Over the last decade the term ‘balanced diet’ has become a slogan in the food industry, but what exactly is a balanced diet? Can a universal diet be the right answer for all of us or should we have a tailored diet to our individual needs? Well, in short, your genetics will influence how you react to certain diets, however there is a broad approach that you can use as a guidance.
The Harvard School of Public Health recently adapted the USDA’s ‘My Plate’ in order to correct any deficiencies within it. It is used to help create balanced, healthy meals. If you play a lot of sports or have any allergies then your diet is likely to be adapted. Extreme diets can often completely ignore a certain food group but as more research is done into food science, this appears to be a bad idea and that a well-balanced diet is the way forward. There is so much help out there, you have plenty of resources to help you identify which diet best suits you. Talking to your GP, getting a personal trainer/dietitian or even using apps and services like SuperBody to help structure your diet and exercise are all great ways to get the ball rolling.
Here is what the Harvard School of Pubic Health suggests:
Make most of your meal vegetables and fruits – ½ of your plate:
Aim for color and variety. Frozen vegetables are still great so don’t feel you need to be buying fresh veggies every day. A big bag of frozen vegetables will still supply your body with all the nutrients.
Go for whole grains – ¼ of your plate:
Whole and intact grains—whole wheat, barley, wheat berries, quinoa, buckwheat, rye, millet, oats, brown rice, and foods made with them, such as whole wheat pasta—have a milder effect on blood sugar and insulin than white bread, white rice, and other refined grains.
Protein power – ¼ of your plate:
Fish, chicken, beans, and nuts are all healthy, versatile protein sources—they can be mixed into salads, and pair well with vegetables on a plate. Limit red meat, and avoid processed meats such as bacon and sausage.
It is hard to stick to this kind of structure for every meal however if you find most of your meals are way off these guidelines then it’s probably worth making more of an effort.
The right diet can only go so far though and regular exercise should also be included into your new healthy lifestyle. By adopting small changes you can see big differences so it is definitely time to start making those changes!