8 Healthy Ways To Balance Your Diet

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Nutritionists put a lot of emphasis in healthy eating, which means eating the right food, in right amount, at the right time. Unfortunately, the eating culture has changed and became complex with the influx of fad diets and popular diet plans that promise fast weight loss. Judy Penta, BS, a nutritionist and certified health counselor said, Fad diets are the parachute pants of nutrition. Usually, these diets are popular only for a short time a season or at most a few years then become unpopular or even laughable when the new fad comes along. But for savvy dieters, who are sometimes tempted to take on the easy route, they know that these diets arent sustainable, and that nothing could replace regular healthy meal plans.

For people who want to lose weight or maintain their current body figure without sacrificing healthy meals, dieticians suggest these 8 eating goals.

  1. Fruits and vegetables should make half the plate. Each plate served may contain various food on it, but it is advisable that half of the serving will be fruits and vegetables. Jennifer Neily, a registered dietician and the author of Eat Out, Eat Well, wrote, There is one area that I feel strongly about and will always tell peopleuntil I am presented science to disprove the benefitsto eat more vegetables and fruits. That I am extremely confident about! Despite the myriad of studies and research over the last 50 years on many nutrition topics, one thing has not changedeat more veggies and fruits. RDs suggest eating colorful fruits and vegetables like oranges, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccolis and dark-green leafy vegetables. These ones are rich with vitamins, minerals and fibers that are essential for the body.

  2. When eating grains, half of it should be whole grains. Eating too much refined grains are discouraged because they have less nutritional value and high sugar content. But for individuals who are not used to eating whole grain food, they could eat refined grains on minimal amount. When buying whole-grain food, look for ingredients that say, whole wheat,” bulgur,” “brown rice,” “”oatmeal,” buckwheat,” quinoa,“rolled oats, or “wild rice.

  3. Change to low-fat or fat-free milk. Both low-fat and non-fat milk have the same essential nutrients and amount of calcium as whole milk. However, they have less saturated fat and fewer calories.

  4. Include lean protein foods in the diet. This includes leaner cuts of chicken breast, turkey breast, ground beef thats made of 90% or higher lean meat, seafood, dry peas, seeds, nuts and eggs.

  5. Reduce sodium intake. Sodium is bad for the heart and it makes people bloat due to water retention, according to some health experts. When buying pre-packed food, it is essential to check the Nutrition Facts label to know how high or low the sodium content is in the food. Reduced sodium,” “low sodium, or no salt added,are the best choices to make.

  6. Replace sugary drinks with water. Water and plain tea dont have calories, but other drinks do. Sports drinks, sodas and energy drinks have very high calorie and sugar content, which jeopardizes health in the long run and make people fat.

  7. Add some seafood in the diet at least once or twice a week. Seafood have omega-3 fatty acid, which is good for the heart. They also give minerals and protein that fruits and vegetables dont. Some seafood to chomp on would be trout, tuna, salmon, mussels, crabs, and oysters.

  8. Reduce the intake of solid fats. Revolutionary dieticians would not advice to strictly avoid sweets like desserts, cookies and cakes that are made of butter and shortening, or processed foods like bacon and sausages, because it will only create cravings. Katherine Parker, an RD from California noted that, It is a human tendency to crave for things, especially for food, that they are restricted from eating. When the craving builds up, theres a high possibility that people give into the cravings, and when they do they eat more than they should eat to compensate for the time that they hadnt eaten the restrictedfood. Parker thinks that it is okay to eat foods that contain solid fats on rare occasion and in small serving, say maybe once a week or once in every 2 weeks.

Suggested Healthy Food Preparations

Fruits and Vegetables To-Go

  • When preparing go-to dishes, it is good to mix some vegetables in it. Boiled green leafy vegetable like spinach with olive oil will go well with pasta or tacos.

  • If fresh fruits and vegetables are not available, frozen or canned ones would do. However when buying canned vegetables, it is important to check the sodium content in the food. For canned fruits, it is essential to buy only those that are packed with 100% juice.

  • For children, it is good to add carrot sticks, 1 banana or 1 sliced apple in their lunch boxes.

Healthy Snacks

  • Fruits and vegetables always make the best snack. To prepare one at home, cut-up or slice fruits and vegetables into bite sizes and chill them in a food-grade container. Carrots, celery and cucumbers make a crunchy snack while oranges, apples and grapes will satisfy the sweet cravings.

  • Water is always the best drink to satisfy thirst. Adding 100% fruit juice or a slice of lemon will add flavor to the water.

  • For children, it is best to explain to them the difference between occasional snacks like cookies and cakes, and everyday snacks like fruits and vegetables.

Food with Less Salt, Fat and Sugar

  • Jennifer Neily mentioned that eating out with friends is an opportunity to binge on unhealthy food, especially if its a group order. This is okay when done occasionally; however, for individuals who eat out at least 3 times a week, they have to be careful with what they order. The Presidents Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition suggests to, Choose baked or grilled food instead of fried when you’re eating out and implement this at home, too. Make water and fat-free or low-fat milk your go-to drinks instead of soda or sweetened beverages.

  • Avoid adding salt to the food. The taste buds can be trained to taste the foods flavor without or with less salt.

  • When eating dessert, choose fruit salad or baked apple pies.