Our monthly mantra ‘I am Balanced,’ encourages us to reflect on the balance in our lives, and this includes our diets. What exactly does it mean to eat a ‘Balanced Diet’? It is impossible to describe in a nutshell – a truly balanced diet is completely individualized. From vegan to paleo, different nutrition regimes will suit different lifestyles and different genetic backgrounds. However, there are 3 basic principles which can be applied in order to promote balanced eating, as follows:
1) Occasionally, most people will reach for a convenience food that is less than healthy (I’m looking at you, jar of pasta sauce). Eat healthy and fresh 85% of the time and convenience and/or ‘treats’ the other 15%. Unless you have a health condition that prevents eating a certain food, a little indulgence is good for the soul, and that is part of a balanced life.
2) Read food labels. If you can’t recreate that food in your own kitchen, then it probably lies in the ‘15%’ category. Tip: every 4g of sugar on a label counts as one sugar cube.
3) If half of your plate contains fresh or lightly cooked vegetables in a rainbow of colors (with a couple pieces of fruit per day too), you are on the right track to balanced eating. Tip: a palm-sized piece of quality protein is ideally taken with each main meal to promote immune function, repair, and hormone balance.
The above ideas are extremely generalized and simplified. The advice of a registered nutrition consultant can provide a more individualized approach to healthy eating.
Anna Cott NC is a nutrition consultant whose lifelong passion for health and wellness evolved into a BSc (hons.) Nutritional Science and a Naturopathic Nutrition Dip. Anna loves to find creative ways to feed her family healthily, despite the business of life.