Member / Health Tips / Nutrition


To be in good health, your body needs a balance of proteins, vitamins and other nutrients. These things help keep your body strong and give you energy. Keeping track of your eating habits can help you make changes to your diet You can use a food diary to keep track of:

  • What you eat
  • What time you eat
  • How much you eat
  • Where you eat
  • If you eat by yourself or with others
  • How you felt before you ate

What Is a Healthy Diet?

A healthy diet helps you get vital proteins, vitamins, and nutrients. It helps you feel your best and gives you energy. A healthy diet has foods from all five food groups:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains: Make half of the grains you eat whole grains
  • Dairy: Try low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Protein: Try fish, lean meats, beans, eggs

Follow your primary care provider’s (PCP’s) advice on the foods that are right for you. Keeping up a balanced diet will help you stay healthy.

Benefits of a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can prevent:

  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become brittle and weak 

Foods To Avoid

Many foods today have chemicals, salt, and added sugars. Talk to your doctor about the kinds of foods you like and may be allergic to with your doctor. Your doctor can help you identify the types of foods that are harmful to your health.

Cholesterol, Sodium (Salt), & Added Sugars

  • Meat, poultry, and fish all have some cholesterol, as do dairy products. These are also a good source of protein. Some animal products are higher in cholesterol than others. Turkey is naturally low in cholesterol. So is tuna.
  • Many prepared foods are high in sodium (salt) content. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Here are some tips to reduce the amount of sodium you take in:
    • Read the sodium content on food labels to find out how much you are taking in
    • Select foods labeled “low sodium”, “reduced sodium", or “no salt added”
  • Added sugars are sugars (e.g., fructose) and syrups (e.g., corn syrup) that are added to prepared foods or beverages to make them taste sweeter. Added sugars are found in sodas, fruit drinks, prepared candy, cakes, and some grain products (e.g., sweet rolls and cinnamon toast). Limit your intake of sweets and sugary drinks daily.

Find food resources that meet your needs

HPSM's Guide to Food Assistance Programs can help

San Mateo County has many great resources to help people get nutritious food for free or at reduced cost. In fact, there are so many resources that it can be hard to figure out which ones will meet your specific needs. 

HPSM's Guide to Food Assistance Programs makes getting what you need easier. It shows all the County's resources in searchable categories. It also provides short descriptions of each one and lists their contact information. If you have trouble finding the right resources using the guide, call HPSM's Care Coordinators and they will help you over the phone.