How to Plan a Healthy Diet?

How to Plan a Healthy Diet?

We give you the best tips to plan a healthy and balanced diet for good health, take note!

Following a nutritional plan in accordance with our calorie requirements helps to prevent diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity, among others.

The first step in constructing a healthy diet is to find out the different food groups and to determine the frequency and proportion in which they should be consumed, so that their intake is of greater benefit to the body.

It’s also important to design a well-structured weekly/monthly menu.

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet consists of an eating plan that provides us with the nutrients we need to enjoy good health and that can be sustainable over time.

Not something fleeting that is soon abandoned.

An approach totally at odds with the miracle diets of two or three weeks consuming one or another food, which can produce an immediate weight loss effect;

But in the medium or long term the effect is reversed, regaining the lost weight, and even increasing body weight.

What is a healthy diet?

In order to plan a healthy diet, a balanced and complete diet must be established that contains the three macronutrients throughout the day in the right proportions; these macronutrients being:

  • Healthy fats, such as those contained in walnuts, nuts, olive oil and avocado;
  • Proteins, preferably of animal origin, such as chicken, fish, eggs, meats;
  • Carbohydrates, including fruit and vegetables rich in fibre, as well as complex starchy foods such as oats, rice or pasta.

What should you plan for in a diet?

Planning a healthy diet provides energy, vitamins, minerals and proper hydration.

It should be structured taking into consideration that each person has different nutritional requirements depending on their age, sex, height, physical activity and medical history.

breakfast pancakes

On the other hand, it’s important to clarify that no one food provides all the essential nutrients.

Therefore, when planning a healthy diet, the following aspects must be taken into account:

  • Complete: this is achieved by incorporating foods that contain nutrients from all food groups.
  • Balanced: nutrients must be present in proportion. In this sense, carbohydrates should provide between 55 and 60% of the total kcal per day; fats, between 25 and 30%; and proteins, between 12 and 15%. It’s also necessary to drink between 2 and 3 litres of water a day. And keep in mind that these are general indications, not something personalised.
  • Sufficient: the amount of food should be moderate, but adequate to maintain your weight within the accepted range.
  • Varied: it’s advisable to establish a weekly or monthly menu that includes alternatives, that is diverse, and that maintains the rule of including different foods, prepared in a healthy way.
The main meals of the diet will consist of: breakfast, lunch and dinner; plus the option of adding 2 small snacks.

Breakfast

A complete breakfast should include for example fruit, bread or cereals, some dairy products, and a source of high biological value protein such as eggs.

This time of day is a good time for carbohydrate consumption.

Lunch

It’s important to include a good dose of protein, varying the menu each day between white meat, red meat, white fish, oily fish…

Vegetables and greens should also be included.

Healthy lunch

A portion of cereals, preferably whole grains such as bread, pasta or rice, should not be missing.

Dinner

You can organise it similarly to lunch, but lighter, and including vegetables every day.

In addition to these three main meals, it’s recommended to have two intermediate snacks; one between breakfast and lunch, another between lunch and dinner.

However, this may vary according to individual schedules.

On the other hand, if you’re interested in reducing fat and losing weight, you should prepare a weight loss diet, following some criteria, in order to achieve your goal effectively.

Weight loss diet

The key to weight loss is generating a negative energy balance.

That’s to say, consuming fewer calories than we burn, and that these calories come from foods that provide nutrients to the body.

Among the criteria to follow for a sustainable diet are the tips below:

Increase satiety

To plan a healthy diet you should include foods that produce a feeling of satiety while providing nutrients and few calories.

Recommended foods include: fruit and vegetables, fish, eggs, lean meats, nuts and pulses, brown or loose white rice.

Healthy diet for weight loss

Similarly, eliminate commercial soft drinks and juices.

Avoid foods that don’t provide large amounts of energy but on the contrary generate an increase in blood sugar, such as: sugar and refined flours, present in most pasta, breads and sweets.

Use the healthiest cooking methods

Cooking methods commonly used in healthy weight and volume loss diets include: roasting, sautéing, steaming, and grilling.

Head over to this link to learn about the benefits of steaming.

Consider adequate hydration

In this regard, it’s best to drink water, herbal teas and/or vegetable broths.

Here’s an option for a weekly menu for a healthy diet to lose weight that you can combine in different ways across your days.

However, please note that while this is a general guideline for a healthy weekly diet, a professional should always be consulted to individualise it.

Weekly menu example

This menu is a starting point when planning a healthy and balanced diet.

Take it as reference, and as always, if you have any questions, you can leave them in comments.

Breakfast

  • Wholemeal bread or oats.
  • Eggs and egg whites.
  • Light fruit such as mandarin, pineapple, kiwi, apple…

Morning snack

  • 1 protein powder shake, 1 plain yoghurt, turkey or quality sausage.
  • A handful of nuts.

protein shake

Protein shake.

Lunch

  • Fillet of white fish such as hake, gilthead bream, sea bass…
  • Salad, predominantly green.
  • Rice, pasta or pulses, and you can also use potato as a carbohydrate source.
  • Avocado or olive oil can be used as a source of fat.

Afternoon snack

  • Natural yoghurt or kefir
  • Nuts or peanut, almond or cashew butter.

Dinner

  • Roasted chicken breast.
  • Sautéed vegetables such as: courgette, aubergine, pepper, mushrooms….
  • If you ever want to add a vegetable protein source, this could be tofu.
  • You can also eat meat for lunch and fish for dinner and remember to include red meat or salmon 1-2 days a week.

Bibliography

  1. “Personal experience and contributions”.
  2. “Sepa como hacer su propia dieta” Marta Stahler y Patricia Cooke 2007.
  3. “Nutrición básica humana” José Miguel Soriano del Castillo 2006.

Related Entries

  • You’ll find the best recipes for healthy snacks at this link.
  • What is a balanced diet? We give you our answer.
  • List of the most Omega-3-rich foods. Click here.
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About María José García
María José García
María José has been connected to sport throughout her whole life. She has competed in several sport disciplines such as skating, swimming or gymnastics since she was a little girl.
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