Achieving a Balanced Diet

Many dieting trends over the last couple of decades have resulted in more people paying attention to their health and to what they consume on a daily basis. While these trends may produce quick results, they are usually not sustainable and don’t positively affect your body in the long term. Rather than following the latest dieting craze, you should invest your time and resources into maintaining a well-balanced diet. This will enable your body to gain the proper nutrients that you need, which in turn will result in you obtaining any weight loss goals that you may be striving for.

What are calories?

A calorie is a measurement of energy that is stored in food and is not an indicator of the food’s health properties. Your body utilizes calories that it obtains from food to perform every single function that your body performs, whether conscious or subconsciously. On average, most humans need between 2000 to 2200 calories to maintain their weight.

This is, of course, a very broad measurement, as each person’s specific calorie intake massively depends on their gender, age and how much exercise they do. Men are found to need more calories than women, as well as people who perform daily exercise will need more calories than those who do not.

Your goal isn’t to just hit your calorific needs, the source of the calories are just as important. Limiting your consumption of empty calories is one of the most important lifestyle changes you need to make when changing your diet. These are calories that predominantly come from solid fats and sugar.

Why is a balanced diet important?

Your organs and tissue need adequate amounts of nutrients to perform at optimal levels, and this is only achieved by having a balanced diet. Poor nutrition will make your body more susceptible to infections, diseases, and fatigue. Children that have poor nutrition will often have growth and development problems, as well as low academic performance. Unfavorable eating habits when young can follow them for the rest of their lives.

Obesity and diabetes levels have never been higher in the West, and are prime examples of what poor nutrition with minimal exercise can result in. Some of the leading causes of death have been shown to be directly influenced by poor diet.

Some of these are:

  • Heart disease
  • All forms of cancer
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

What is a balanced diet?

A balanced diet is one that is predominantly low in saturated fats and sugars, but high in minerals, vitamins and other core nutrients. When planning your daily meals, try to consume all of the following.

Fruit
Fruit is not only just a tasty snack but they are filled with many essential nutrients. If possible, try and choose fruits that are in season and local to the area that you live. These will be fresher and provide you with more benefits.

Vegetables
Another fantastic source of essential minerals and vitamins come in the form of vegetables. Leafy greens contain the most vital nutrients and should be eaten with every meal if possible.

Grain
Unfortunately, most people consume refined white flour, rather than other grain types. White flour has a poor nutritional value, due to how much is taken out of it when processed. Just switching all of your white bread and pasta to whole grain will provide a massive boost in nutrition.

Protein
Grass-fed meat and all forms of beans are the best sources of protein. Protein is an essential component for brain development and muscle growth. When buying meat, be sure to trim any fat and to remove the skin, to reduce as much cholesterol and fat as possible.

Dairy
Although dairy products have a lot of fat in them, small amounts should be consumed for optimal nutritional diversity. Calcium and vitamin D are essential nutrients for the body and are readily found in dairy products.

It’s also possible to buy plant-based milk, such as soy or almond, as these will also have high amounts of calcium and nutrients, if you don’t want to consume cow’s milk.

Mum of two. Loves cooking, doing arts & crafts with the kids, and long beachy dog walks.

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