3. Eat less meat. The mainstays of a healthy diet should be grains, nuts, and seeds, as well as nonstarchy vegetables and fruits, rather than meat. Whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread) provide fiber, which aids the digestive system and makes you feel fuller, and B vitamins, which can boost energy and aid metabolism. Nuts and seeds contain nutrients, such as vitamin E in almonds and sunflower seeds, that are otherwise hard to come by. Legumes — including beans, soybeans, peanuts, and lentils — provide fiber, too, along with protein, iron, folate, and other nutrients. Replacing meat with legumes as a protein source is a good strategy for reducing saturated-fat intake. (See “Separate Your Fats,” below.)
It’s easier than you think to work these foods into your day. Open up a can of kidney beans or chickpeas and add them to soup, chili, or pasta. Or try a bowl of fortified breakfast cereal, 1 1/2 ounces of shelled sunflower seeds on a salad, or two ounces of almonds. You’ll be one of the less than 3 percent of Americans who get the recommended daily dose of vitamin E (see The Nutrients You Need).