Changing your diet is a big step towards living healthier. A balanced diet is not just about fruits and vegetables. You also need to know which foods are part of a balanced diet to strengthen your body and make you feel better. Eating well gives you more energy and other benefits like lower blood pressure, cholesterol and less stress.
Table of Contents
- 1 A balanced diet
- 1.1 Eat 225 to 325 grams of complex carbohydrates daily.
- 1.2 Fill half your plate with vegetables to eat five servings a day.
- 1.3 Eat 2-3 servings of fruit daily to get more vitamins.
- 1.4 Eat healthy, lean proteins for energy.
- 1.5 Healthy fats should make up 20-35% of your daily calorie intake.
- 1.6 Eat less salt to reduce your sodium intake.
- 1.7 Drink at least 2.7 liters of water daily.
- 2 Eat mindfully
- 3 Plan meals
- 4 Tips
A balanced diet
Eat 225 to 325 grams of complex carbohydrates daily.
Complex carbohydrates are digested and absorbed more slowly by the body. They give you more nutrients and keep you full for longer. Examples of complex carbohydrates are whole wheat flour, sweet potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice. These healthy carbohydrates contain more vitamins and other nutrients than simple carbohydrates like those found in white bread or white rice. Eat wheat products, whole grains or rye bread and whole wheat pasta. If you like to eat oatmeal for breakfast, choose whole-grain oatmeal. Depending on your individual needs, your doctor may recommend eating fewer carbohydrates.
Fill half your plate with vegetables to eat five servings a day.
Vegetables are packed with nutrients and are surprisingly easy to incorporate into your diet. Eat dark green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, collard greens, sareptune greens, and Swiss chard. Make a simple dressing with olive oil, garlic, and a little salt and pepper. Not only do you get a surprisingly good, but also a very nutritious meal. Add spinach to a smoothie in the morning to grab a serving of green leafy veggies without even realizing it. When you make tacos again, add peppers and onions. Pasta dishes are great for eating vegetables. Slice some mushrooms into your spaghetti or lasagna. Try new foods. If you think you don’t like vegetables, just try a different variety.
Eat 2-3 servings of fruit daily to get more vitamins.
Fruit is good for you and can be a delicious treat. You can eat an apple or a pear as a snack in the morning or eat fruit with other dishes. Have berries or a banana with your morning cereal or oatmeal. Fresh fruit also tastes good in salads. Eat some dried cranberries with it for even better flavor. Alternatively, you can sprinkle some goat cheese over a green salad.
Eat healthy, lean proteins for energy.
Protein helps you build muscle. It also gives you constant energy throughout the day. Eat lean protein to avoid consuming too much fat. Protein is in meat, but also in plant foods. There is a constant debate about how much protein a person needs per day. Discuss this with your doctor or use an online calculator to determine your needs. Here are some examples of healthy proteins: Lean chicken, pork, or turkey. Fish, such as salmon, whitefish and tuna. Nuts, such as cashews, almonds and pistachios. Beans, such as black, pinto, and cannellini beans. lentils and chickpeas.
Healthy fats should make up 20-35% of your daily calorie intake.
Your body needs fat to function properly. However, it is important that you eat the right fats. Read food labels and eat foods that are low in saturated fat. Eat no more than 20 to 30 grams of saturated fat daily. Eat foods like avocados, salmon, tuna, and nut butters to get the healthy fats you need. Monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids are good fats to eat every day. They help lower the “bad” cholesterol in your body by boosting the release of “good” cholesterol. Foods that are high in fatty acids include olive oil, nuts, fish oil, and many seed oils. Eating these “good” fats every week will lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Avoid eating trans fat and saturated fat. Trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oil, is a form of unsaturated fat often found in processed foods. Consuming it increases your risk of heart disease.
Eat less salt to reduce your sodium intake.
A little sodium is good for you, and eating a healthy diet will get you enough. Don’t add salt to your food after cooking, and don’t eat processed foods that have a lot of added sodium. Instead of salt, season your food with fresh herbs such as coriander, chives or dill so that it tastes delicious. Canned vegetables are high in sodium. So eat fresh or frozen vegetables instead. Talk to your doctor about how much salt is good for you. If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, then you must not consume too much salt.
Drink at least 2.7 liters of water daily.
Water is important to keep you healthy. As a woman, drink at least 2.7 liters a day. As a man, drink at least 3.7 liters a day. Watch yourself how much you drink so you know it’s enough. Buy a water bottle with markings to make it easier for you to follow. Drink before you get thirsty. That way you don’t get dehydrated. Bring water with you so you can easily have a drink when you are thirsty. When you’re training hard or when you’re outside on a hot day, keep your body hydrated even more than usual.
Talk to your doctor before making any drastic changes in your diet.
Your doctor is a great resource, so ask them for help. Talk to him about what diet is best for you. Everyone has a different health and body. Please therefore for tailor-made ideas. Your doctor can also determine your healthy weight and suggest an exercise plan if you’d like. Always talk to your doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements.
Eat when you’re hungry instead of when you’re emotional.
