Healthy Eating Basics - Minnesota Department of Health

Healthy Eating Basics

Healthy Food, Healthy Communities

What we eat has a direct effect on our health and well-being. Despite Minnesota’s reputation of being a rich agricultural state, too many Minnesotans cannot find fresh fruits and vegetables near their homes or what they can find is limited and expensive.

Our communities, neighborhoods, schools and workplaces have a role to play in supporting access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Why is access to healthy food important?

People who eat a healthy diet are at lower risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, tooth decay and some cancers.

Other benefits of healthy eating:

  • Control weight
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase energy levels
  • Strengthen bones
  • Improve brain function1,2

SHIP is making an impact

Learn how one SHIP community is helping get food to people who can't get to the Steele County Food Shelf. Watch our SHIP video!

What you should know

  • Experts recommend eating 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day (based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet)3
  • According to the CDC, a healthy diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins like beans, eggs, nuts, fish and poultry, while limiting saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.4
  • Experts also recommend limiting sugary beverages. One 20 oz. soda contains 17 teaspoons of added sugars, which is approximately three times the maximum limit the American Heart Association recommends for added sugars in one day.5

What you can do

  • Encourage your city to include healthy food and beverage options in city vending machines.
  • Talk to your employer about becoming a breastfeeding friendly workplace and how they can provide access to healthy foods in cafeterias and vending machines.
  • Ask your school district to include locally grown food in schools meals.
  • Support farmers markets and buy fresh, local fruits and vegetables to benefit you and your community.

Learn More

1 U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2016). Nutrients and Health Benefits: Why is it important to eat vegetables? Retrieved from Choose My Plate website
2 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2017). Chronic Disease Prevention Infographic. Retrieved from Eat Right website at
3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Retrieved from
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Healthy Weight: Eating for a Healthy Weight. Retrieved from CDC website at
5 Johnson, R.K., Appel, L.J., Brands, M., et al. (2009). Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 120, 1011-20. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192627

Updated Friday, 04-Oct-2019 17:04:51 CDT