Balanced Diet Definition
What Is A Balanced Diet?
Everyone talks about what it means to have a healthy and balanced diet, but do people really know what it means? It does not mean that you have to become a vegan or that you need to do a water fast or anything extreme to cleanse your colons and start fresh. Having a balanced diet generally means that you are getting a well-rounded and nutritious diet that allows you to have energy and facilitates a healthy body. Diversity is the key to a healthy and balanced diet. You need to eat foods from all food groups to make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to function properly. There are five main food groups: cereals, vegetables, fruits, dairy products and meat, and meat substitutes.
We know what you’re thinking, what about all of those Dorito’s in the cupboard…do I have to throw them out? Now, we wouldn’t advocate waste and as long as you are moderating the amount of chips that you eat, it is forgivable. Be sure to get the majority of your calories for the day from healthy items like fruits, vegetables and lean sources of protein and if you’re keeping your daily intake of sugar, salt and bad fats in check then you should be fine.
Keep in mind that calories and fats are not the only items on a potential menu that you need to keep in mind. The amount of salt and sugar that lives in your food can have a major impact on the balance in your diet. Stick with low sodium and sugar-free options when you can and double-check what kinds of sweeteners are replacing your sugar before trusting any food item.
Drinking water is also a big part of maintaining a balanced diet. Water cleanses the body and supports digestion. It removes toxins from the inner workings of your organs and bloodstream, so you cannot have a truly healthy diet without drinking enough water (we are talking about at least eight 8-ounce glasses of good old H2O per day).
Why It Is Important To Achieve A Balanced Diet
Your body is like a car, but the car isn’t going to make it far without any gasoline or oil. To keep your body functioning the way that it is supposed to, you have to have a healthy and balanced diet. Of course, there are those who are skinny as a rail and eat whatever they want but that is not indicative of the choices that you should be making for your meal plan!
Your organs rely on the chemicals that you ingest through food and drink in order to function at their best. The balance of your diet directly impacts each organ’s functionality and health so the idea that your metabolism is the only issue when analyzing your diet is completely false. Thin people can still get diabetes, stroke, heart disease and more if they are not cautious about the types of foods that they eat.
Besides the diseases that a poor diet can cause, there are common illnesses that a healthy diet can prevent! Your immune system is heavily impacted by your diet and therefore does a better job protecting you from the flu or common cold if it is well-fueled. A well-balanced diet can definitely improve your chances of fending off any viruses. It can also help with a more sound sleeping habit. Sleep rejuvenates the brain and makes it work at a high level the next day. Otherwise, we feel slow, energy levels remain low and concentration levels are affected.
During the day your body’s energy levels are also indicative of the types of foods and drinks you are taking in. The food we eat has a tremendous impact on the energy we have throughout the day. After a good night’s sleep, you shouldn’t need three cups of coffee to get going! If you are eating a well-rounded diet of healthy foods then you should be able to wake right up. Drinking water is also a key component of your energy levels, so be sure to stay hydrated.
How To Achieve A Balanced Diet
It sounds intimidating, but you don’t actually need to keep a food diary in order to achieve a balanced diet. There are a lot of tips and tricks out there to guide you along the way, but overall it is easier than people make it seem. The only thing that is required is the big “C” – COMMITMENT!
You can keep a food diary as you start out if you’d like and if you’re introducing new foods into your diet then it may be a good idea. If you have any sensitivities, it will be easier to track. Again, it is not required so do not use the headache of a food diary as your excuse to push off this change in your lifestyle.
Every meal that you eat during the day should have fruits or vegetables, and yes that means more than the speck of spinach on top of your pizza. Make sure to eat a light salad before the slice, it will increase your veggie intake and also make you a little full before going crazy on that pizza! If you have a snack routine for the day then be sure to make fruits readily available for in-between meals. Food prep comes in handy for the fruit and veggie balance, so try setting up the week’s menu and see if it makes a difference for you.
Make sure that you are eating enough protein in your diet. Protein plays a very important role when it comes to eating healthy. It does a great deal in building bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It also plays a big role in helping you lose weight. Some good sources of protein that you should consider are meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, dairy products (go for the low-fat options), soy foods, nuts, and seeds.
When going for grains to add to your healthy diet, it is advisable to go for whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat, whole oats and quinoa as these are the healthiest options and avoid unhealthy options such as white bread and white rice which are basically empty calories.
Keep in mind that Eating healthy doesn’t always mean you have to skip on fat entirely and no, we aren’t talking about fat from fried food. In case you did not know, trans fat (the kind you find in fried foods) are bad for you. We are talking here about the healthy type of fat which is present in foods such as fatty fish. These are extremely essential when trying to achieve a fresh skin, a boosted immune system and to burn fat. Some good sources of healthy fats include fatty fish, whole eggs, olive oil, avocados, coconuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and nuts.
Avoid any sugary, salty or fatty processed foods as much as you can, and if you are having a craving just remember that once in a while is allowed. Use those snacks that you shouldn’t eat as a reward system so that your new balanced diet doesn’t feel like such a chore. Drinking water can help curb those cravings too, so before you reach for the bag of chips or box of donuts, drink at least 8 ounces of water and see if the craving dissipates.