Checking You Get a Balanced Diet
When people say you should be following a balanced diet what does that actually mean and is there more than one?
Should different people follow different balanced diets?
The majority of health professionals say that in order to eat a balanced diet you should be eating a diet that is made up of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, grains and a moderate amount of low-fat dairy products.
But how do we know how much to eat of each?
Have a look at the rest of this article to know what proportions you should be eating of the 3 main food groups; carbohydrates, fats and protein.
In general, 50% of your daily calories should be carbs. However there are 2 types of carbs and these you should definitely be aware of.
– Simple carbs – these are high in sugar and break down quickly with not a lot of fiber content.
– Complex carbs – these keep you fuller for longer because of their fiber content and therefore you feel more satisfied without spiking your blood sugar.
Out of the 50% of carbs you should be eating a day, 10% of these should come from simple carbs and the remaining 40% from complex carbs.
Around 30% of your diet should be made up of fats but again there are different types of fats; Unsaturated, saturated and trans-fats.
The majority of your daily 30% should come from poly and mono-unsaturated with around 10% coming from saturated. Trans-fats should be avoided altogether where possible.
It’s always a good idea to read nutritional labels as in the U.S 0.5grams of trans-fats are allowed to be present in foods without the need for it to be declared on the label.
In order for you to tell if a product contains trans-fats, add up the saturated and unsaturated fats on the label and compare that to the total amount of fat in the product.
If there is a difference, that difference is the trans-fats that are in it.
Around 20% of your daily calories should come from proteins and this can be from both meat and vegetable protein although meat protein is preferred.
Meat protein contains all 9 amino acids unlike vegetable protein.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan you would need to take amino acid supplements or eat nuts in order to get the correct amount of protein.
Isn’t There An Easier Way?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a simplified daily balanced diet guideline in 2011 in order to try and make it easier for us to create a balanced diet on our plates and it should look like this:
– Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables of all different colours.
– The half of your grain products should come from 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat products.
– Add in protein like turkey, chicken, lean beef or beans and 2 out of 7 days eat a form of seafood.
– Have 1 cup of low-fat dairy products; milk, cheese or yoghurt.
– Minimize the amount of foods you eat that are high in sugar and sodium.
If you make sure you always have a good selection of foods in your cupboards and freezer it is easy to eat sensibly and within the correct portion sizes.
Plan ahead and your eating can be fun, varied as well as healthy.