How to Have a Balanced Diet

Variety Is the Key to Having a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet can help you look and feel your best.  Using the food pyramid as a guide, dieticians recommend a specific number of fruits and vegetables, grain items, and proteins for people of in different age groups.  Small children and the elderly often need nutritional advice but more and more, people in general need assistance knowing what and what not to eat to fuel their bodies.  A junk food diet is not recommended because it is high in fat, sugar, and sodium, low in nutritional value, and can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Knowing what types of foods are rich in fiber, low in sugar content, and have antioxidants can be beneficial for health conscious individuals and families.  The key to having a balanced diet in many cases is eating a variety of foods and paying attention to serving sizes.  Too much of a good thing can hurt you so it is important to read the sides of boxes and bags for additional information about nutrition.  This will help you to exercise decision making skills regarding your health and well-being.

Familiarize Yourself With the Different Food Groups

Knowing the different food groups and their recommended serving sizes is the first step to having a healthy, balanced diet.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created a website called  Individuals wanting to learn more about dietary guidelines can utilize the tools made available through the governmental agency.

The Food Pyramid consists of Meats and Beans, Grains, Milk and Dairy Products, Fruits, and Vegetables.   Oil is to be used sparingly.  Individuals wanting to learn the caloric value of over 50,000 types of food can visit:

Calorie King

Learn Different Ways to Prepare Fruits, Vegetables, and Meats

Fruits and vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked in the following ways:

  • Steamed
  • Baked
  • Sautéed
  • Broiled
  • Grilled

Meats like poultry and fish can be:

  • Baked
  • Broiled
  • Grilled
  • Smoked

Experimenting in the kitchen gives you the freedom to try a variety of foods and prepare them in exciting, new ways.  For example, smoked salmon and grilled salmon look and taste entirely different.  Grilled vegetables have a unique texture and flavor that is nothing like boiled vegetables.

A number of resources are available to help you in the kitchen.  From cookbooks to podcasts to television programs, you can find new inspiration around every corner if you keep an open mind.  Even those foods that you are not necessarily fond of can be prepared a certain way and taste great.  Just give them a try when you can!

Take a Multi-Vitamin

A good multi-vitamin is essential with any diet.  It helps a person obtain the nutrients he or she needs to survive.  Choosing the right type of multi-vitamin depends largely on your age and sex.  Children should never take a product designed with adults in mind.  Nor should a man take a vitamin that is geared towards women.

Our bodies require different things.  For example, women that plan to have children need a certain amount of Folic Acid to help prevent birth defects in their babies.  They also tend to need more iron than men because they can lose up to 18 milligrams a day during their menstruation.

Follow the instructions listed on the bottle and never take a vitamin on an empty stomach.  This can cause you great discomfort and can negate the effects that the nutrients have on your body.  Most vitamins require that you drink a full glass of water while taking them.

Make Sure To Drink Enough Water Each Day

Speaking of H2O, water is good for the joints, helps flush out your system, and keeps you hydrated and clear-headed throughout the day.  It is estimated that the human body consists of 60 to 70 percent water.

In the past, eight glasses of water was said to be enough for the average individual.  Today, that number has changed.  A good way to know if you are getting enough to drink is this simple equation.  Take your body weight in pounds and divide it by two.  The number you wind up with is how many ounces of water you should be drinking daily.  If you exercise on a regular basis or participate in sports, this number can climb dramatically.

Proper nutrition starts with you.  By learning what types of foods you should and shouldn’t eat, you are ultimately doing yourself a favor.  Not only does this knowledge allow you to make more conscious decisions about the types of items that you are consuming, it gives you a starting point for educating others about the importance of maintaining a balanced diet and active lifestyle.

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