Upon closer look, the planet has the capacity to supply everything the body needs to ensure that it stays strong, healthy as well as living good. Dieting is not always abstaining from food rather, it’s eating a balanced diet. It is the preference of just one food group over the other that generate imbalance. The problem is not so much with what has actually introduced to the body but the way as well as proportions by which it can be introduced.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.
This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Food groups in our diet
The “Age in Grace’s” Food Plate shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:
- eat 5 A DAY – fruits and vegetables
- base meals on starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
- have some dairy or dairy alternatives
- eat some beans, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
- choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts
- drink plenty of fluids
If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.
Try to choose a variety of different foods from the five main food groups. Most people eat and drink too many calories, too much fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fiber.
Fruit and vegetables: Are you getting your 5 a day?
Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals and should make up just over a third of the food we eat each day. It’s advised that we eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
There’s evidence that people who eat at least five portions a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Eating five portions is not as hard as it sounds. Just one apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is one portion (80z). A slice of pineapple or melon is one portion. Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion.
Having a sliced banana with your morning cereal is a quick way to get one portion. Swap your mid-morning biscuit for a tangerine, and add a side salad to your lunch. Have a portion of vegetables with dinner, and snack on fresh fruit with natural plain yogurt in the evening to reach your five a day.
Starchy foods in your diet
Starchy foods should make up just over one third of everything we eat. This means we should base our meals on these foods.
Potatoes with the skins on are a great source of fibre and vitamins. For example, when having boiled potatoes or a jacket potato, eat the skin too.
Try to choose wholegrain or wholemeal varieties of starchy foods, such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta and brown, wholemeal or higher fibre white bread. They contain more fibre, and usually more vitamins and minerals than white varieties.
Milk and dairy foods: go for lower-fat varieties
Milk and dairy foods such as cheese and yogurt are good sources of protein. They also contain calcium, which helps keep your bones healthy.
To enjoy the health benefits of dairy without eating too much fat, use semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmed milk, as well as lower-fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese, and lower-fat, lower-sugar yoghurt. Unsweetened, calcium-fortified dairy alternatives like soya milks, soya yogurts and soya cheeses also count as part of this food group and can make good alternatives to dairy products.
Beans, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins
These foods are all good sources of protein, which is essential for the body to grow and repair itself. They are also good sources of a range of vitamins and minerals.
Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc and B vitamins. It is also one of the main sources of vitamin B12. Try to eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Always cook meat thoroughly.
Fish is another important source of protein, and contains many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish. You can choose from fresh, frozen or canned, but remember that canned and smoked fish can often be high in salt.
Eggs and including beans, nuts and seeds are also great sources of protein. Nuts are high in fibre and a good alternative to snacks high in saturated fat, but they do still contain high levels of fat, so eat them in moderation.
Oils and spreads
Some fat in the diet is essential, but should be limited to small amounts. It’s important to get most of our fat from unsaturated oils and spreads. Swapping to unsaturated fats can help to lower cholesterol.
Eat less saturated fat and sugar
Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease, while regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay.
Find out more about why we need to cut down on saturated fat and sugar in our diet, which foods they occur in and how we can make healthier choices for healthy eating.
Need to lose weight?
Most adults are overweight or obese. Check whether you’re a healthy weight using the BMI calculator. Work on losing weight safely – and keep it off.
Here’s how to achieve a Balanced Diet.
Keep tabs on the calories
Caloric consumption is important to keep your weight in check. It shouldn’t be too less or too much. The amount you consume depends on your age, gender, and activity level. The recommended amount for women is 1500 calories and for men is 2000 calories. One good way to control calorie consumption is to break up the three meals of the day into smaller ones and switch to smaller food portions.
Proteins are the building blocks of your body; hence you need them in large quantities. Lean and low-fat proteins are the best food choice if you want to drop weight. They are low-calorie but more filling. Milk and dairy products are the richest sources of protein in addition to calcium. The non-dairy sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, nuts and beans. Avoid processed meats as they are laden with salt and fat.
Ask people how to lose weight and they will tell you to cut the carbs. Carbs are unhealthy in excess, but you cannot cut them out completely. They are your powerhouse of energy. Complex carbs from whole grains, fruits and vegetables should make up a majority of your carb intake. Skip the white flour and white rice. They don’t do the body any good instead add calories.
Not all fats are bad fats. It is the trans-fat and saturated fats that make you vulnerable to cardiac disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. This is the type you will find in processed meats, fatty cuts, chocolates, biscuits, cakes, and pastries. Substitute these with the heart-healthy unsaturated fats namely Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. They are found in plenty in oily fish, walnuts, and avocado.
Fried and processed food items are high in fat. Hence, they are best avoided.
Fruits and vegetables
Your platter needs to have a lot of fruits and vegetables. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support health in a variety of ways. They are also low in calories. It is more beneficial to consume the whole fruit rather than juice as it eliminates the fiber component. You can eat greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli and lettuces, sweeter vegetables such as sweet potato, carrots, beets and squash.
Don’t forget water
Water is an essential liquid for the body. It cleanses the body by flushing out waste and disease-causing toxins.
Dish out your own meals
Sounds like a tall order in modern times, but it is the only way you can take charge of what you are eating.
No restrictive diets
With all aiming for a size zero, restrictive diets come across as the easiest and the fastest way to shed a few pounds. Restrictive diets are not healthy as they focus on only one food group and eliminate the rest. Also, by putting certain foods “off-limit”, they only increase temptation making it harder to stick to a diet.
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- AgeInGrace.com – The content in this website is for information and educational purposes.