Do’s and Dont’s of a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Many people are surprised to learn that they can eat for better health. However, it is true. The type, amount, and preparation method of the foods you eat, plus when you eat them, can play a significant role in how well your body functions. Following these dos and don’t of healthy eating and a balanced diet will help you make health-supporting choices.
Do: Know Why Your Food Matters
You should understand the reasons why your meals matter, and there are several. First, food powers your body and gives you the energy your body needs to do things. Those things can range from playing a video game to running a marathon. The amount of energy provided by food is measured in calories.
The food you eat is also a substantial source of fluids necessary to avoid dehydration and keep body systems functioning at their best. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and 100% juices are excellent sources of fluids that provide fiber. Fiber is a crucial component of digestive health. It keeps things moving smoothly and supports a healthy gut microbiome.
Don’t: Skip Meals When You Are Hungry
Fasting is a popular way to lose weight and manage calories; however, it can deprive your body of vital nutrients. In addition to providing calories, the right foods also provide the nutrients you need to support your body systems. Unfortunately, you may not get enough of these when you opt to skip meals. Sometimes, taking a supplement may help you get the nutrients you need to support overall health.
If you go that route, be sure to look for products that are specifically formulated to provide targeted support. For example, several nutrients have been identified as immune-supportive, with zinc and vitamin C being among the most popular. Many people consume these in adequate amounts through a balanced diet, but fasting can limit intake. In addition, herbals, such as baker’s yeast and polysaccharide-rich mushroom extract, have a long history of use in traditional medicines and are other excellent ingredients to look for in zinc gluconate supplements.
Do: Eat the Rainbow
Bright, colorful plates of food tend to have more nutrients than bland-looking ones. Enter “eating the rainbow” — a popular expression that represents eating foods with various colors. While it applies to all age groups, it is especially appealing to children and can help teach healthy eating habits that stick.
Fresh fruits and veggies are excellent examples of bright foods packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Try to plan each meal with foods from several color groups. At the same time, limit how many foods you eat from the same or similar color ranges. For example, a plate of chicken, mashed potatoes, and cauliflower could be low in calories and health-supporting, but it won’t have the same nutrient profile as another plate with red beets, green broccoli, and orange salmon.
Don’t: Remove Whole Food Groups From Your Diet
This is another diet trend that needs careful attention. Unless you have a food allergy or ethical concern about food production, there are very few reasons to avoid entire food groups. Yet, millions of otherwise healthy people do it every year. The Ketogenic diet is a perfect example. It eliminates virtually all carbohydrates, even some that are good for overall health. What’s worse, they are often replaced with unhealthy high-fat foods, such as bacon and red meat.
Other examples are just as bad — or worse. For example, consider the cabbage soup diet or lemon water fasts. If you are considering a diet that severely restricts what you can and cannot eat, be sure to research possible complications. For most people, it is usually better to stick with a balanced plan.
A balanced diet can provide all the calories and nutrients your body needs to support overall health. Tips, such as limiting the number of meals you skip, trying to eat from different food groups and a wide range of colors, and using supplements when needed, offer straightforward advice to help you stay on track.