There is so much nutritional and diet advice about it’s easy to get confused. The advice we receive seems to be constantly changing and can appear to be contradictory.
Having a balanced diet is not about restricting yourself from eating the foods you love or trying to stay unrealistically thin. It is about providing your body with the right nutrients in the right amounts for good health, energy, organ function, and cell growth! In other words to make you feel healthy, look healthy, and give you enough energy to do all the things you want to do.
What is a balanced diet anyway? It’s a diet that is that is made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals eaten in the right quantities and proportions. Current health guidelines advise women to consume 2,000 calories a day and men 2,500 calories per day to maintain their current weight. This should be split between 50-55% carbohydrates (starches and sugars), 30-35% fat and 15% protein.
It is far too easy these days with shop aisles packed full of pre-packaged foods to eat too much sugar, take in too much fat and not eat enough fresh products.
So hear are a few tips to make sure you are eating a balanced diet:
Eat the right amount of calories to avoid putting on weight.
Keep a food diary, tracking your food and be honest with yourself. This will help you see if you are getting say, enough protein, eating too many packaged snacks or consuming too much alcohol.
Don’t skip breakfast, it has been linked to weight control and improved performance and will give you the energy to start your day.
Eat 2 portions of fish per week; oily fish contains omega-3 fats, which help prevent heart disease.
Try to have 5 different portions of fruit and vegetables per day (remember fruit juice no matter how much you consume only counts as 1 of your 5 a day – be careful it is likely full of sugar also)
Choose wholegrain products, whole meal bread, brown rice etc. they have more fibre in then their white counterparts.
Cut down on sugar and saturated fat. Read food labels to see where the sugar is, quite often ‘low-fat’ items are full of sugar to replace the fat for taste – be careful.
Drink enough water (1.6 to 2 litres a day) to stop you getting dehydrated.
Enjoy your food but think about it before you buy or eat it, ask yourself one question. “What am I getting from this …….?” If the answer is lots of added sugar then put it back and pick something else. If the answer is lots of fibre, vitamins and minerals then it sounds like a good choice.
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