It’s a word we use a lot, but what does it really mean when it comes to our diets? Most of us have a pretty good idea, but we may not be able to put it into words. Balance, when it comes to food, means eating a variety of foods from each of the food groups in amounts that satisfy our energy needs. That sounds easy enough, but with all of the conflicting information out there about what is healthy and what isn’t, it can be hard to know where to start.
So What Does Balance Actually Mean?
The truth is, balance is different for everyone. Depending on your age, sex, stage of life, activity level, and many other factors, the amount and type of food you need will vary. That’s why it’s important to get professional advice about how to achieve balance in your diet. Dietitians are trained in food and nutrition and can help you figure out an eating plan that is right for you.
Of course, there are some general principles of healthy eating that are good for everyone to follow. These include eating mostly whole foods (those that are minimally processed), choosing foods lower in sodium and added sugars, opting for lean protein sources, and getting most of your carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
But also allowing yourself to indulge in your favorite things from time to time will help too. Whether that’s making a great chocolate cake recipe (no mixer needed!) on the weekend or ordering a takeout curry once a month, that’s okay. It’s all about following the 80/20 rule. But by following these guidelines and getting professional help when needed, you can achieve balance in your diet and enjoy good health.
How Much Should I Eat?
The amount of food you need depends on many factors including your age, sex, height, weight, activity level, and whether you are trying to lose weight or gain weight. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created a tool called the Choose MyPlate Plan that can help you figure out how much from each food group you should be eating based on these factors.
The bottom line is that no one diet works for everyone. It’s important to find an eating plan that fits your lifestyle and meets your individual needs. After all, balance is key! By including a variety of nutrient-dense foods from each food group in your diet, you’ll be well on your way to achieving optimal health.
Finding the Right Balance for You
When it comes to our diets, balance is key! Eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods from each food group helps ensure that we get the nutrients we need to maintain good health. And while the amount of food we need varies depending on our individual needs, following some general principles of healthy eating—such as choosing mostly whole foods and opting for lean protein sources—can help us achieve balance in our diets. Getting professional help from a registered dietitian can also be incredibly helpful in learning how to create an eating plan that works best for you!
This is a contributed post