What is a Balanced Diet?

It's not about the fads. It's about the big haul, life changes.

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Balanced Diet

There is so much conflicting information in the media about how to eat well. Not to mention the fad diets that come and go which all claim to be the healthiest way to eat. Right now it’s the Paleo diet. However not very long ago it was the raw food diet, the alkalising diet, the blood type diet, the food combining diet, the low GI diet. I think you get my point. These diets often base themselves around something healthy such as no junk food or more vegetables, however they cut out many other healthy foods and sometime entire food groups which in the long run are unsustainable and unhealthy.

Many people will report how amazing they feel when they first start a fad diet. However, what was their diet like prior to starting their new eating plan? Could it be that the sudden change in the amount of junk food and the amount of vegetables consumed is the reason why they feel so much better? This isn’t a bad thing, but it can be achieved without cutting out important food groups or painstakingly reviewing lists of what can and can’t be eaten. It’s what I like to call going back to the basics.

Did our grandparents suffer from the chronic diseases, obesity, and digestive issues that we do today? No, well nowhere near as much. Why? Because they ate food, real food, and they didn’t stress over every morsel they put in their mouth because of new diet information. They enjoyed food and they ate uncomplicated natural foods without the long list of unrecognisable food like chemicals we are bombarded with now. So what is a balanced diet? Well it won’t be found in any of these fad diets which exist now, and probably won’t be found in what ever replaces the Paleo diet. We require a wide range of nutrients which must come from a wide variety of foods. Too much of anything is bad for you, it’s about balance.

  • A balanced meal contains protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat.
  • Fad diets which emphasise one food group and/or cut out a food group are unhealthy in the long term (unless it’s due to allergies, intolerance or other medical reasons).
  • Eat a wide variety of protein, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
  • Every meal should include protein to help keep you full until the next meal. This doesn’t have to always be an animal protein.
  • Animal protein should be no more than a quarter of your plate, or approximately the size of your palm per serve, more for vegetable proteins.
  • The other three quarters of the plate should be vegetables, fruit, nuts and whole grains (most of that should be vegetables).
  • A variety of raw and cooked vegetables should be consumed. Raw has it’s benefits for not destroying nutrients, however cooking can makes certain nutrients available which wouldn’t otherwise be absorbed in raw form. Also some food should never be consumed raw.
  • Eat organic where possible.
  • Keep meals simple and easy to prepare.

Eating healthy shouldn’t be hard. Many fad diets require too much work and most people give up because they are not sustainable. Food needs to be enjoyed and you shouldn’t have to give up your treats, unless you need to for health reasons. A balanced diet requires a focus on simple fresh natural foods, and minimal packaged foods. Consume a variety of colours and types with most being plant food and you will find that is all you need for a health balanced diet.