What do we mean by balanced diet? And why is it so beneficial to our wellbeing? Well, a balanced diet is one that consists of a good variety of food that gives us all the nutrients we need to function properly. Obviously, if we only ever ate one type of food we’d end up with potentially multiple vitamin deficiencies, and no one wants that. It’s all basically the idea behind getting your ‘five a day’ of fruit and or veg.
That’s all well and good, but how do you know if you’re eating the right stuff at the right time – and how much? Well, we’re not health professionals here at Graham’s but we do know a thing or two about healthy eating (given that we make a lot of healthy products!).
It’s all about you
The first thing to point out would be that the definition of what a balanced should consist of is different for men and women. This is mainly based on calorie intake given that men generally need more calories than women. Calories are essential for giving us the energy to do things like walk, breathe, pump blood around our bodies… even thinking uses calories. The amount of nutrition you need will also depend on how old you are, your size and even your race. You’ll be able to easily find a table that references how much of the various food groups you should aim for each day with a quick google. The thing to remember though, is that most reference intake tables are guidelines, not a hard and fast set of rules for you in particular.
The most important meal of the day
Breakfast is a great time to get in some protein, for both men and women. Food like eggs, or salmon are both very high in protein will help wake your metabolism up and get it working hard through the day ahead. This basically means that you’ll feel fuller for longer and be less likely to give in to temptation when the sugary snacks are being passed around. Dairy is a fantastic source of protein and often a lot more convenient than whipping up some scrambled eggs or a smoked salmon bagel in the morning. That’s especially true of our Protein 40 milk – low in fat and high in protein it’s the perfect addition to a balanced start to the day. If you’re a mid-morning snack sort of person, something with a decent protein content (like a pack of nuts and seeds) will serve you well in the same way.
Our top tip for a healthy, balanced lunch is to ditch those starchy carbs. Things like sandwiches and wraps might be convenient in that they’re quick to throw together but they can often end up costing you time. You might not think about white bread as sugary but take a look at the pack next time you’re in the supermarket – there’s more than you think. This sugar content can cause a spike in blood sugar that quickly depletes, leaving you with that typical mid-afternoon slump. It’s at this point that your plans for an afternoon of productivity can go out the window! So our advice for lunch is to opt out of the starchy carbs – if you don’t fancy ditching the bread then maybe try using wholegrain instead.
When it comes to your evening meal, carbs aren’t such a dirty word. Neither are fats (well, ‘good’ fats aren’t anyway). Healthy carbs that you might like to indulge in after a hard day’s work might be things like beans, wholegrains, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, nuts and seeds. All easily added to a huge range of dishes. Essential fats, like those that you find in oily fish, are great for healthy skin and hair. Plus, with fish, there’s the added bonus of getting in some more of that all-important lean protein too.
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