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Healthy eating tips from our experts

When it comes to developing healthy eating habits, it can help to make changes one step at a time. Get started with these healthy eating tips from some of our expert health coaches:

1. Make simple swaps

“Always think about ways to make your favorite recipes a little healthier! I constantly use Greek yogurt in place of mayo or sour cream, unsweetened applesauce in place of butter or oil, ground turkey in place of ground beef, and other smart changes. Simple swaps help reduce fat and calories, and the recipes still taste great!” – Christine Jazwinski

2. Don’t be afraid of the fats

“It’s important to remember that not all fats are unhealthy and they can be very beneficial for physical and emotional health. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including Omega- 3’s) are the “good” fats and can be found in foods like avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish. The fats of greatest concern are the trans fats, which can be found in snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, margarines, vegetable shortenings, and anything with “partially hydrogenated” oil listed in the ingredients.” – Amanda Budzowski

3. Don’t drink your calories

“If you drink soft drinks on a regular basis, keep this in mind. Soft drinks are usually empty calories. Empty calories are calories that have no or almost no nutrients. Having some empty calories each day is okay, but most people take in much more than is healthy for them. For instance, a 12 oz. can of soda will have about 150 calories. Those calories are coming from the sweeteners, usually sugar or high fructose corn syrup. They add almost nothing to your overall nutrition. If you are trying to lose weight, and you cut out one soft drink per day (and don’t replace it with something else that has calories), you will cut out about 4,500 empty calories per month, or 54,000 per year. That’s the equivalent of approximately 15 pounds.” – Mike Connell

4. Eat real food

“Think back to the primitive times. Humans have survived on things they can grow and harvest, whether a harvest of plants or animals. Prepackaged foods with ingredients nearly possible to pronounce are not what has kept us going. Are packaged foods all bad? No, but my philosophy is, if I can’t identify what the ingredients are, I likely will not buy it.” – Kayla Tannehill


If you are a UPMC Health Plan member, health coaching is available to you to help you make lasting changes and stay motivated. To get started, call a coach at 1-800-807-0751, Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or log into MyHealth OnLine to chat with a coach.