How to have a balanced diet?
The “secret” is the combination of a well-executed diet plan with regular physical activity.
Everyone is aware of the great value of choosing a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet for the health of the body. This is why the interest in proper nutrition has been growing consistently in recent times.
Nutritionists claim that the “secret” of a balanced diet is the combination of a properly executed food plan with physical activity.
Foods are commonly divided into groups, based on nutrient content. This results in the grouping of vegetables, bakery and cereal products, fruit and meat foods. Each food, belonging to one of these groups, provides us with unique nutritional elements. That is why it is very important to include a combination of foods from each group in our daily intake. Moderate amounts of each food should be consumed, except for vegetables, which can be consumed without limit (except potatoes or corn). Dividing foods into smaller and more frequent servings and including intermediate snacks between main meals contributes to maintaining diversity in the diet. The consumption of preferred products is the key to maintaining a healthy diet. For this reason, it is permitted to include occasional small “rewards” (chocolate, alcohol).
Bread, cereals, rice, pasta
These foods contribute to the daily intake of carbohydrates. Similarly, brown rice, oats, pasta and wholemeal baked goods are high in fibre, vitamin B and minerals. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends eating this food category four times a day. Portions should be equivalent: two slices of bread/one bowl of rice, pasta/one and a quarter bowls of cereal or half a bowl of muesli, as preferred.
Greens, vegetables and fruit
Incorporating a variety of greens such as cabbage, spinach or broccoli into the daily diet, as well as colourful vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, courgettes or tomatoes, provides additional fibre and vitamins A and C.
Nutritionists recommend five portions a day. A portion should be made up of a bowl of salad, half a bowl of vegetables and a potato, as preferred. Fruit, eaten fresh or preserved or iced, at least twice a day is rich in fibre and vitamin C, which is why it should be consumed every day. Fruit juice and dried fruit also contribute, in a smaller way, to the daily fruit intake suggested to each of us. A portion of fruit will include: a medium-sized apple / an orange / a banana / or two other smaller fruits. Another portion could be a bowl of dried fruit, four slices of candied fruit or 125 ml of fruit juice. Each individual has the choice to eat their favourite fruit.
Meat, fish, chicken, eggs, vegetables
This group includes the following foods: red meat, fish, chicken, vegetables and eggs. They provide the recommended daily amount of protein, vitamin B12, zinc and iron, so it is very crucial to include them in the daily diet. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends at least one meal a day that contains one of these foods. It is important to eat red meat three or four times a week and fish twice in the same period. You can choose between: 85 grams of beef, lamb or chicken / 100 grams of fish / two eggs.
Milk, yoghurt, cheese
These products contain protein, calcium, riboflavins and vitamin B12. It is advised to consume them twice a day and choose the lighter alternatives. A portion may include: a glass of milk (250 ml) / 40 grams of cheese, / 200 grams of low-fat yoghurt. Do not eat more than two teaspoons of oil or margarine.