The key to a healthy diet is balance. Whether it’s overall nutrients or serving sizes, maintaining a well-balanced diet is key to helping you feel better, stay healthy and avoid diseases caused by poor diet.
So, what makes up a balanced diet? According to Healthline, a balanced diet is described as “one that gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly,” while also including a healthy combination of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and lean proteins. By simply filling half of your daily plate with fruits and vegetables, and the other half with proteins and grains, you’re allowing for more accurate serving sizes and a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals.
Another key factor of a balanced diet is portion size. Ensuring that you eat a healthy portion of foods is important to maintaining a healthy weight, and ultimately a healthy lifestyle. Correct serving sizes vary by age, gender and activity level, but typically equate to around 2,000 calories a day. If you want to see the full breakdown of suggested caloric intake, check out this table.
While the benefits of nutrition and portion control are the most common topics of discussion when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, rarely do we look at the consequences of not adhering to a healthy way of eating. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Unhealthy diet contributes to approximately 678,000 deaths each year in the U.S.” Not only that, but an unhealthy diet can also result in other negative health outcomes such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke and certain types of cancer.
Combining nutrition and portion strategies can be tricky. To help, we created a guide to help you understand how to better balance your meal and control your servings.
- The plate portion: As we mentioned earlier, following the plate portion is a good way to ensure that you are getting your daily amount of vitamins and nutrients. Split your plate into fourths and fill each section up with a healthy serving of fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins.
- Use smaller plates: Did you know that the size of our plates and glasses can unconsciously influence how much we eat/drink? Typically, we fill our plates and glasses up until they are full, no matter how big or small they are. If you struggle with portion control, try swapping your plates, bowls and cups for smaller sizes to ensure smaller serving sizes.
- Be aware of restaurant portions: It’s no surprise that restaurants serve meals in large portions. In fact, about 96% of chain restaurants portion sizes fell outside of the USDA’s recommendations for nutrient intake. Next time you go to a restaurant, ask for a half or lunch portion, order an appetizer as a meal, split an entree, or eat half of your meal and take the rest home to eat as leftovers.
- Start each meal with a glass of water: Did you know that dehydration can often be masked as hunger? Before each meal, trying drinking a glass of water to reduce hunger and control your portion sizes.
For additional information on improving your portion control and achieving a well-balanced diet, visit our website or give us a call at 615-384-2411.