Essential Components of a Healthy Diet
Is your body getting the right balance of nutrients? If you experience any one of these symptoms, start rethinking your diet: heartburn, constipation, thinning hair, skin conditions, foot or body odor, bad breath, fatigue, weight gain, PMS, or depression. Each has associations with imbalanced nutrition. Eating foods that are full of nutrients helps protect your body from illness and other imbalances. Advance meal planning enables healthier eating habits. For guidance, use nutritious recipes in cookbooks and magazines, or consult a nutritionist who will create a healthy eating plan that matches your body’s unique needs.
A Well-Balanced Diet Includes:
|1. A variety of nutrient rich carbohydrates, high-quality protein, and healthy fats.
2. Appropriate portion sizes. Remember your stomach is roughly the size of your fist when empty!
3. Regular meals. If eating three main meals a day does not work for you, try six smaller ones.
4. Limited amounts of processed foods, and foods high in sugar or salt.
5. Taking the time to enjoy and savor your food.
There are no excuses for unhealthy eating. "Too busy" just means something is not a priority for you. Meal planning saves money and time by making shopping quicker and allows for healthier choices than browsing every aisle at the store. Pick a regular day to write a menu for the week ahead, and then make the shopping list. When at the grocery store, stick to your list.
Use expert help if you're not creative with recipes. A greater amount of beneficial nutrients comes with more color and variety on your plate. The healthiest foods are those that remain closest to their natural state. Fresh vegetables are always healthier than frozen or canned.
Another time saving and portion control tip is to prepare large meals in advance and then separate them into single serve containers for future meals. Having a well-stocked kitchen makes it easier to make good food choices. And, establishing a cooking and shopping routine is important to your success.
Plan your meals based around these nutrition guidelines: CARBOHYDRATES (40-60% of daily calories) Healthy sources of carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Complex carbohydrates provide fiber which is critical to the efficiency of numerous body processes. Limit simple carbohydrates (white sugar and white flour, soda-pop, desserts, candy, etc.). These provide little or no value and contribute to insulin resistance, obesity, hormone imbalances, and chronic inflammation issues.
PROTEIN (20-30% of daily calories) Preference is given to complete proteins that include all of the essential amino acids (organic, free-range, or wild animal sources such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and yogurt over commercial or processed meats and farm-raised fish). Incomplete proteins come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Vegetarians must pay attention to food choices to include all the essential amino acids.
FAT (20-30% of daily calories) Healthy fats (omega-3 essential fatty acids and omega-6 essential fatty acids) are vital to health and are not made by the body. They fight inflammation, stimulate the immune system, enhance mood, and support joint health, as well as cardiovascular, brain, and nervous system functions. You must get these good fats from your diet (wild cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseed, etc.) or an essential fatty acid (EFA) supplement. Avoid or at least limit your consumption of unhealthy fats such as hydrogenated oils found in many manufactured or processed foods.