Buy organic. Eliminate pesticides. Avoid processed foods and preservatives. It seems there are so many guidelines for healthy eating nowadays, and a prescription to eat healthy one day is quickly replaced with another trend or fact that changes your healthy meals the very next day! Without getting bogged down and overwhelmed with all of the new and conflicting information out there, there are a few standard tenets to eat healthy that everyone should follow.
A good starting point is the de facto standard to eat healthy; avoid trans fats and refined sugar which are both proven to increase your bad cholesterol and your waist line. Sugar is sneaky and shows up in the unlikeliest of places, too. That white bread made with refined white flour? Your body processes that as empty, nutritionless calories. The next basic rule to eat healthy is to make fruits and vegetables the biggest component of your dietary lifestyle. Not only are they lower in calories and fat, but fruits and veggies also provide mega vitamin boosts, which are often missing from processed foods. Another top key to eat healthy is to limit your red meat intake. Yes, you can still indulge yourself with the occasional filet mignon, but animal fats are linked to higher LDL cholesterol levels (that is the bad kind) and heart disease. Instead, occasionally replace your red meat protein with lean meats such as chicken breast or turkey, or even better, fish, which has omega 3 fats, which are proven to lower the risk of heart disease.
Last but not least (and depending on your budget), is whether to go organic or not. There are so many conflicting reports on whether or not organic is actually better for you (and whether or not foods that claim to be organic actually are), that it can be overwhelming when trying to find the right foods to eat healthy. A good rule of thumb to eat healthy with organic foods is to try to avoid pesticides as much as possible, and purchase antibiotic free meat and dairy products. Studies show that the effects of eating organic have far more substantial benefits in children. As such, it is impossible to know the long term benefits of an organic diet, but the general consensus to eat healthy seems to be that organic foods can not hurt you anymore than non organic.