With such an overwhelming amount of information on the internet these days about what’s healthy and what isn’t, it’s hard to decipher fact from fad. What is generally healthy? Here, we are answering some common questions about healthy eating and how to make healthy choices.

What is the actual meaning of eating healthy?

Healthy eating means eating the right quantities of the right foods from all the food groups. This can differ from person to person and doctor to doctor. However, all agree to cut out refined sugars and processed foods. It’s hard for your body to digest and break up these foods. It might give you a burst of energy at first but you will be crashing later.

My family and I live on a tight budget, and I’ve heard that eating healthy is expensive. Is that true?

It doesn’t have to be expensive. You will find that buying fresh fruits and vegetables is less expensive. By doing some simple prep work , you can cut up your veggies and freeze them, ready-to-go. It prevents veggies from going bad, saves money in your pocket and saves time in the kitchen. Meat will always be pricier than veggies. Depending on your eating lifestyle, a better choice might be choosing lean meats that have less fats. Ultimately, you want to choose organic meats that are grass-fed (beef) with no hormones and cage-free (chicken) if you can.

I have a demanding job that takes up a lot of my time, and I find myself eating out almost every night. How can a busy person still eat healthy?

One technique to save time is to make your meals ahead of time, or at least bag up ingredients together. Plan out the meals you will be eating for the week. Once you get home from the grocery store, lay everything out. Measure out everything you need for each meal and put it all into one bag. That way, when you get home from a long day all the hard work is already done.

Is there a difference between healthy eating and going on a diet?

Yes – the difference is that healthy eating is more of a lifestyle. A diet is mostly referred to as an outline designed to help someone lose a specific amount of weight, or to help them meet other dietary needs, like those of people suffering with diabetes or candida. Diets, generally, are very restrictive. Healthy eating encourages variety in eating from all different food groups. The only thing healthy eating restricts is non-healthy foods.

I have three kids, and I find it difficult to get them to eat healthy. What can I do?

Children are notorious for being picky eaters. The thing is, they don’t like to eat what they find “boring.” Make food more appetizing by utilizing the bright colors of veggies. Try making stuffed peppers with quinoa and ground turkey. Leave the top on so when they eat it they have to take the top off. Making food interactive will keep their interest. Also, cook with your kids! They are more likely to eat foods that they helped prepare.

My New Year’s resolution is to live a healthy lifestyle. How can I start eating healthy?

If you’re serious about eating healthy, the first thing you should do is remove all processed foods/drinks and refined sugar from your lifestyle. Stop drinking soda – replace it with water or unsweetened tea. Even fruit juices can be overloaded with added sugars and extra chemicals. Replace the meats you’re eating with leaner versions, or choose organic grass-fed beef and hormone/steroid-free chicken. Remember, whatever the animal eats, you eat. Instead of store-bought canned and frozen food, reach for the fresh version. Your body will thank you.

My job requires going out to many business dinners. How can I make healthy eating choices when eating out?

When eating out, it’s all about looking at your options and making the right choice. Avoid eating fried foods or meal items with breading. This will just bog you down and add unnecessary calories and fats to your diet. Order something off the grill with a side of veggies. When given a choice of white or brown rice, pick brown. Instead of having diet soda or beer, pick unsweetened iced tea or water with lemon. A good fall-back is a salad with protein, veggies, and a vinaigrette dressing.

I want to get healthy. How can I add more fruits and vegetables to my diet?

Try to incorporate a protein, veggie and grain or starch structure to your meals. This way, when you forget to include a vegetable, the meal will feel incomplete. If you’re more of a one-pot meal kind of person, just throw some veggies into the pot along with your other ingredients. It’s really that simple. With fruit you can make smoothies, or eat it as a snack or for breakfast. Put down the chips, and pick up some fresh produce.

I have a problem staying away from the cookie aisle. How can I shop for healthier foods?

There is a secret to this. It’s called “shopping the perimeter.” If you think about the items on your shopping list and then compare them to where those items are in the store, you might find that the unhealthy items on your list are often in the middle aisles. If you keep to the outer perimeter, you’re less likely to be tempted and you’ll find yourself making healthier choices overall.

I have food allergies that prevent me from getting all of the vitamins and minerals I need. How do I choose the right supplement?

Supplements come in a variety of forms. Those with more than one vitamin or mineral are called “multivitamins.” Some multivitamins are even targeted toward a specific gender, age group, or for pregnant or planning-on-becoming pregnant women. Most people can take a standard multivitamin, but some people prefer taking a supplement that was created specifically for them. No matter what you choose, always consult your physician before taking a supplement.