There’s so many pieces of advice when it comes to maintaining health by eating a proper diet. But given the ever-evolving dietary guidelines, maintaining a balanced diet can feel challenging and even confusing.
In essence, having a healthy balanced diet means focusing on food items that meet our nutritional needs. By taking all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, we can help our body function normally, boost our energy levels, improve our immune system, as well as ward off numerous diseases and illnesses.
Useful Tips for a Healthy Diet
With this in mind, here are some useful tips on how to have a healthy balanced diet.
Get the Right Amount of Energy
The body is a complex mechanism that requires the right amount of food that will act as its fuel. When we provide our body with the right amount of energy, it’s able to carry out different daily tasks. These include tasks like moving and walking, but also breathing, thinking, and pumping blood, as well as digestion and absorption.
This energy comes in the form of calories, and people with different lifestyles have different caloric requirements. That said, an average man should consume around 2,500 calories a day. For women, that number’s a bit lower – 2,000 calories. It’s important that we consume the amount of calories that’s in line with our activity levels. Any excess calories that aren’t used will result in weight gain.
Include Foods from Different Food Groups
Another important tip when it comes to eating a healthy balanced diet is to eat a variety of foods. There are five major food groups you need to include in order to provide your body with essential nutrients. Generally speaking, you should be eating at least five portions of fruits and veggies on a daily basis. Starchy carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.) are another big food group you should incorporate into your everyday meals.
Next on the list are oils and spreads. These should be consumed in smaller amounts, and you should focus on unsaturated fats as they’re healthier. Think of rapeseed, vegetable, and olive oil. The polyphenols in olive oil are particularly beneficial as they lower blood pressure along with cholesterol levels. This is opposed to saturated fats (e.g. butter, coconut, palm oil) and trans fats (margarine, hydrogenated vegetable oils, etc.). These tend to raise your bad cholesterol (LDL), so they should be limited. Finally, make sure to include dairy/dairy alternatives and proteins (beans, egg, fish, etc.) and consume them in moderate amounts.
Learn Simple Ways to Cook and Prepare Food
Part of eating healthy is learning how to prepare healthy meals at home. Our fast-paced lifestyle often has us reaching for ready-made foods and take outs out of convenience. The thing is, they aren’t exactly the healthiest options, and you’re better off cooking your meals from scratch.
Start by finding healthy alternatives to your favorite dishes and ingredients. Try to incorporate more veggies instead of meat, opt for lean cuts, and use whole wheat flour instead of refined. Opt for low-fat versions when possible, try whole grain bread, and use non-stick cookware as an alternative to oil. To preserve nutrients, scrub the veggies instead of peeling them, and steam or microwave them instead of boiling them.
Measure and Control Your Portion Sizes
Last but not least, you’ll also need to learn how to control your portion sizes by measuring them. One of the most effective tips when it comes to portion control is to use plates as portion guides. Not all food is created equal, and creating a well-balanced meal is a matter of establishing the optimal macronutrient ratio.
Generally speaking, half of your plate should be filled with fruits and veggies. One quarter is reserved for grains and starches while the other quarter should contain some high-quality protein. You should also include some dairy or non-dairy replacement on the side. Of course, there are other methods for controlling your portion sizes. For instance, you can use your hand as your serving guide, eating slowly, using smaller dinnerware, and simply ordering half a portion when eating out.
Ensuring optimal health and overall well-being is a matter of staying on top of dietary guidelines and eating healthily. And as complicated as it may seem, maintaining a healthy balanced diet is actually quite simple. With these tips in mind, you can rest assured you’ll provide your body with