Eating well and maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t mean going on a starvation diet or following a complicated calorie-counting regime. Eating well can be as simple as making sure you have a balanced diet. A balanced diet is important for many reasons – not least because it provides you with a full range of health-giving nutrients. For example, eating a balanced diet can help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. A balanced diet gives you more energy and helps you feel better. And a balanced diet allows you to maintain a healthy weight. If you want to make sure your diet is balanced, take a look at these tips:
- Eat a variety of foods from the main food groups
The main food groups are fruit and vegetables; carbohydrates; dairy; and, protein. Eat a variety of different vegetables and fruits because this will provide you with a broad spectrum of nutrients, and because fruit and veggies are low in fat so you feel full and are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. You should aim for five portions a day. Carbohydrates are important because you need them for energy, and protein is essential for cell growth and maintaining strong muscles. Dairy products provide calcium, which is important for healthy bones.
- Limit your consumption of sugary and fatty foods
Most people in the US are guilty of eating too many foods with added sugar and fat. Saturated fat in processed foods, fast food, snacks and processed meats contributes to obesity and can cause heart disease. Sugar provides empty calories and causes weight gain. Make sure that you avoid foods with added sugar and fat. It also helps to limit your consumption of foods with a high level of salt. Remember that drinks can contain a lot of sugar – make water your main drink.
- Don’t think of foods as banned or forbidden
While it is important to limit your consumption of foods with added fat and sugar, you don’t have to ban these from your diet entirely. Enjoy a treat every now and again, while making sure that overall your diet is filled with healthy food choices.
- Eat a small amount of healthy fat
You need some fat in your diet for overall health. Avoid saturated fat and choose unsaturated fat, such as that found in olive oil or vegetable oil, nuts, and avocados.