A balanced diet ensures that our bodies have energy and sufficient nutrients to perform at its best. But what exactly is a balanced diet and how is it achieved?
BALANCE YOUR CALORIES
Your nutritional needs are unique and is based on various things like your age, gender, height, weight, your health status and how active you are. That means that a balanced diet will have a different meaning for everyone.
This difference is mainly in terms of energy requirement. The first step towards achieving a balanced food intake is to understand the amount of food that your body needs in a day. There are various formulas available from which you can calculate your requirements, or you can visit a dietitian to help you understand how much energy you need, to consume a balanced diet. Listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues is also a simple way to ensure it gets all the calories it needs, and not too much.
BALANCE YOUR NUTRIENTS
The key nutrients in a balanced diet are carbohydrates, fibre, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Including a variety of foods from all 5 food groups are important to get all the nutrients you need. The 5 basic food groups are 1. Starchy Foods 2. Fruits 3. Vegetables 4. Meat (chicken, fish, dairy & legumes) and 5. Fats and Oils
USE YOUR PLATE TO CREATE A BALANCED MEAL
Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables, fill a quarter of your plate with whole grain carbohydrate and a quarter of your plate with lean protein.
BALANCE YOUR DIET WITH FLUIDS
Fluids form part of a healthy diet and the right type of fluids will help you to keep your body hydrated, detoxed, and energized. Water remains the best drink – try to limit drinks that are high in sugar.
BALANCE YOUR TREATS
Treat your tastebuds from time to time – a balanced diet can include treats in sensible amounts now and then. Including 2 or 3 blocks of dark chocolate once or twice a week will not disturb the balance!