A healthy, balanced diet is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for someone with a chronic condition, like HIV. Eating a nutritious diet, in addition to taking your prescribed medications, may be one way to start feeling better and help manage your disease. A healthy diet is full of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Our Registered Dietitians have created several tools to help you nourish your body, no matter if it’s been weeks or years since you’ve been diagnosed. Use these downloadable tools as a starting point, or as a refresher, on how to nourish your body and feel like you again.
Download our "Nutrition Tool Kit," which includes HIV-specific shopping lists, delicious recipes and tools.Nutrition Tool Kit
When it comes to grocery shopping, our Registered Dietitians recommend a few helpful shopping tips. When heading to the store, try some of the following suggestions to create a smoother shopping experience.
- Use the HIV Shopping List and Meal Plan to help keep you organized and prepared.
- Bring the Reading A Food Label handout to the store to make reading food labels easier.
- Be careful of tricky ingredients like salt and sugar. These ingredients can go by many different names, so check the food label for percent daily value (%DV). Aim to have the %DV less than 5% for added sugar and sodium.
- Stock up on fruits and vegetables. Choose from fresh, canned, dried or frozen. Canned foods are an affordable way to make getting your fruits and vegetables even easier.
- Stock up on low-sodium soups, beans or pantry staples like marinara sauce, jarred garlic, or olive oil. Having a few key ingredients on hand can make whipping up a meal even easier.
- Look for frozen or ready-to-eat grains to minimize food preparation.
- Look for food promotions, coupons or store discount offers to keep more money in your wallet.
- If you’re feeling low on energy, ask a friend or family member to join you on your shopping trip. They can help push the cart and load groceries into your cart or car.
- Try to shop at non-peak times of the day, when the store is less busy.
- If possible, try to use a cooler with wheels to make transporting groceries easier, especially if you’re feeling tired.
Download these helpful tips before heading to the grocery store!Shopping ListShopping TipsReading a Food Label
There’s no diet pattern that will cure HIV, but to feel your best, it’s important to eat well. Eating a variety of nutritious foods can help to fight inflammation, may help you feel better, increase energy levels and manage HIV symptoms. See below for healthy eating tips:
Choose a balanced diet rich in:
- Lean Protein
- Nuts and Seeds
- Whole Grains
Choose colorful plant foods that are high in antioxidants, nutrients that help protect healthy cells from becoming damaged.
- Fruit: blueberries, blackberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries
- Herbs and Spices: cinnamon, dried or ground turmeric, garlic, ginger
- Nuts and Seeds: almonds, pecans, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts
- Vegetables: artichokes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, red cabbage, spinach
Include healthy fats to help lower inflammation.
- Fatty Fish: mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna
- Fruit: avocado
- Nuts and Seeds: almonds, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, walnuts
- Oils: extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil
If you’re experiencing mouth sores or have a sore throat, try the following:
- Include soft, easy-to-swallow foods like scrambled eggs, cooked cereal or milkshakes
- Avoid foods that can bother or irritate your throat:
- Hot (temperature) foods and drinks
- Highly acidic foods: tomatoes, oranges, lemonade
- Sharp, crunchy foods: potato and tortilla chips
- Alcoholic beverages
- Spicy foods
- For more tips, download the Difficulty Swallowing handout.
If you’re experiencing diarrhea:
- Choose soft, bland foods: noodles, hard-boiled eggs, white bread, pureed vegetables, lean turkey, chicken, fish, mashed potatoes
- Keep sports beverages, like Gatorade®, stocked to help prevent dehydration during diarrhea.
- For more tips, download the Diarrhea handout.