What is a Balanced Diet and How Can You Maintain It?
What is a balanced diet? I think there can be a lot of confusion about what a balanced diet really is, and today I want to clear up any misunderstandings you might have. If this is what you think a balanced diet is, we have much to discuss. 😉
In all seriousness though, trying to eat more veggies can be a struggle. Let’s be honest, there are so many yummy foods that I’d rather eat. Nachos, hot dogs, ice cream… just to name a few. And it looks like I’m not the only one, because studies show that most Americans are choosing all those “tasty” foods rather than the fruits and vegetables that we need. After a while, all that junk food starts to mess with our body. Eating too much processed food is really, really bad for you. Pizza and burgers don’t give your body the nutrients it needs to function well, but it can thrive if you maintain a balanced diet.
At this point you’re probably wondering, “What is a balanced diet anyway?”
A balanced diet might sound like some scientific term, but in reality it’s nothing more than eating enough veggies, fruits, carbohydrates, and meats. Think back to your school years. Remember this chart?
Some of you might be cringing just thinking about what this means for you. No more ice cream, burgers, cakes, and all that stuff you love.
Hold up. That’s an extreme mentality which in the end will probably lead to binging or other bad habits. Just because you have a balanced diet doesn’t mean that you can’t have any of those foods you enjoy. A balanced diet simply means that the majority of your diet is whole, clean foods that keep your body healthy and well-functioning. If you are eating healthy food 80-90% of the time, then you can indulge in the treats you enjoy the other 10-20%. It’s all about balance.
Focus on nourishing your body and occasionally treating yourself, this is the key to long-lasting health. If we live in a constant state of deprivation, then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure. It’s unrealistic to say that you’ll never eat sweets again. Instead aim to enjoy a small treat once or twice a week rather than every day. In a nutshell, a balanced diet is simply consuming more healthy food than unhealthy food.
One of the best ways to have a balanced diet is to meal-prep. Meal-prepping is simply preparing foods for the week on the weekends. Make some snacks and meals on Sunday that you can have throughout the week. I love prepping healthy food for the week and packing it up in containers.
This makes it really convenient for taking your meals to work, school, or anywhere else you have to go. If there are healthy options on hand, then you’re more likely to make good choices. It’s a great way to stick to healthy eating because you don’t have to spend time cooking every day. Set yourself up for success by preparing healthy foods for each week.
Another great way to maintain a balanced diet is to eat more frequently. What? Yes. When you’re eating “clean,” you get to eat more food – just the right kind of food. Eating smaller meals more frequently keeps your metabolism revved up all day long- which means your burning off the food you consume much quicker. Also, by eating more frequently, you can incorporate a greater variety of the foods you need, such as: nuts, fruits, veggies, etc. In the long run, it is a super effective way to eat clean for good. If you’re interested in learning more about “eating clean” and maintaining a balanced diet, check out The Eat Clean Diet Recharged. It was the first “health” book I read and really got me excited about health/fitness and made it all seem so simple. I definitely recommend this book if you’re new to the concept of eating clean, or want to refresh yourself with the basics.
Make it Healthy
And finally, replace your “bad” meals with healthy alternatives. There are so many recipes out there that provide you with delicious replacements for the foods you love! Just because your craving cookies doesn’t mean you have to “cheat” and eat the store-bought kind. Be creative and whip up your very batch of cookies. My go-to source for healthy (but you don’t know it) treats is Chocolate Covered Katie.
Her recipes never disappoint and never leave me feeling guilty. If you’re like me and have a serious sweet-tooth, then you need to get her cookbook. It’s awesome.
Remember, don’t be restricted by food, but relish in experimenting with new flavors, trying new things, and make your healthy-living journey an adventure.