I’m sure you’ve heard that the healthiest thing to do is follow a balanced diet, but what is it, how do you follow it, and what are its benefits? We tell you everything!
What is a Balanced Diet?
Originally, this diet had to have a distribution of macronutrients such that carbohydrates provided 55% of energy, fats 30% and proteins 15%.
Additionally, it should provide the necessary energy to keep us at a normal weight.
Criticism of the “balanced diet” comes from asking ourselves a few questions about it:
- Is this concept useful for the general public not educated in nutrition?
- Is it practical? After receiving this information, will I eat better?
- Who sets such rigid percentages? Science, or industry?
- Have all human beings eaten in these proportions of macronutrients in an evolutionary way?
- Has it been solidly demonstrated that these proportions provide the best health?
The main issue with the concept of a “balanced diet”, as it is spread and passed on by word of mouth, is that it is neither concrete nor practical. And ambiguous messages aren’t always too successful. In fact, they’re not successful at all.
Breakfast option for a balanced diet.
- A “balanced diet” continues to focus on the quantitative in terms of proportions.
- But if you want to improve the quality of your diet, you have to focus on the qualitative first.
Would that be a healthy diet? You don’t need to be a professional to know the answer…
Benefits of a Balanced Diet
Having made the criticism, can a balanced and healthy diet be achieved by following the assumptions set out in the first section?
A healthy diet, allow me the redundancy, is one that includes healthy foods. If it also does so in the designated proportions (55-30-15), it would become a balanced and healthy diet.
It’s worth remembering that establishing a consistent healthy diet is one of the most powerful ways of keeping a number of undesirable chronic non-communicable diseases away.
Nowadays, bad diets cause millions of avoidable deaths every year..
We need to start viewing our diet as a direct cause of illness or health.
A balanced and healthy diet (and I emphasise the healthy for the previous comment), can, for example, greatly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke) and many types of cancer.
Keys to successfully following the diet
The main key to achieving a healthy and balanced diet lies in making a good food selection.
And this is where nutrition education is key.
If you can’t decipher between what is healthy and what is not, things get complicated.
The quality reporting of many professionals helps discern them, and the industry often makes these decisions difficult.
There is still an abundance of claims for products being healthy that in reality end up being unhealthy.
As a general rule, if a product has more than 5 or 6 ingredients, it’s likely not recommendable.
After making a good selection of food, I would recommend you put less “need” on maintaining a set proportion of macronutrients.
Do you think you’ll get any benefit from neurotically trying to keep your carbs at 55% and not more?
The short answer: no, you won’t. You’ll generate unnecessary and unfruitful stress.
What should you eat in a Balanced Diet?
What you should aim to eat in a healthy and balanced diet, in a very broad sense, is the following:
- As a source of carbohydrates: choose whole grains such as spelt or oats; pseudo-cereals such as buckwheat; pulses (also a source of vegetable protein); potatoes or rice, especially if you are an athlete; all kinds of vegetables and of course seasonal fruit.
- As a source of protein: choose non-processed meats, fish (especially oily fish), seafood, legumes and whey protein.
- As a source of fat: choose nuts, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil.
Weekly Balanced Diet
We will now review various food groups and the recommended consumption frequency each week:
- Fruit: you can consume up to 3-4 pieces of fruit a day without fear. Yes, I said without fear – many people are still afraid of fruit.
- Vegetables: as a general rule, include vegetables in all your main meals. If you’re not having vegetables for breakfast, you can have fruit.
- Dairy: this is not essential, but if you like and tolerate it, 1-2 daily rations are acceptable.
- Red meat: 1-2 times a week.
- White meat: 2-3 times a week.
- Oily fish: 2-3 time a week
- Eggs: another food you don’t need to be scared f. you can consume 1-2 eggs a day without any problems – it’s a healthy food.
- Whole grains and starches: include them in a greater or lesser proportion according to your physical activity.
- Alcohol: the less the better. Try not exceed 2 drinks a week.
- Nuts: 30 grams a day is a suitable amount for the majority of people.
- Legumes: include them 2-3 times a week.
An example of a weekly menu for a Balanced Diet would be the following:
- Do you know the benefits of “Real Food”? We tell you about them in this link.
- Avoid these errors that make your meals less healthy.
- It’s time to change your dietary habits… continue reading.