It seems that almost anywhere you turn there is an article or news report trying to tell you what the latest “miracle solution” is to eating healthier. Gluten-free, Paleo, and Atkins are just a few popular examples of diets promising that if you restrict certain food groups you’ll quickly reach your goal weight. While there are some advantages to these diet plans, I feel that, as a society, we’re too focused on a perfect plan being handed to us in a simple package. Instead of relying on science-based facts, we often fall prey to advertising and headlines. We need to make informed decisions for ourselves on how we should approach our diets. We need to understand how nutrition affects our bodies and use that knowledge to make intelligent choices about what we eat.
The good news? It’s easy to find information on human nutrition and healthy eating habits. Below I’ve compiled a series of agency guidelines, open courseware, and dietary resources that will teach you (for free) all about the foundations of a healthy diet and the mechanics of how the body functions. These include dietary guidelines, nutritional science, childhood nutrition, meal planning, portion sizes, recipes, and more. Pay attention to recommendations for specific medical conditions, such as heart health, diabetes, and allergies. And remember, if you have questions it is always best to speak with your doctor to determine the best plan of action for you.
So browse through the following resources and bookmark your favorites (mine are marked with a ***). Don’t get overwhelmed – learn a topic at a time. I promise, it’ll be worth it when you can use this new knowledge as a basis for planning out your ideal diet.
- Tufts University: Foundations of Nutrition Science***
- Johns Hopkins University: Principles of Human Nutrition***
- EdX: Introduction to Nutrition – Food for Health
- UC Berkeley Introduction to Human Nutrition (Podcast)
- The Open University: Nutrition: Vitamins and Minerals
- The Open University: Obesity: Balanced Diets and Treatment
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute (Seminars)
- Johns Hopkins University: Critical Analysis of Popular Diets and Dietary Supplements
- MIT: Food for Thought: Writing and Reading about the Cultures of Food
- 25 Excellent Open Courseware Classes on Nutrition and Healthy Eating
- American Heart Association: Nutrition Center***
- Mayo Clinic: Nutrition and Healthy Eating***
- U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA): Dietary Guidelines for Americans***
- U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA): Choose My Plate***
- U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (video)
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Food
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Nutrition for Everyone
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Healthy Weight
- USA.gov: Food, Nutrition, and Fitness
- American Society for Nutrition: “Nutrition Talks” (podcast)
- National Institute of Health (NIH) Medline Plus: Nutrition
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- World Health Organization: Nutrition
- California Dept of Education: Nutrition
- School Nutrition Association: Nutrition, Nutrition Education & Physical Activity
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source***
- Oregon State University: Eat Well for Less***
- WebMD: Living Healthy
- Nutrition Journal
Do you have any sites you’d like to add? Please share in the comments below and subscribe to the email list to stay informed of more health lists in the future!