5 Groups of Foods That Should Be a Part of Your Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is one that helps to keep or enhance overall good health. A well-balanced diet gives your body all the necessary nutrients: macronutrient, fluid, micronutrient, and sufficient calories. Some well-balanced diets are vegetarian, vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarians, lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and others. For a well-balanced diet, you should be eating six servings of fruits and vegetables daily, along with four to five servings of protein, fiber, oils, and fats. Your dietary needs can be met by following some tips for a balanced diet.
A healthy diet should be the cornerstone of any weight loss plan. The right kind of balanced diet can prevent weight gain, along with other diseases and health hazards. A good way to get the maximum benefit from your healthy diet plan is by eating different foods. Here are some foods that you should eat on a regular basis to ensure that you stay fit and healthy.
Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide the bulk and fiber content for various types of food, including most whole grain foods and vegetables. It is recommended to have a minimum of twenty grams of carbohydrates per day, which comes from both complex (think beans) and simple (think bread) forms. When combined with essential nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, carbohydrates can also be used for energy. Whole grains, pasta, and potatoes are great sources of carbs.
Fruits and Vegetables. Most fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and various other nutrients that help in a balanced diet. These foods provide the bulk and nutrients for a variety of dishes, from smoothies and soups to salads and wraps. Vegetables include: carrots, cauliflower, spinach, celery, onions, green beans, peas, cabbage, tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, potatoes, and avocados. Five groups of fruits and vegetables must be consumed daily for optimum health:
Dairy Products. Some dairy products are allowed in a balanced diet. Milk and yogurt are excellent source of calcium and are rich in protein. Eggs can be used as an alternative to cheese in making yogurt and milk shake. Other dairy products include butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, sherbet, and frozen yogurt.
Nuts. Nuts are high in protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B-12, and other nutrients. They are an excellent source of proteins, which can build muscle, bones, and skin; nuts are also a good source of essential fatty acids and several other nutrients that are important to good health. Nuts can be used as snacks or mixed in with cereal for a nice, healthy breakfast.
Beans. Beans provide many of the same nutrients as nuts and have additional benefits, such as fiber, iron, zinc, and several other nutrients that are important to good health. These legumes are high in both protein and fiber, although studies have suggested that eating too many beans may cause indigestion. They should not be added to a balanced diet, however, because their high fat and protein content can add to your calorie count. Also, beans tend to have a short shelf life when added to recipes, so you should plan to use them up quickly.
The foods described here are a starting point for a balanced diet. You can add or remove foods from this list as your nutritional needs change and your interest evolves. As you gain knowledge about nutrition and become more adventurous, you will find that you can include foods from other sources that are good for you, as well. You can make your own balanced diet by combining foods from different food groups and eliminating or replacing items that are not meeting your needs. You can also learn more about healthy eating by doing a little research online.