Tips for Creating a Healthy & Balanced Diet

Creating a balanced diet is not as difficult as some might expect. Developing a balanced meal plan should not be restrictive, and in fact, will add different types of foods to an individual’s diet.

For instance, adding vegetables and fruits to a daily meal plan in order to get the most essential vitamins and nutrients is a great way to get your daily nutrition. Mixing a balanced diet with a daily exercise routine is also a great way of developing a healthy lifestyle.

When creating a well-balanced diet make sure to include a variety of foods in order to get the most out of every meal. Avoiding processed foods is also key, as processed food items tend to be the highest in sugar, fat and calories. It may be an adjustment in order to learn how to eat a balanced diet, but the benefits will be rewarding in the long term. To learn more, continue below.

What does a balanced diet look like?

One of the easiest ways to begin incorporating a healthy balanced diet plan into a daily routine is by making sure each plate has a significant variety of foods. A balanced diet essentially means that an individual is getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients he or she needs through the foods they consume. Not all of the foods you consume at each meal will have the essentials for health, which is why eating a variety is key. A great place to begin is with the five major food groups, which include:

  • Vegetables, legumes and beans
  • Fruit
  • Lean meats and poultry, tofu, nuts, seeds, fish and eggs
  • Grains
  • Dairy such as milk, yogurt, cheese and alternatives

The reason why these foods are grouped together as such is because of the similar nutrients each food contains. For instance, yogurt, cheese and other milk alternatives provide calcium and protein. Meanwhile fruits tend to have a surplus of vitamins, such as Vitamin C. When a variety of food is consumed from all different food groups, a balanced meal plan is created.

Make Sure Healthy Meals Are Portioned Properly

Just because an individual begins, consuming healthy recipes on a regular basis does not necessarily mean that he or she is going to be in better health. One of the most overlooked aspects of creating a diet that is balanced involves maintaining portion control. Over the past decade, serving sizes have grown tremendously, especially when visiting restaurants or eating outside of the home. Not having proper portions of foods easily leads to excess, which can then spiral into serious health problems and weight gain. Sometimes the issue with not finding balance in a diet is simply the fact that the portions are just too big. A few tips to consider when portioning out certain foods include:

  • Vegetables – bulk up the plate with more vegetables that anything else, especially meats and pastas.
  • Fruits – add fruit to your cereal or oatmeal in the morning rather than adding more cereal or oatmeal.
  • Plates – try serving food on a smaller plate so the temptation to “clear the plate” is not a concern.
  • Starches – rethink the way starches are served—rather than the potatoes, rice, or pasta being the main focus, make it a side instead.

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Always remember that a healthy balanced meal should be consumed slowly and when the body says it is full, make sure to listen.

Every Balanced Meal Includes Produce

A well balanced diet will always include produce no matter what. In fact, the aim for incorporating produces into a balanced daily routine should be two and a half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit for a 2,000 calories diet. This does not mean that the vegetables and fruits should be added on top of what is already being consumed, but rather they should be in place of many foods that are already in a person’s diet. For instance, instead of snacking on a bag of chips or popcorn, have a bowl of grapes. Instead of having two or more servings of dinner, prepare a side salad.

Fruits and vegetables have tremendous benefits to a person’s health, from helping to protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases to providing necessary antioxidants and vitamins to stay healthy. Make sure to consume whole fruits over fruit juices or frozen or canned options as the whole foods retain more nutrients and contain no added sugars. This is especially true for individuals who are trying to manage conditions such as diabetes, which can be heavily affected by added sugars and other ingredients in frozen or preserved food.

A Balanced Diet Is Limited In Refined Grains & Added Sugar

One of the easiest ways to ensure that a balanced meal plan is effective for a person’s health is by reducing the refined grains and added sugars. Refined grains, also known as refined carbohydrates, can be a part of a balanced diet but only in moderation. This includes foods such as:

  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Potato chips
  • Cereals
  • White rice
  • Pizza dough
  • Cookies
  • Pastries

The term “refined” indicates that these foods have been stripped of all the healthy nutrients such as bran, fiber and other important health essentials, and ultimately have become empty. Keeping these types of food at a minimum is essential in creating a better-rounded diet.

Besides refined carbohydrates, another item to limit for a more balanced diet is sugar. Sugar is an easy source of empty calories and can be a huge health risk when consumed regularly. Any food that has added sugars such as soda, candy and alcohol can contribute to weight gain, as they are very calorie dense with little, if any, nutritional value. Make substitutions for the sugary items within the pantry or refrigerator, such as sparkling water instead of soda and fruit instead of candy. Making these substitutions even just a few times a week will help to create a well-balanced diet.

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