It is normal to eat when you have certain emotions. The key is that you figure out why you’re eating and only eat when you’re hungry. If you’re eating more than you want, write down when you’re eating and how it makes you feel so you can spot patterns. Maybe you eat when you’re stressed or sad. Find a relaxing activity to use as a substitute. Take a nice walk or listen to a good podcast instead of eating a snack. If you’re celebrating with food, then that’s perfectly fine in moderation. If you find yourself overeating during happy times, celebrate success by rewarding yourself with something other than food. Maybe you can book a trip or buy new shoes.
Enjoy your food and eat slowly.
It takes a while for the belly to tell the brain it’s full. Work around this problem by eating more slowly. You haven’t already overeaten when your brain gets the message and you feel full. Plus, you can really enjoy and appreciate your meal by eating more slowly. Chew each bite 20 to 40 times to fully appreciate the flavor. If you’re eating a large meal, slow yourself down by waiting five or 10 minutes between each course. Drink a full glass of water with your meal. When you pause to drink, you eat more slowly and feel more full. Put the fork down between bites. This is a physical reminder to swallow the food in your mouth before taking the next bite.
Focus on how you feel after eating certain foods.
How do you feel after the meal? You may find that you feel very full and sluggish after eating something very greasy, like a cheeseburger. You might find that a protein-packed salad gives you energy. Write down how you feel after each meal so you can remember that feeling. If a food is making you feel miserable, look for a healthier alternative. For example, replace the pizza with a thick crust and sausage with a vegetable pizza with a thin whole-grain dough.
Feel a connection to your food by paying attention to where it comes from.
You will then be more mindful, thereby developing a healthy relationship with food. The more you pay attention to how your food is made and where it comes from, the better you can make healthy choices. Buy fresh, local groceries if you have it and can afford it. If you have a choice between local tomatoes and tomatoes from far away, choose the local ones. You feel good because you support the local economy and your food tastes fresher. Read labels. If you don’t know many of the ingredients, then choose something else. The simplest food with the fewest preservatives is often the healthiest choice.
Eat breakfast even if you’re not really hungry.
Breakfast gets your metabolism going and keeps it active throughout the morning. You have energy all morning. If you skip breakfast, you’ll be starved by lunchtime, so you have a lunchtime binge to compensate. Plan your breakfast ahead of the week so you can easily start your day with a simple, healthy meal. A small breakfast is better than no breakfast. If you don’t want to eat an entire meal, at least drink some water and eat a piece of fruit, a protein bar, or a slice of whole-wheat toast. Try alternatives that you can make ahead of time, like fruit and yogurt parfait, a frittata, or oatmeal that you soak overnight. Don’t skip breakfast on days with important exams, a job interview, or other important events. Hunger could distract you and maybe you don’t have enough energy for your brain to work to its full potential.
Eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day.
For example, you can eat three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and two snacks in between. So you eat a little less with each meal. Your body can digest this amount more easily and your blood sugar level stays at a constant level throughout the day. A good plan might look like this: Breakfast: A smoothie with protein, fruits and vegetables. Morning snack: An apple with nut butter or a small portion of cheese. Lunch: A salad with lots of vegetables, lean protein, and grains, like quinoa or farro. Afternoon snack: hummus, peppers and whole wheat pita. Dinner: Grilled or baked fish, a sweet potato, and roasted broccoli.
Eat less meat and more plant-based foods.
Eating more vegetables has many health benefits. If you don’t want to leave out too much meat, you can join Meatless Monday. This is an international campaign encouraging people not to eat meat on Mondays. Most people get enough protein as is, but talk to your doctor if you have concerns. Substitute mushrooms for meat in pasta dishes to get a meaty texture with less fat. Make tacos and burritos with black beans instead of meat. It tastes great and is full of protein.
Beforehand so as not to lose your way.
Write down what meals and snacks you plan to eat throughout the week. If you plan ahead, you’ll make healthy choices instead of impulsively eating junk food when you’re hungry. Choose meals that have similar ingredients (to make shopping easier) but provide enough variety that you don’t get bored. Prepare a few meals ahead of time so you always have a healthy option. For example, make vegetable fajitas one night and a Mexican-inspired salad the next. Wash and cut everything you need for a week right after you go shopping. So you always have a healthy snack ready. Boil some eggs early in the week so you can grab them for breakfast or add them to salads as a protein source.
Make a shopping list and stick to it.
Write down what you need for your meal plan so you have everything you need. Only buy what’s on your list at the store. This way, you make fewer impulse purchases, like snacks and candy. Don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry. You’re probably buying way too much. Save your shopping list on your phone. So you don’t forget them at home or in the car.
Eat before you go to the grocery store so you can focus on your grocery list without unnecessarily cravings. Junk food cravings stop after two weeks of healthy eating. Eat less processed foods (chips, cookies, bread, crackers). Make sure you don’t have unhealthy foods around the house to tempt you. Give away or throw away anything you shouldn’t be eating. Season yourself instead of buying an unhealthy condiment. Eat smaller portions. Use a smaller plate for this. Do not forbid yourself foods, but replace them. If you like sweet cookies, eat sweet strawberries or blueberries instead. If you like chips, substitute unsalted popcorn for them. Think about what you can eat instead of thinking about what you don’t want to eat. Drink only one or two alcoholic drinks a day. Don’t eat fast food. It is often high in sodium and saturated fats.