be a part of a healthy diet. It allows the iron to function in your body, thus preventing anemia. Copper acts as an antioxidant by protecting against free radicals. It also helps keep your bones, blood vessels and lungs healthy. You can get copper in legumes, cereal, whole grains, fish and liver.

Always eat a balanced diet. The ideal diet for most people, consists of about 20 percent protein, 30 percent fat and between 50 and 55 percent carbohydrates. Most people are aware that too much fat is bad, however, too little can be bad, as well. The same goes for carbohydrates.

Get garlic breath! This pungent and flavorful food has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a powerful tool for lowering your blood pressure and even helping to lower your bad cholesterol levels. Try using it to flavor vegetables and pastas, or as a topping on pizza. Always use fresh cloves and only cook it lightly to preserve the most nutrients.

Liven up your homemade omelet, by including fresh or frozen vegetables. Omelets have an irresistible attraction when they contain fresh or frozen vegetables. Vegetables add interest, as well as, texture, color, flavor and vital nutrients. Just slice some up, saute and then add them to the omelet just before you flip and close it up.

When eating salad at a restaurant, always ask for the dressing in a little cup, not directly on your salad. This way you can know exactly how much you use, and you won’t load up on empty calories. This will prevent you from eating too much salad dressing without realizing it.

Puree up your favorite fruits, especially those that are over-ripe and about to be thrown away, and use these as sauces for pancakes; pour over chicken as a sweet and sour sauce; or use where some sweetness would be a nice touch. Remember not to add any extra sugar though. The fruit should provide all the sweetness you need.

Make a salad for dinner. You can add chicken, fish, or other lean meats, as well as lots of fresh veggies like carrots, corn, peas, tomatoes and even throw in some strawberries, mandarin oranges or pineapple for some sweet pizazz. Making a salad the entree will keep you from using a high calorie and carbohydrate like pasta instead.

Make sure you’re not consuming an excess of Vitamin A if you’re pregnant. Too much Vitamin A can cause birth defects or liver toxicity in the baby. Don’t take any Vitamin A supplements while you’re pregnant without first checking with your doctor. You shouldn’t intake more than 10,000 (IU’s) of Vitamin A while pregnant.

Sweet potatoes will satisfy your craving for starch without overloading you with a lot of carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes can be mashed or turned into tasty fries. Garnish them with a little bit of butter and sugar. They can even help you to feel better if you suffer from arthritis, as they have an anti-inflammatory agent.

Eat breakfast to improve nutrition. When you skip breakfast you are more likely to overeat later. You are also more likely to crave foods high in sugar or unhealthy fats. Eating a nutritious breakfast every morning enables your body to have better control over your blood sugar and since you are satiated you are less likely to give in to unhealthy cravings.

A weekly trip to your local farmer’s market can be a great thing for your nutrition plan. At the farmer’s market you are likely to find an assortment of produce that is healthier, and often cheaper, than what you’ll find in a store. You will also find lots of healthy treats like honey, jam and different kinds of sauces.

Switch to skim milk to cut down on fat. If you are currently drinking whole milk, gradually change over to the lower-fat versions – fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%). Switching from whole milk will not reduce your intake of calcium or other essential nutrients, but it will cut your calories.

As you can see, it is easy to plan for optimum nutrition and excellent health with just a few basic ideas to keep you on the right track. Looking and feeling your best, no matter what your age, is within your control. Start using the suggestions in the article above for your best nutrition.