Posted in: Good Nutrition, Weight Management

What You Need to Know about a balanced diet.

The idea of making sure your plate is balanced remains very much relevant. A diet that contains a variety of nutrients from all the food groups will promote good health.

The vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and proteins are needed by your body in specific proportions to keep it adequately functioning.

Why do you think it’s important to make sure your diet is balanced?

  1. First, your body needs these nutrients, the only way to maximise them is by eating foods from different food groups.
  2. For a healthy weight, eating foods, especially fruits and vegetables, and whole grains have been linked to weight management.
  3. To avoid risks of nutrient deficiencies, when you constantly avoid eating certain foods, you can push your body to a state of deficiencies, which leads to diseases as well.
  4. This is very important for children for optimal growth and development, especially high-protein foods, vitamins and minerals.
  5. Reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases is also an important reason to keep your plate balanced.

What will happen if my diet is not balanced?


There are various risks linked to reckless eating. To keep your plate balanced means you care so much about nutrients and their benefits to your body. When you don’t prioritise this you are likely to develop;

  1. Nutrient deficiencies which may lead to problems like anaemia ( vitamin B12 deficiency), your body may also fail to function effectively, increased hospital visits, and generally body weakness.
  2. Unnecessary weight gain: when you don’t care how many calories you eat from foods, it’s very easy to gain weight unnecessarily. For example, if your diet consistently contains only carbs, then weight gain awaits.
  3. Impaired digestion. Foods rich in dietary fibre always ensure that your digestive system works efficiently. The fiber both soluble and insoluble fibre helps prevent both diarrhea and constipation. Conditions that could become serious when left untreated.
  4. Body weakness, especially when you skip meals. When you skip meals, your glucose levels would go low, causing reduced energy levels.
  5. Bone health, foods rich in minerals like calcium and phosphorus are essential in ensuring good bone health. Missing out on a balanced diet means you’ll miss out on these vital minerals.
  6. Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, happens when you replace nutritious foods with those full of saturated fats, added salts and sugar. These foods, which are always processed foods, increase your cardiovascular risk.

How can I keep my diet balanced?


Keeping your diet balanced becomes easy with these tips;

  1. Eat a variety of foods from different food groups, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates are all important.
  2. Master the art of portion control to ensure you get sufficient amounts of nutrients from foods without necessarily overeating.
  3. Don’t omit proteins from your diet plan, proteins provide satiety and would not have an adverse effect on blood sugar, especially for diabetics. Leans proteins, poultry, beans, lentils and all good for your health.
  4. Choose whole grains, they will give you glucose, and enough dietary fibre that tags along very many minerals and phytochemicals. Brown rice and whole wheat are good choices. They will also help you with weight management and control of blood sugar.
  5. Cut down on over-processed foods, they will only come in with too much unnecessary fat, salts and sugar. Most of these foods also lack important nutrients that your body requires.
  6. Drink sufficient amounts of water, the more you eat, the more water you’ll need to flush out wastes from your body, and keep your body functioning adequately.
  7. Choose healthy fats, unsaturated fats like avocado, olive oil and nuts.
  8. Plan your meals on time, this helps prevent unnecessary snacking. Most snacks contain too much sugar, fats and salts, and lack important nutrients.
  9. Know your hunger and fullness cues, often we eat even when we are not hungry. And this can bring in unnecessary weight gain.

Remember, balance over time is key. It’s okay to enjoy treats occasionally, but focusing on a consistent, overall balanced approach to eating is crucial for sustained health.

Do all my meals need to be balanced?


Even though having a balanced diet on every meal poses many benefits, to have all your meals of the day balanced can be hard. The main focus here is to ensure by the end of day, you have had food from at least each food group. This is to ensure sustainability.

For instance, if one meal is higher in carbohydrates, aim for the next one to include more protein and vegetables.

The key is to provide your body with a variety of nutrients consistently rather than fixating on achieving balance with each meal.
It’s about adopting a healthy and sustainable eating pattern over time rather than stressing over the balance of every single meal.


Here’s a sample balanced meal plan for a day:

BREAKFAST:

  • 1 cup milk tea ( milk is a good source of protein and calcium)
  • 2 pieces Egg sandwich (a good source of protein and carbohydrates)
  • 1 orange  (A small glass of orange juice or a piece of whole fruit (vitamin C).

SNACK:

  • A handful of almonds or walnuts (healthy fats and protein).
  • A piece of fruit, like an apple or a banana (fibre and natural sugars). OR
  • 1cup diced fruits  

LUNCH:

  • 1 cup vegetables (A serving of steamed broccoli or other vegetables (fibre and vitamins).
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (complex carbohydrates and additional protein).
  • ½ cup beans (with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, or carrots (protein, vitamins, and fibre).

AFTERNOON SNACK:

  • Oatmeal topped with fresh berries and a sprinkle of nuts (complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and healthy fats).

SUPPER:

  • 1 cup mashed potatoes/ sweet potatoes (complex carbohydrates and fiber).
  • Baked or grilled fish (omega-3 fatty acids and protein).
  • 1 ½  cups vegetables (Sautéed spinach or kale with garlic (iron and vitamins).

Note: Adjust portion sizes based on individual needs and activity levels. Also, stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking water or herbal teas. This is just one example, and variety is key


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