A Balanced Diet - Back to Basics For Better Health

With so many diet fads and this diet approach or that diet approach going around, it’s often hard to decide which diet you should consider.

Some diets count calories, others count fat or carbs. What’s the best solution when everything is so confusing?

The best plan is to get back to basics and eat a balanced meal plan. The truth is, your body has to have protein, carbs and fat to be healthy.

Cutting any one of them out can lead to poor health down the road.

You may feel better, in the early stages, but as your body tries to function over time without the necessary nutrients it needs, you will start to feel poorly again.

Let’s break down what each component does for your body and then cover some basic tips for eating better. I will not get all scientific in the descriptions. I will keep it simple.

Protein -
Protein is found in every cell of your body. Not just some cells, but in all of them. It’s absolutely necessary for your bones, muscles, skin, hair and nails.

Animal proteins are a complete protein, which means they supply the amino acids your body can’t produce on its own.

Other sources of protein include beans and legumes, nuts and seeds.

Protein deficiency leads to muscle loss, bone loss, low calcium absorption, fractures and osteoporosis. As you can see, it’s very important to have some protein every day.

Carbs -
Carbohydrates also play a big role in the body. They are the main energy source your body needs to run on.

But, they are also important for brain function, your organs, cells and tissues. They also play a role in intestinal health and the elimination of wastes from your body.

Clearly you need to have some carbs in your diet. So, what’s up with all the low carb diets?

A good low carb diet does not completely remove carbs from the eating plan. It simply allows for better carb choices, which I’ll cover in the section for better eating habits.

Fats -
Fats come in two varieties, good fats and bad fats. You want to consume more good fats and less bad fats.

Fat plays many roles in the body, but one of the most important is to help you absorb nutrients, especially the fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.

Fats are good for your hair and skin, but it also gives you essential fatty acids. These are fatty acids that your body can’t produce on its own, so you need to consume some healthy fats for this to happen.

So, how do you balance all of this and make better choices?

The best way is to design your own eating plan. You may have to work with it over time. It’s not set in stone.

Each day you should consume some protein, some carbs and some healthy fats.

For your protein choices, have a little bit of red meat, but not too much. Try to eat more fish and poultry. Nuts, seeds and beans also supply some protein.

For your carb choices, and this is an area that people really need to improve, is simply eat better carbs.

Stop eating processed carbs; cakes, breads, cookies, etc. Eat more beans, nuts and vegetables—food that grows naturally.

Also consider this, can the food be eaten raw? If it’s grown in the ground and could be eaten straight from the garden, it’s a good choice.

I’m not saying you have to eat your fruits and vegetables raw, but you could.

This one is another tricky area because there are so many bad fats in almost everything we eat. But the truth is, the majority of bad fats are in processed foods.

Good fats come from real food. Like I mentioned about carbs, fats fall right in line. Good fat choices include nuts, seeds, avocados, etc. You’ll also get some fat from your protein sources.

If you’ve tried every diet craze and nothing has worked, maybe it’s time for a whole lifestyle change and a healthy eating plan that comes straight from nature.

The best way to shop for this diet is to avoid the aisles in the grocery store and buy your food from the meat, cheese and produce sections.

5 Ways to Make Fast Food Healthier

It's a well-known fact that fast food is generally unhealthy, so if you want to start living a healthier lifestyle and eating a better diet, how do you manage without the extra time needed to make home-cooked food each day?

Here are five ways you can make food fast healthier and make better choices.

1. Go vegetarian
Because of all the processed meat which is being circulated today, going vegetarian is a quick and easy way to choose a healthier option every time.

Even fast food chains such as McDonald's have vegetarian burgers, and as well as being less calories than other types of burgers, they don't contain as much badness either.

2. Go without sauce
When you eat fast food, a lot of the sugar, calories and unhealthy features come from sauce. If you ask for your food without sauce, you'll be making a healthier option straight away.

You can either swap the sauce to a healthier one, bring your own along or just get used to eating without it.

3. Skip the sides
You don't always need to get sides with your fast food, and many of us order sides such as fries out of habit or because it comes as part of a deal.

In most cases, we wouldn't be hungry any more after just eating the main part of the meal, so there's really no need to add on the extras just because it's a deal or a habit.

4. Don't use as much salt
If you're ordering fries which already come with salt, ask them to make them without salt.

Too much salt adds to an increase in blood pressure, which can result in a variety of health issues, such as strokes and heart attacks.

If you ask for your food without salt, the staff will usually have to make it fresh, which means you'll get better-tasting food too.

5. Go for the smaller option
If you normally order a large meal, choose a medium one instead. Most of the time, the medium sized meals aren't much smaller than the large ones anyway, and the drinks especially can often fit into the same sized cup.

Not only will you reduce the amount of calories and salt that you're consuming, but you'll save plenty of money over the course of the month too.

More Resources

Eating healthy is about many things. For one, you can eat anything you want, as long as you eat the proper portions.

The truth of the matter is that most of us eat with wild abandon and count the calories later. Unfortunately, later is too late.

Just about any meal that you eat can be morphed into a healthier version.

It only takes a little know how about ingredients and substitutions.

And, creating your meals at home is a good way to cut out a lot of the fat and calories that you would encounter in the same meal at a restaurant or prepackaged in the grocery store.

Here I'll feature helpful resources to show you more ways for how to learn healthy cooking as I come across them.

how to learn healthy cooking

What’s your biggest issue?

How do you handle it – or can you think of any additional tips you can share with others if you don’t have an issue with this in your life?
Share them with us in our Comments – or share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook or wherever you feel it could help someone you know.
Cheers, Helene Malmsio

Related Reading: Healthy Cooking - https://www.discoveryhub.net

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