You’ve probably heard that one of the best ways to maintain good health is to follow a balanced diet. But what does a balanced diet refer to?
A balanced diet requires you to consume foods from all of the main food groups in just the right proportions, while also avoiding foods that contain undesirable nutrients like sugar, saturated fats, and sodium.
However, know that everyone’s body types are very different, so we can’t all follow the same diet. Depending on gender, age, or illness, you may require different amounts and types of certain nutrients.
To start working towards maintaining good health, you will need to adopt new eating habits.
Here are some of the ground rules that a balanced diet requires:
- Reduce your salt intake, so that it doesn’t exceed 6 grams a day. If you’ve never paid attention to how much salt you ate, then you might get shocked when you find out how little 6 grams is compared to how much people are used to consuming on a daily basis.
- Cut down on saturated fat and sugar, as they are both very dangerous to your health.
- Drink six to eight glasses of water every day. If you’re used to drinking more soft drinks than water throughout the day, try squeezing a few drops of lemon in your glass to add a bit of flavor.
- Try to eat two portions (or more) of fish every week. Most fish are incredibly nutritious.
- Never skip meals, especially breakfast! Although you’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day about a million times, you should listen to that piece of advice. Eating a nutritious breakfast will provide you with the energy you need to make it through the rest of the day.
- Eat five or more portions of vegetables and fruits every day. Not a lot of people manage to do this on a daily basis. However, if you want to live healthier, you will need to start including more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
- Starchy foods need to represent the base of your meals, as they should ideally serve as your fuel for the rest of the day. Start with having a bowl of unsweetened oatmeal or muesli with the milk of your choice and some fruits and seeds.
WHY IS BALANCED DIET SO IMPORTANT?
For your tissues and organs to work properly, they need proper nutrition, and a balanced diet is the best way for them to get it. When you don’t eat healthily, you’re more likely to get infections, suffer from diseases, and experience fatigue.
If you’re a parent, make sure that your kids maintain a balanced diet, as insufficient nutrients may lead to developmental and growth problems in children. Not to mention that bad eating habits you develop during childhood can be incredibly hard to change later on.
The constant rise of diabetes and obesity around the world, and especially in America, should serve as a wake-up call to all of the people who don’t pay attention to their eating habits.
Know that some of the deadliest diseases, such as stroke, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are all linked to poor nutrition.
If you’re tired of getting sick every couple of months or simply don’t know what to do to start feeling more energized throughout the day, the then chances are that you simply need to start eating healthier.
As per WebMD, nobody is perfect, and the best way to maintain our overall wellness is by eating a well-balanced diet and regularly exercising. We shouldn’t be striving for perfection, but instead, embrace moderation.
There are plenty of diet fads and trends that come and go, and while many will offer you the weight loss you desire in the timeframe you want to achieve it in- once you stop that diet and revert to your original diet habits you regain that weight, and more.
Therefore, the most favorable option is instead to change your lifestyle.
Here are four types of foods that must be avoided if you are looking for lifestyle change & improve your health conditions
1. ADDED SUGAR
Sugar is just empty calories- it offers no essential nutrients. Additionally, excess sugar consumption can result in several serious diseases such as diabetes, cancer, obesity, and heart disease.
If you want to learn more about the ways to decrease sugar cravings, you should really check this article out
Excess sugar consumption can make you fat, it doesn’t fill you up, and it is addictive, leading to serious cravings. Be careful when buying sugar-sweetened drinks, fruit juices, dried fruits, and sugary treats. Many of these present themselves as a healthy option but are packed with sugar.
2. TRANS FATS
Also, known as partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats, they are the unsaturated fats that undergo chemical modification to extend their shelf life, as well as making them stable at ambient temperatures.
The process involves high pressure and hydrogen gas which makes you wonder who thought this would be a good idea for human foods.
As per the New England Journal of Medicine, trans fats are guilty of increasing the bad cholesterol (LDL) and reducing the good cholesterol (HDL), as well as increasing fat around the stomach area, which can lead to diabetes.
If you blindly follow the crazy food trends in the market and replace your sugary drinks and sodas with low sugar cold drinks like diet coke or soda you are only cheating yourself. We usually get the idea of calorie- free sodas and drinks as a perfect choice as they are labeled as calorie and sugar-free, unfortunately, artificial sweeteners can have an adverse impact on your health.
Sweetener consumption is associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition can result in preterm delivery. Stevia is probably the safest artificial sweetening option if you must use one.
4. DIET FOODS
It’s easy to spot “low fat” and “diet” items on the shelf and instantly put them in the cart, believing they are the healthier options. Unfortunately, these labels are usually dishonest. An item low in fat is likely high in sugar, a thing low in sugar is frequently high in sugar- there’s always a give and take.
Don’t forget to read the label before believing anything is a diet or low-fat food option.
A lot of foods these days are portrayed as healthy items, especially the likes of low-fat options, as well as vegetable and seed oils. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case as they aren’t naturally occurring and our access to them is only recent.
Many of these oils are packed with omega 6 (polyunsaturated fats) which is required in a particular ratio to omega 3. You should always use oils sparingly.
Additionally, highly processed foods are packed with artificial chemicals, unhealthy ingredients, and low in nutrients. If there are more than five ingredients or you don’t understand certain ingredients, it’s probably a good idea to put it back on the shelf.
Real food doesn’t come with a list of ingredients, because the ingredient is real food.
LOOK FOR BALANCED DIET RECIPES ONLINE
One of the hardest things about starting a healthy lifestyle is figuring out what to eat. It sounds simple, but it can be a huge struggle. It is a hassle on your time, a hassle on your budget, and most importantly a hassle on your sanity.
For most of us, we have a few staple menus that we could make in our sleep. This might not offer a lot of variety, but it serves the basic purpose of keeping the family alive and semi-healthy.
But while these menus are old friends, they might not be the best option when trying to move into a healthier eating lifestyle. If you are looking for healthier meals for your family, or just new meals to add to your dinner rotation, grabbing recipes online is a great way to go.
They Are Free
Have you ever gotten recipe books only to get them home and discover that you didn’t like them? No matter how hard you try, sometimes recipes just don’t look as good as they do in the picture. The result is money wasted on something that is now gathering dust on your shelf.
When you are looking for recipes online, you literally have thousands of recipes to choose from. Whether you are looking for recipes based around certain ingredients or you are looking for something that falls into a certain style of eating (like Paleo or gluten-free or vegan), there are recipes to meet all of your needs.
What’s even better is that many of these sites have reviews from others who have tried the recipes. This is a great way to see what others have to say about the meal preparation, what other foods compliment that meal, and how good the meal tastes.
SEEKING HELP FROM A PROFESSIONAL
If you’re serious about following a balanced diet, then it might not be such a bad idea that you ask for help from a nutritionist. Paying a visit to a nutritionist is great because one can provide you with your very own personalized diet plan.
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