A healthy balanced diet is simply one that has a balanced mixture of all five of the major food groups, in appropriate proportions. The diagram on the left is not necessarily an accurate representation, but it does make evident the underlying premise upon which the concept of balanced is based. In this article, we’ll look at some of the types of a balanced diet.
The Classical American Balanced Diet
It is which had its roots in the Great Depression, had four major components: fruits and vegetables, cereals, legumes and whole grains, dairy products, meat, and fats. Nowadays, these foods are a bit less varied, with some foods being substituted for other kinds of carbohydrates, for example, whole-grain bread and pasta (these are called “gluten-free” or “wheat-free” bread and pasta), and oils and fats substituted for butter and other animal fats. The four food groups are still widely used, though you’ll usually see less of some of them on the table. Here’s a look at some of the other types of a balanced diet, to give you a sense of the broad range of foods that you can eat.
A Healthy Mediterranean Diet
It is made up of a lot of fruits and vegetables, some legumes and whole grains, and mostly red wine or olive oil, with little or no dairy products and very limited amounts of red meats or other animal fats. The typical Mediterranean diet includes a wide range of colors, mostly red and orange, with black and green as the most common shades. The diet is high in soluble fiber, which may help lower cholesterol, and potassium, both of which may lower blood pressure. It’s also a very healthy diet for heart disease, since eating too many fat increases the risk of heart disease. Also, it’s very good for weight loss.
There’s a whole lot of debate about whether or not tofu is good for you. On the one hand, some people claim that it’s completely healthy since it contains all 10 amino acids; others say it’s a complete meat substitute since it contains more than half of what a burger and fries have. To make matters worse, milk, cheese, eggs, and soy products make up a surprisingly large percentage of the tofu diet. Many vegetarians and vegan advocates have embraced tofu, arguing that it’s a healthier alternative to meat. Others point out that plant-based foods such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, and so forth contain all or part of the protein necessary to meet a healthy daily requirement; whereas meat has only a small percentage.
Oily foods are a real staple of a balanced diet, especially flaxseed, peanuts, walnuts, and seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds. You can eat a wide variety of nuts and seeds, and they’re good for you in many ways. Walnuts, for example, are high in almonds and bran, which are important for healthy brain function. Eating walnuts with lemon or lime juice can be an effective way to counteract the harmful effects of saturated fats found in fast food, junk food, and other packaged foods. Some fruits, such as oranges and bananas, are also rich sources of fiber and antioxidants, which can benefit your body in many ways.
Rich in Fiber
The types of foods that you should include in your balanced diet plan are those rich in fiber, which help to cleanse the colon and improve health overall. Fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, fruits, and whole grains are all excellent choices. It’s important to choose foods from each food group to ensure a balanced diet. For instance, you need to eat lots of fiber-rich vegetables if you’re trying to lose weight. In addition, eat at least six servings of fruits and vegetables each day to keep your intake of unhealthy calories low. Always talk to a nutrition professional to get the best advice regarding healthy eating.
Fried foods are often high in fat and low in nutritional value, so it’s important to eliminate them from your balanced diet. Fried foods are often high in sodium and can contribute to health problems over time. Instead, eat plenty of fish, chicken, eggs, and other meats that are high in protein without the fat. In addition, many salad dressings, such as mayonnaise and ranch, are loaded with unhealthy fats that should be avoided.
Remember that maintaining a healthy balanced diet doesn’t mean you have to give up favorite foods. Just make healthier choices. For example, instead of drinking full-fat milk, choose low-fat or skim versions. And for foods high in cholesterol, such as fried foods and fatty snacks, choose foods low in saturated fat and high in fiber to help lower your cholesterol.