According to the World Health Organization, cases of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer can be reduced significantly through nutrition. The importance of eating a balanced diet transcends age since proper dieting should begin straight from infancy. This will pave the way for healthy growth and better cognitive development.
A healthy eating plate means consuming appropriate amounts of fruits, vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates, and water. To start your balanced diet journey, here are some tips to guide you.
Get Professional Help
Keeping to healthy dietary choices can be a huge task for the average income earner due to the following reasons:
- Busy schedule—you may not always have the time to prepare a healthy meal
- Choosing to consume a healthy diet can be quite expensive, especially buying produce out of season
- Lack of education on nutrition
- Promotion of unhealthy fast foods that influence people to make poor diet choices
However, you can hire a professional to advise on a regimen tailored to your needs to ensure you eat healthily. You can look one up on Leadar based on professional skills, like a dietician or nutritionist, depending on what you need help with. It is one of the most effective ways to a healthy eating plate as they have the necessary expertise and experience.
Consume More Fruits and Vegetables
Nutritionists advise consuming about five portions of fruits and vegetables daily. They are rich in vitamins and minerals that help lower blood pressure, prevent heart diseases, and improve immunity.
Fruits and veggies come in different colors: red, orange, green, blue, purple, yellow, etc. This is not a coincidence; these colors should determine what fruits make it to your plate. Adopt the ‘eat the rainbow’ concept to introduce a variety of nutrients to your system each time you eat. Some of the most readily available combinations include blueberries, bananas, citrus fruits, kale, spinach, and carrots.
Know Your Fat Limits
Not all fatty acids are good for you. Bad fats increase your body’s cholesterol levels, putting you at risk of developing severe heart disease.
Also called unsaturated fatty acids, they are unhealthy fats produced in the industrial hydrogenation process. At home, you can find them in things like margarines. However, some of these can also be found in beef and dairy products.
The FDA recently banned companies from adding trans fats to food.
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
These are the healthy fats with a lower risk of causing heart conditions. They can be found in sunflower, fish, nuts, and corn. To be safe, switch to ideal portions of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Consume More Lean Proteins
The advantage of lean proteins is that they are low in saturated fat and calories. Lean protein foods have less than 10 grams of fat, just under 5 grams of saturated fat per 3.5 oz serving. This makes it a healthier alternative to avoid heart disease.
Poultry, white fish, tofu, and legumes are healthy sources of lean proteins.
Cut Back on Sugars
When consumed in excess quantities, sugars can be unhealthy to the body, exposing you to the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. Researchers also suggest that consuming too much sugar, for example, in food and beverages, may cause certain types of cancer.
You can find healthy alternatives to sugar from honey, stevia, agave, and fruit puree.
Switch to Whole Grains
Whole grain has the germ, bran, and endosperm intact. A refined grain has been processed and doesn’t have the three nutritious parts of the grain. Therefore, unlike refined grains, whole grains contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals essential for proper growth.
For a balanced diet, it is wise to go for whole-grain foods in barley, millet, black rice, and whole oats. Subsequently, avoid refined grain products like white rice, white bread, cakes, and crackers.
Cut Back on Salt
Even though our bodies require salt for functional purposes, excessive consumption can cause high blood pressure and heart problems. Moreover, recent studies link stomach cancer to excessive consumption of salt.
However, be careful not to reduce salt consumption drastically, as a low-salt diet may lead to hypotension.
Don’t Forget About Water
Water is often overlooked in diet matters, even though it is a vital component of a well-balanced dietary routine. For instance, water is crucial for digestion and ease of absorption in your body. Therefore, consuming all the right foods and forgetting to drink water means you are taking one step forward and two steps back.
Additionally, water has essential minerals that are good for your biological system.
Watch Out for Your Intake
As healthy as the discussed foods are, too much of anything is poison. Eating too much of these foods or overnutrition can lead to an oversupply of calories, presenting the risk of unhealthy weight gain and obesity. Also, excessive intake of proteins like meat and chicken can stress your liver. Therefore, track your intake and take just the right portions of every healthy food.
Pay Attention to Your Body’s Signals and Cues
Naturally, your system has its unique ways of signaling a deficiency in nutrients. For instance, the body communicates through:
- Cravings—sometimes, cravings indicate nutritional deficiency
- Hunger and appetite—this signals the need to consume healthy food
Moreover, the body may show symptoms of deficiency and malnutrition like:
- Fatigue and low energy
- Excessive weight loss
- Pale skin
- Hair loss and brittle nails
Learn to understand your body and act by eating the necessary nutrients you lack. Take signs of overeating or indulgence seriously because it is the only surefire way to prevent obesity.
Eating a balanced diet is essential to the body, providing the energy necessary for bodily functions and life processes. As a result, growth and development are optimized, and diseases are kept at bay. Remember, despite the boom in junk food businesses and big-money marketing, it is important that you stick to the healthier alternative. You can never go wrong with appropriate proportions of whole grains, proteins, fruits, and vegetables.