Eating a balanced diet is very good for your body – it will help to keep you fit and healthy, it can greatly reduce the risk of various diseases and it will make you feel happier in yourself.
Why is healthy eating important?
Remember that food is fuel for your body. We all love eating and we love to taste certain different flavours, many of us love eating chocolate for example. However, it is important to remember that setting aside the enjoyment of food, it is a functional part of living. We eat food because our bodies need it to live and everything that we eat is ultimately converted into fuel by our body. For this reason, anything good that we eat will benefit us and anything bad that we eat will likely have a negative effect.
As the saying goes, everything in moderation, and this is true for our diet as well – some small amount of “bad foods” is generally ok for our body if it is counteracted by eating good food. And this is really what we mean when talking about a balanced diet – you don’t have to eat healthily all of the time but equally don’t eat unhealthy foods too often.
What is a balanced diet?
Our bodies need certain types of foods and so it is important that we eat certain food groups each day. As a rough guide, our bodies need these food groups each day –
- 38% starchy foods
- 40% fruit and vegetables
- 8% dairy (or alternatives to dairy)
- 12% non-dairy protein
- 1% oils and spreads
In addition to these groups most of us will consume a certain amount of sweets, chocolate for example, but these should be kept to a minimum as they don’t generally add any value to a balanced diet.
Each of these groups help our body in different ways and so having a balanced diet means trying to stick (roughly) to these percentages and generally having a mixed diet.
Just like it would not be good to live on chocolate, neither would it be good to live on any single food group. For example, if you only ate fruit then it probably wouldn’t be that good for your body either.
Other benefits of a balanced diet
Having a balanced diet is good for us and good for our body, but it has other benefits as well.
- Help you to feel energised
- Good for your body
- Generally, means you will have healthy teeth
- Keeps your mind healthy knowing that you are taking care of your body
Don’t be too religious with your diet
These tips are great for ensuring that you are eating a balanced diet, however its not good to be too strict when it comes to your diet. In fact some diets that make you maintain a set program without any leeway can be detrimental to your health and can put a big strain on your body. The important factors are variety and moderation.
So if you occasionally have a treat day and eat a few chocolate bars, that’s ok, as long as you make up for that by generally eating lots of fruit and vegetables and other healthy food groups.