Balanced Diet – Foods to Eat and Avoid
December 22, 2022
December 22, 2022
A balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy weight and good health. It goes without saying that your body needs all the nutrients from foods to function correctly, such as carbohydrates, protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Therefore, a balanced diet contains foods of different varieties, quantities, and proportions to meet your body’s nutritional requirements.
While a balanced diet does not discriminate between food groups, you must have the right knowledge and guidance when eating “energy-rich but nutrient-poor” foods.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a balanced diet. Since everyone has different nutritional needs, the right diet for good health varies from person to person. However, following a holistic diet that covers all the essential food groups and is low in unhealthy nutrients is an excellent way to live a healthy lifestyle.
A balanced diet comprises the right proportion of foods from all the major food groups to provide the body with ideal nutrition. In general, it offers around 60-70% of total calories from complex carbohydrates, 20-25% of total calories from healthy fats, and 10-12% from proteins.
However, these values differ based on individual requirement and various other factors.Following a healthy, balanced diet gives you enough energy, macronutrients, and micronutrients to stay healthy.
The most important rule of balanced eating is to eat all meals without skipping any meal small or big. For a healthy average adult, a well-balanced diet typically includes three main meals and two snacks between meals. However, the food groups’ proportion can be adjusted or modified based on your specific needs or health issues (if any).
A personalised balanced diet is vital since the bodily response to all foods is highly individual. Therefore, certain foods in one person’s “good” diet can be part of another’s “bad” diet. Instead of blindly following the universal dietary advice you see on the internet, HealthifyMe can help you with personal dietary recommendations after considering multiple factors.
With the help of these values and your other parameters, qualified dieticians customise your diet to match your body’s needs and avoid potential adverse reactions to certain foods.
The CGM device shows you how food affects your overall health in real-time and empowers you to make more informed decisions about your meal planning on a day-to-day basis. It unequivocally can lead to better long-term health outcomes.
The ideal amount of calories in a balanced diet depends on whether you’re trying to maintain the current weight, lose weight, or gain weight. If you want your weight to stay consistent, eat roughly the same amount of calories your body uses.
The number of calories you need each day depends on many factors, such as age, gender, level of physical activity, and metabolism. For example, athletes who engage in high-intensity workouts require more calories than sedentary people.
Similarly, pregnant women or adolescents going through a growth spurt need more calories than older adults. Therefore, a balanced diet that provides the right calories for your specific needs is crucial for overall fitness and well-being.
The simple answer is eating a balanced diet helps you maintain good health and feel your best. While some people, such as athletes, may require additional dietary supplementation, most of us can get everything the body needs by eating various foods.
In addition, studies show that the foods you eat profoundly impact your mental and physical health. So, your body becomes more vulnerable to chronic diseases, infection, and fatigue without balanced nutrition.
Here is why nutritionally balanced diet is essential for every individual:
Fad diets will come and go. A balanced diet is the only way to control and maintain your weight for the long term.
A balanced diet may not result in weight loss as it does not focus on fat loss, rather it focuses on maintaining the current weight while giving appropriate nutrients for your body to function well.
A balanced diet can safeguard you against chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart disease.
In addition, the vitamins and minerals in a balanced diet build a robust immune system to fight infections.
Some studies suggest a close relationship between diet and mental health. For example, a diet high in glycemic load may trigger depression and fatigue through hormonal imbalance.
On the other hand, a balanced diet rich in vegetables, whole fruit, and whole grains improve the function of neurotransmitters and hormones, which enhances a good mood.
A study says that consistently following a balanced diet regime may protect us against cognitive decline and dementia.
It is due to the appropriate amounts of vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty present in balanced diets. Getting the right mix of nutrients also promotes growth and better skin and hair.
A balanced diet is a varied diet enriched with essential nutrients. However, eating a balanced diet can be simple. An excellent place to start is by incorporating five servings of fruits and vegetables into your daily routine.
Here are the five major food groups you should include in your diet for optimum health:
Fruit and vegetables are an integral part of any balanced diet. They are abundant in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, essential for keeping the body healthy.
