Balanced Diet

What is a balanced diet?

by Dr. Michelle Vallie, LCPC, PhD.

Failure to eat sensibly does not stem from eating the wrong foods but from eating too much of particular ingredient or not enough of another. If you consume a variety of food, and most people do automatically, you are probably getting the essential nutrients. On the other hand, if you subsist on only a few foods, your health may suffer. Surplus energy from too much fatty or sugary food is stored in the body as fat and can become a serious health problem. A balanced diet should give you all the nutrients and energy you need, but no more. A healthy diet contains adequate quanities of six groups of substances: proteins, carbohydrates and fats, all of which contain calories, in addition to fibers, vitamins, and minerals.
Finally, remember that moderation is the key to a healthy diet and makes a great deal of sense. Too much of anything, whether it be a number of calories you consume or a certain kind of food is unwise. A balanced diet taken in moderation along with adequate exercise cannot guarantee good health, but it is a big help in maintaining your health.

Here are some pointers to help you maintain a balanced diet:

  • Keep meat consumption to once daily. Fish or chicken are less fattening than red meat, sausages, and processed meats.
  • Cut down on salt and other sodium-containing substances such as meat tenderizers (monosodium glutamate or MSG). Do not salt your food without tasting it first. You may be surprised at how easy it is to reduce the amount of sodium.
  • Bake your food rather than frying it.
  • Get your quota of fiber by eating plenty of leafy vegetables and fruit. Eat them raw or lightly cooked, because prolonged cooking destroys essential vitamins. Another good source of fiber is potato skins. A food does not have to have a tough or stringy texture in order to contain fiber.
  • Limit your intake to four eggs a week. Even though are low in saturated fat, they do have a very high cholesterol content.
  • For dessert or a snack eat fresh fruit (without cream) rather than candy, cakes or puddings.