The elusive balanced diet! Too much protein, not enough protein. Too many carbs, not enough carbs. Are they high carb or low carbs? Healthy fats, or is the fat unhealthy? How do we get a balanced diet and still lose weight, or maintain our weight? How do we balance all the things that make up a healthy diet and still get the recommended daily allowance of all the vitamins and minerals we need? What if we have diabetes? What if we are allergic to something? It’s a predicament we all face, slim or not, seemingly healthy or looking to improve our health.
What is a balanced diet?
A balanced diet should bring us our body needs, no more, no less, but it must not be strictly followed every day; equilibrium can be achieved over several days. At all stages and conditions of life, we need a balanced diet that is adaptable. Our nutrient requirements change as our habits change, The nutrient requirements of a person who exercises regularly are different than a person who does not exercise. The nutrient requirements are different for a person working construction than a person who sits at a desk answering phones all day.
It’s the same nutrients we all need, just in perhaps different portions or amounts. A balanced diet needs to contain foods from all the main food groups in the correct proportions to provide
the body with optimum nutrition.
It should also be made up of the correct number of calories to maintain a healthy weight, and below in processed foods. Every person is different and hence the correct diet for health may vary from person to person, however by following a diet that is varied, covers all foods groups, and is low in undesirable nutrients such as sodium, saturated fats, and sugar, you are well on your way to a healthy body.
Why is a balanced diet important?
A well-balanced diet provides important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to keep the body and mind strong and healthy. Eating well can also help ward off numerous diseases and health complications, as well as help, maintain healthy body weight, provide energy, allow better sleep, and improve brain function.
A diet with balance provides the body with the proper proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and liquids. It is important to not eliminate any essential macronutrients, such as fats or carbohydrates, but be conscious of portion control.
A diet that is lacking in nutrients can lead to many different health problems ranging from fatigue and lack of energy to serious problems with the functions of vital organs. As well, an unbalanced diet coupled with the disproportionate consumption of unhealthy foods can lead to health issues like diabetes, heart disease, joint pains, obesity, and more
How to achieve a healthy balanced diet
Here is where you have to pay close attention to what you eat! A balanced diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. There are many thoughts about how to achieve this. One thought widely promoted, and widely accepted is you should eat 3 meals a day and not skip breakfast.
The other thought is to have 50% of your plate contain fruits and vegetables, 25% of your plate filled with whole grains and fibers, and 25% filled with proteins. This appears balanced but raises a question. If we eat three times a day should each plate look like this?
Another thought is you should consume at least 2,000 calories a day. What if you’re not burning 2,000 calories a day due to work etc? The simple truth is no matter how healthy the meal if you are not burning the number of calories you are taking in then…
Keep this thought in mind and it will help you… A balanced diet should bring us our body needs, no more, no less, but it must not be strictly followed every day; equilibrium can be achieved over several days. To get the nutrition you need, most of your daily calories should come from:
- fresh fruits
- fresh vegetables
- whole grains*
- lean proteins*
We will speak more about a balanced diet in part 2 where we will discuss the difference between whole grains and processed grains. The issues with Dairy as a major food source and the pros and cons of animal and plant-based proteins.
After all, this is the Diet Rite System basis. However, in the meantime keep this in mind also to help you. Balancing your diet and keeping your eating habits healthy is where you have to pay close attention to what you eat.
The MyPlate tool, from the USDA, is a good tool to obtain a more personal picture of your nutritional requirements. The tool allows age, gender, weight, height and activity level to be entered to calculate more accurate requirements.
Once you have these requirements. Then use the Diet Rite Calorie Calculator to determine your calorie intake to maintain your weight, or lose weight. Like the MyPlate tool, you can enter the same specifics to get a more accurate result. The Diet Rite Meal Tracker tool is excellent because it helps you monitor your food selection, calorie intake and how it affects your weight. If you track what you eat, then you will watch what you eat. Keep these thoughts in mind. If you remember the things we mentioned, it should remove a lot of the confusion and conflicting messages you will receive from experts and remember to listen to your body and sign up for our free ebook and other interesting articles and advice