We all know that balanced eating is what we're supposed to be doing. But lets be honest, that is easier said than done! In today's electronic era there is a constant stream of conflicting information telling readers to "do this", or "never do that", it's hard to know what to do and how to do it. That's what this post is for! 😃
Alright, let's start with the 3 foundation basics (this may be a review for some of you). First off there are 5 food groups; fruits and veggies, grain products, dairy & alternatives, meat & alternatives, and last but not least oils & fats. All food groups are important and have their place in a healthy and balanced diet! Second, science has proven there are more than 45 essential nutrients required for human life that the body can't produce. Different nutrients can be found in different foods such as iron in spinach and vitamin C in oranges. And third each nutrient has its own Daily Recommended Intake (DRI), as well as an Upper Limit (UL), these represent the ideal consumption range. Excessive consumption above the UL can lead to toxicity, and regular consumption below the DRI leads to deficencies, both sides of the spectrum have negative consequences (too much Vitamin A can cause blindness, while a lack of Vitamin C can cause scurvy).
Essentially it's like goldylocks and the three bears, not too much, not too little, but rather just the right amount. And because different foods offer different nutrients it's important to get a variety of foods and avoid cutting out entire food groups.
Everything In Moderation
There are two concepts/mind sets that I personally live by and recommend to all my clients relating to moderation. The first (and often most diffacult to adopt) is that there is no such thing as a bad food. To the body the carbohydrates in a boilled potato are the same as that in a French fry - yes I realize the French fry has additional fat from the frying process but realistically 90% of people are adding some sort of fat/oil to their boilled potato after the fact too, so I'm moving on. The label of "bad food" is something that we mentally associate to our food, and it is a label that can cause a great deal of problems down the line (however that's a different post for a different day).
The second is a pretty well known; the 80:20 rule. When relating to nutrition, 80% of the time one should adhere to their pre-determined meal plan, eating a balanced variety of fresh fruits/veggies, dairy, grains and lean meats. As for the other 20% of the time, it's ok to indulge a little! Have that extra scoop of ice cream or grab your favourite fast food, whatever your indulgence calls for; the key to it is frequency, how much how often. And remember, everything in moderation, too much of anything can be harmful, so balace it out people!
If balancing your foods is something you struggle with, schedule a personalised consultation to learn specific tips and tricks that will work for you!
What It Looks Like
Ok, so this part on its own is surprisingly simple... All you have to do is pick one one two items from each food group at each meal or snack, and if you're missing something at one meal, make up for it at the next! Let me show you a few examples:
For breakfast you have a bowl of oatmeal with berries, and a cup of milk. Right there we can account for some grains and dairy, as well as fruits and veggies. Then for a morning snack some cheese, jerkey and raw veggies. Now a little bit of everything has been covered!
Say you have an amazingly delicious pancake breakfast with eggs, bacon sausages, toast - all the trimmings, since there wasn't much veggies/fruit in sight opt for a hearty salad for lunch, that way you even things out, you know level the playing field a little.
See what I mean, super easy right?!
Hold up! I'm not done yet, I've got a few helpful links to make things a little easier for you (Feel free to thank me later):
Hope my beginners guide helped provide some insight to how easy it can be to eat a balanced diet, and maybe even provide a little inspiration to make a change for yourself!
Until next time,