Fruit and vegetables should make up just over one-third of your daily diet, roughly five servings of different seasonal fruits and vegetables together per day.
Let’s take a peek at the colourful fruits and vegetables:
Starchy foods or carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source, making up roughly one-third of your diet. Therefore, it is essential to understand the different types of starchy carbohydrates and choose healthier options to maintain a balanced diet. For example, replace processed foods with whole grains..
Choosing unrefined starchy carbs helps maintain digestive health and gives you more fibre, vitamins and minerals. Moreover, a study shows that whole grain consumption (rather than refined grains) reduces your risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
Dairy is the most well-known source of calcium and protein. For a balanced diet, go for low-fat or fat-free dairy options. Furthermore, eat fat-free flavoured yoghurts in moderation since they often contain added sugar.
If you are vegan, allergic, or intolerant to dairy, there are plant-based alternatives derived from soy, nut, oat, or rice. Also, choose fortified plant-based dairy to make up for the vitamins and minerals usually present in animal milk.
Protein, the storehouse of essential amino acids, must be one-eighth of your balanced diet. Protein rich foods not only help us in building muscles, but also boost our haemoglobin. Therefore, make sure to include varied protein sources.
It can be vegetarian sources such as beans, moong dal, urad dhal, paneer, tofu, nuts and seeds. For the non-vegetarians, good protein sources include eggs, oily fish and meat.While choosing meat, opt for lean cuts such as chicken and turkey and cut down on processed meats..
Fats are an essential part of a balanced diet and contribute to about 15-20% of daily caloric needs.
They are also a significant energy source and help the body store and provide vitamins and synthesise hormones. However, it is essential to remember to use fats in moderation.
While fat is an essential macronutrient, you need to be mindful of the type and amount of fat you consume. Always choose unsaturated fats over saturated fats. Saturated fats are present in red meat, pork, butter, margarine, cheese and coconut oil.
Studies have shown that consuming too much of these foods can increase your heart disease and stroke risk. You can keep your heart healthy by choosing unsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and fatty fish.
A balanced diet comprises foods from the five food groups: fruits and vegetables, starchy carbohydrates, protein, dairy and healthy fats. You are unlikely to include all five in every meal, so the aim is to achieve a healthy dietary balance across the day. This balance can be achieved by following a well planned balanced diet plan designed by a qualified nutritionist.In addition to solid foods, ensure that you drink at least 6-8 glasses of water daily since hydration is equally important.
Some of the food groups to avoid in a balanced diet include:
The plate method is an easy way to balance the food groups:
Remember that the following plans are based on an average adult’s standard weight and activity level. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, make sure to follow the advice of your doctor or nutritionist.
With careful planning, a vegetarian diet can ensure daily requirements for nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B12, healthy fats, and protein.
Many people opt for vegan diet plans for various reasons, such as health, environmental or other personal preferences. A vegan diet excludes all animal products from the diet plan, including milk and milk products.
Instead, it focuses on plant-based foods and beverages. It’s essential to track your body’s response when transitioning to a new diet, especially a vegan diet, to ensure you’re getting the right mix of macro- and micronutrients.
If you are struggling to fit into a new eating plan or wish to modify your diet to a balanced one, HealthifyMe coaches can advise you on a felicitous diet plan. .
The Pro Coaches will help you find the right foods based on your unique needs and personal qualities, such as age, gender, lifestyle, and health conditions.
HealthifyPro also comes with a Smart Scale to help you achieve your desired weight through tried and tested approaches to weight management.
Ria, the interactive AI, can guide you throughout the entire process of losing/ maintaining weight. And based on your metabolic parameters and Smart Scale readings, your health coach will make the most suitable and sustainable modifications to your diet.
These modifications may include improvements to your eating habits, changes to the types or amounts of food, or adjustments to your level of physical activity.
Here are some pro tips for having a balanced diet every day:
The benefits of eating a balanced diet go beyond weight management. It uplifts your physical, emotional and mental well-being. Conversely, if you have an unbalanced diet or are deprived of healthy foods, there are high chances of facing chronic diseases, infection, and fatigue. With HealthifyMe, find what works for you and infuse your diet with nutritious and healthy options.