America is getting fatter, and Pennsylvania is moving up the list of the nation’s top 20 “most obese” states.

Our busy lifestyles encourage unhealthy eating habits. These include eating on the run and high-fat/high-sugar snacking. But with a little effort, you can transform your family’s diet from “fat” to “fit” with these quick healthy eating tips.

Never Miss a Beat!

Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!

Message and data rates may apply. Text the word STOP to opt out and HELP for help. Click here to view the privacy and terms.

Starting Breakfast Off Right

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Kids who eat breakfast are more alert and focused in school.

This is especially true for those who eat “brain food” like protein, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids. Adults who eat a good breakfast also have more energy and concentrate better.

Tips to improve your morning noshing:

  • Crunched for time? Grab a hard-boiled egg and toast, or top an apple or banana with peanut butter for a tasty breakfast to go.
  • Get your creative juices flowing with easy-to-make fruit and yogurt smoothies.
  • Is cereal your family’s breakfast of choice? Look for low-sugar, high-fiber options and top them with fresh fruit and low-fat milk (1% or fat-free).

Think Smart About Fast-Food Lunches

No time to pack your own lunch? Use these healthy strategies when dining out:

  • Say no to fried, sautéed, or creamy foods. Opt instead for roasted, grilled, broiled, steamed, or baked meals.
  • Beware of add-ons (like mayo, butter, and salad dressing) that quickly increase calorie counts.
  • Replace sodas with water or fat-free or 1% milk. Even diet sodas aren’t great for you.

Make Dinner a Family Affair

Eating together as a family offers countless benefits. This includes the opportunity for more balanced, nutritious meals. It’s also a chance for parents to serve as healthy eating role models.

  • Look for seasonal produce that grows locally. In the fall, that means vegetables like pumpkins and squash and fruits like apples and pears.
  • Reduce the amount of meat your family eats. You can do this by gradually introducing healthy protein alternatives into your meals. These alternatives can include fish, whole grains, and beans.
  • Talk to your children about portion control. Fruits and vegetables should make up half of every plate.

Interested in learning more about nutritious eating? Check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new guidelines at

For more tips on eating healthy, visit the UPMC Life After Weight Loss program website.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. We are dedicated to providing Life Changing Medicine to our communities.