Good nutrition is essential in keeping current and future generations of Marylanders healthy across the lifespan. The availability of healthy, affordable foods contributes to a person’s diet and risk of related chronic diseases. ​

Benefits of Eating Healthy

Some benefits of a healthy diet include:

  • May contribute to a longer life.
  • Keeps skin, teeth and eyes healthy.
  • Supports muscles.
  • Improves the immune system.
  • Increases bone strength.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
  • Supports healthy pregnancies and breastfeeding.
  • Helps the digestive system function.
  • Helps achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Healthy Eating Tips​

Small changes can help improve the nutritional value of meals.
  • Add a variety of colors to the plate. Fruits and vegetables with different colors are loaded with vitamins, fiber and minerals. Learn more about variety of fruits and vegetables colors
  • Reduce food choices with high sodium (salt) levels. Limit foods that contain high amounts of salt such as processed and prepackaged foods. Choose seasonings that are fresh such as lemon, lime or fresh herbs.
  • Add healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds, salmon, tuna and oils (olive oil or sesame) to meals. Healthy fats can be used in salads, cooking meats or even smoothies.
  • Increase fiber intake. Fiber helps control blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels. Foods that are a good source of fiber are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and peas. 

Healthy Food Environments

Having healthy food available and affordable in food retail and food service settings allows people to make healthier food choices. When healthy foods are not available, people may settle for foods that are higher in calories and lower in nutritional value.

Many strategies can contribute to healthy food environments. These include:​
  • Applying nutrition standards in childcare facilities, schools, hospitals, and worksites.
  • Providing incentives for supermarkets or farmers’ markets to establish their businesses in underserved areas.
  • Having nutrition information and caloric content on restaurant and fast food menus.

Food and Nutrition Security

Food security means all individuals, at all times, have both physical and economic access to sufficient food to meet dietary needs for normal growth and a productive and healthy life. In order for a household to be considered food secure, food must be available, accessible, and each individual in the household must be able to reliably utilize the food they obtain. Food insecurity is a socially-rooted and systemic issue and has only increased in prevalence since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Healthy Eating Resources

MyPlate Kitchen - CDC
Heart Healthy Recipes - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Meal Planning - CDC
Healthy Eating - National Institute on Aging
Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight - CDC
Healthy Eating During Pregnancy - ACOG
Food Assistance and Food Systems Resources - CDC​