When I meet people and they find out that I am a registered dietitian-nutritionist, I often get the following question:

What are the most important rules for a healthy diet?

Here are the top ten that have helped many of my clients over the years:

  1. More matters when it comes to veggies. Whether fresh or frozen, eat lots and choose a variety of different colors daily.
  2. Cook at home more often. Most restaurant meals and grocery-prepared foods are high in salt, fat and/or sugar.
  3. Minimize packaged foods. Choose natural foods that come in their own packages like fresh fruits and vegetables.
  4. Buy foods that are in season like berries in the summer, apples in the fall, asparagus in the spring and clementines in the winter. In-season foods taste better and are often more economical and nutritious because they travel a shorter distance to your table.
  5. Stick mostly to a vegetarian or plant-based diet. Include two servings of sustainable seafood each week.
  6. Choose low fat dairy and choose fats that are monounsaturated such as those from nuts, seeds, avocados and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Buy only what you need in the food market and cut portions in half when dining out.
  8. Include foods and beverages that contain probiotics like yogurt (with live cultures), kefir and kombucha.
  9. Drink more water and less alcohol.
  10. Don’t believe everything you read on social media. The food industry pays people to disseminate misleading information in order to increase food product sales. It’s the newest marketing ploy.

Read my lifestyle and cookbook Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy to find out the dietary secrets of the healthiest countries in Europe with the lowest rates of obesity, heart disease and the longest lifespans.