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It may seem like healthy eating can be really hard to do. But, with the ideas below, we can help you make good nutrition a bit easier. Remember to discuss any changes you want to make with your doctor.

Every time I try to eat right, it just seems too overwhelming. Then I remember how yummy it can be.

Keep in mind

  • You can fit healthy eating into a budget.
  • Pick one or two ideas you want to try now. Even small changes can make a difference. 
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you get off track. Just choose better for the next meal.
  • Fresh, canned, dried, and frozen foods can be included in a healthy diet.
  • Stay aware of any food allergies you may have.

Three keys to nutrition

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Get the right amount of calories—not too much or too little.

To know your ideal number, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist.

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Look for nutrient-dense foods.

These foods are high in nutrients—vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats—and relatively low in calories. Good examples are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy, seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, and nuts.

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Eat a variety of foods.

Choose fruits and vegetables in all the colors of the rainbow.

Shop smarter

Plan your meals and snacks for the week. That way, you’re not caught off guard—hungry and grabbing whatever you can find! Then, make a list before you go to the grocery store. Online shopping, for pickup or delivery, can also help you stick to your plan and help you save your energy for other tasks.

Ready to try a delicious, nutrient-packed recipe?

Learn how to make spicy salmon with chef Martin Lopez.

Consider some swaps

Switch some of your everyday foods for healthier options. Be sure to discuss any diet changes with your doctor first.

Instead of Try
White bread Whole-grain bread
White rice Brown rice
Fried chicken Grilled chicken
Steak Grilled fish
Fruit bars or fruit-flavored snacks Whole fruit, like apples and oranges
Energy or fruit drinks or soda Water, seltzer, or unsweetened tea

Can food help my lupus?

  • There is no special diet for lupus, but there are nutrients in many foods that can help with some of the health challenges you may be facing. For example:
  • Fiber from fruits and vegetables can help lower cholesterol.
  • Vitamin A can help keep eyes and skin healthy.
  • Always ask your doctor before making any diet changes.

Can any foods make lupus worse?

You may have heard to avoid “nightshade vegetables,” which include white potatoes, tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), and eggplant. While there isn’t any scientific evidence that directly links them to inflammation, you may find they trigger symptoms for you.


Have you noticed a flare after eating nightshades—not just once but on many occasions? If so, take note of it and discuss your concern at your next appointment.


One food for people with lupus to avoid is alfalfa, because of its connection with reports of a lupus-like syndrome or lupus flares. A substance found in alfalfa seeds and sprouts, but not in the leaves, may cause these reactions.

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Discuss your diet

Talk to your doctor about changes you’d like to make. You may even want to add a dietitian or nutritionist to your healthcare team. Make sure to include your rheumatologist in any of your decisions so everyone is on the same page with your health.


Definitely talk to your rheumatologist before you add herbs, supplements, or vitamins to your diet, as these may interact with your medicines. They shouldn’t replace any medications your doctor has prescribed. But, with your doctor’s okay, they may be a helpful addition to your management plan.

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