Before looking at how to build a diet, a menu or even a meal using the fundamentals of good nutrition, stop for a second and think about this: You’ve gotten this far in life, so you must be doing some things right when it comes to food. But there is always room to do better.If you really want to know how you’re doing, here’s something to try: For three days, write down everything you eat and drink. Try to include one weekend day in your three days. This should give you a general idea of your eating habits right now.There’s no way around it: Changing your eating habits is hard work.But don’t think of changing everything at once. Start with one thing.When you succeed, feel good. When you slip, don’t feel bad. The advantage of nutrition is that you always have a chance to do it better at the next meal or snack.

One of the keys to eating well is to make sure you have healthy food available when you’re hungry. This can range from throwing an apple or some nuts in your bag for a quick, easy snack to planning a menu for several days. Healthy eating does require some thoughtfulness and preparation, including planning meals and purchasing the required groceries. There will be more of this kind of work in the beginning as you learn what works for you. As you become more knowledgeable,it will likely become easier. It might even become second nature.When changing your eating habits, start with one thing at a time.

Planning a menu 

One way to build a menu is to arrange your daily servings of the different food groups into a series of meals and snacks. On the next page we’ve outlined a five-step path to building a daily menu that includes five meals or snacks. It might seem counterintuitive to build a menu up from components, but it’s a good way to ensure you’re getting what you need.