What is a Balanced Diet?

 

For many, they put hours for hard working into their workouts and still don’t see results. Why? Usually is because they aren’t eating a healthy, balanced diet.  Most people have an idea of what a healthy diet is, but it is not a habit or a lifestyle for them.  Don’t let that hard work go to waste. Get the results you want by cleaning up the diet.

Here are some things you should be eating for healthy living:

  • Start with eating in the right quantities.  Look at the serving sizes on the food labels. 
  • Include moderate amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in your diet
    • Carbs are the body’s most important source of energy. Carbs aid in the function of the muscles, kidneys, brain and central nervous system.  
      • For most people, 60-65% of your daily diet should consist of carbohydrates.
      • Good sources of carbs include: Whole grain wheat products, fruits and vegetables.
    • Proteins are needed for growth, supporting the immune system and repairing tissue.
      • For most people, the body requires 15-20% of your daily caloric intake consist of protein.
      • Good sources of proteins include: meat, milk and other dairy products.
    • Fats are also good source of energy.  Fat help in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, help keep cell membranes intact
      • For most people, the body requires 15-20% of your daily caloric intake consist of fats. 
      • Good sources of fats include: olive oil, lean meats, nuts and fish
  • In addition to the three macronutrients, the body needs vitamins and minerals. 

According to the newest food pyramid released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2005, the body’s nutritional requirements are divided into six vertical stripes. 

Orange – Whole Grains
Green – Leafy Vegetables
Red – Fruits
Yellow – Fats and Oils
Blue – Milk and Dairy Products
Purple – Fish, Beans, Meats and Nuts

 

The pyramid implies a balanced diet includes each food group, but in varying quantities. USDA emphasizes drinking plenty of water and physical activities along with a balanced diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

 

MyPyramid

MyPyramid.gov has interactive tools to get a personalized eating plan. Simply set up an account and provide your information. You can analyze your diet: enter your daily intake and determine what foods you should eat more or less. 

 

Nutrition for Kids

Children should be given a balanced diet. It should be heavier in proteins to promote their growth and development.  Their diet should include plenty of milk, lean meats in moderate amounts, vegetables and fruits.  Children should not be encouraged to indulge in junk food. 

Too much junk food:

  •  Impairs development,
  • Adversely affects the kidneys, liver, lungs and heart
  • Adversely affects memory and concentration
  • Makes them dull and lethargic
  • Leads to obesity

Encourage children to eat a moderate, balanced diet and are much more likely to grow up healthy and strong.

Nutrition for Women

Women tend to have problems such as loss of calcium, deficiencies in iron and excess fat.  These problems manifest themselves with age.

Women’s diet should include:

  • A variety of food from each of the food groups
  • Reduce the intake of salt and sugar
  • Avoid foods that are high in cholesterol
  • Decrease alcohol intake
  • Eat five to six small meals throughout the day
  • Drink plenty of water

 

Nutrition for Mature Adults

Metabolism tends to slow down dramatically after age 50.  The ability to digest food is also reduced.  Even though diet is restricted at older ages, it is important to take in adequate nourishment to help combat health problems that come as we age.  It is important to remember that as the lifestyle becomes less active, your dietary requirement also decrease.  Also, your BMI (Body Mass Index) is likely to decrease as we get older.  Simply put you are not burning as many calories when you are less active, so you should decrease you calorie intake accordingly by eating less. 

Nutrition for seniors should include:

  • Calcium (milk and dairy products) for bones that are becoming weaker
  • Fiber (plenty of fruits and vegetables) to combat digestive challenges that come with age.

 

Control Your Diet

A college professor said something that has always stuck with me.  He said, he who controls his finances, emotion and food will control his life.  For the purposes of this course, we will focus on the food aspect.  He was basically saying: If you control your diet, you control your life.  This is a simple concept that can easy to understand, but difficult to follow through.  You must always keep in mind: eating right can change your life.  The right food in your body can help you feel great, look better, increase your energy and give you more confidence. In most cases, people have a general idea of what foods will lead to a healthy lifestyle, but need a little guidance on how to get there.  When I was in school and training to become a personal trainer, I pictured myself taking big people and making them small and happy.  As I started my personal training career, it did not take long to understand there is far more to it.  My clients weren’t just getting smaller, they were getting healthier. Their blood pressure and cholesterol were improving; many with diabetes and other health problems were decreasing and in some cases eliminated their medications.  Every day, I would hear stories of clients with increased energy and improved mood and ability to handle stresses of the day.  They were getting their lives back.  There are no gimmicks needed. Just simply start an appropriate exercise program and ensure the body is getting a moderate, balanced and healthy diet.

You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

Do you know any families like this one?  Not only are they poisoning themselves. But, can you see how their bad habits are passed on to the next generation.  What a poor example. There are underlying reasons for the lack of sleep, overeating and poor eating habits.  They need to get to the root of the problem along with fixing those bad habits.  These habits are a vicious cycle and are spiraling out of control.  Clearly this family needs help. They are a good example of how once you get it (light bulb comes on, they had that “Ah ha” moment), you won’t want to go back to those bad habits.