You could start with a chocolate bar in one hand and a MacD in the other. Unfortunately, some people would actually think that’s the truth. Seriously, though, figuring out how to maintain a balanced diet is a struggle for those who rely too much on processed foods. But what is a balanced diet anyway?

A balanced diet means you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep healthy, happy, energetic, fit and well. And in my mind that ought to be from ‘food’. Good food natural food. The definition of a balanced diet is one that consists of the right amounts of carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals.

Balancing act

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So let’s take a look and see exactly what that means. There are several layers to this equation. To my mind the first being that whatever you ingest should be natural, in other words foods that grow and don’t have any preservatives or additives to them.

The amounts of sugar and salt added to processed or ‘convenience food is frightening. Just take a look at the ingredients list on any supermarket shelf. So anything that’s processed is not going to be much good. If it’s in its natural state then you can be assured it’s going to be better for you.

We are so lucky these days that there is such a variety of foods available to us, and because people travel and we live in such cosmopolitan societies the choice that we have is amazing. So let’s take a look at some of them starting with, what else, Vitamin A.

Found in cheese, eggs, yoghurt, Vitamin A helps maintain a healthy immune system and looks after your vision and skin. You can also get Vitamin A in sweet potatoes, beef, liver, spinach, fish and milk So you can already see that your diet is balanced just with vitamin A!

Foods packed with nutrients

What you will find that often a food will have more than one nutrient in it. Take eggs for example. Eggs have vitamin A and also the B vitamins as calcium, Vitamin D, magnesium. Wow all that from one little egg.

Let’s look at spinach. Oh my. You name it and I think spinach has it. As well as vitamin A, B12, copper, magnesium, omega 3, protein, vitamin C, B2 and B6 and E. and other minerals as well. No wonder Popeye ate so much of it!

It really is very simple maintaining a balanced diet because as you can see if you’re eating good food that’s natural you’re going to be getting all the nutrients you could possibly want and need. Citrus fruits have masses of vitamin C, as do all the summer berries and strawberries of course.

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Yoghurt has calcium and a perfect balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats is easily digested and as part of your balanced diet is an ideal food. These days we are so lucky because if you’re one of the many people who is lactose intolerant you can always choose an alternative such as soy milk. However if you have a milk allergy then of course soy is not your substitute.

Drinking goat, sheep, or buffalo milk will not help your symptoms either because these also contain lactose. But there are some delicious alternatives. Almond milk for instance which is one of my favourites (I don’t particularly like cow’s milk but love almond milk) and there are others as well all definitely worth a try for a different sort of taste but I think much nicer.

And the good thing about these ‘milks’ is that they are full of vitamins and minerals. Almonds for instance have B2, fibre, Vitamin E as well as whole slew of minerals as well. If you want calcium in your diet then vegetables high in calcium include spinach, broccoli, and certain greens like kale.

Healthy proteins and fats

Fish and shellfish are important in maintaining a balanced diet.  High protein but low fat, full of Omega 3 which is great as ‘brain food’ and helps with memory. That’s probably the reason they say it helps in the fight against Dementia and Alzheimers. Other good sources of Omega 3 are walnuts and flaxseed oil.

And talking of oils, here’s my favourite, coconut oil. What this one isn’t good for isn’t worth mentioning. Personally I love coconut oil. It’s the only one I think that doesn’t burn when cooking and gives a very different flavour to most oils. Used in cooking it aids weight loss because it’s said that it burns more fat and it may lower your risk to heart disease. It’s great as a body moisturizer and has been known to get rid of spots. You can also use it as a sunscreen and if you use it as a conditioner it’s great for your hair as well.

Avocados offer nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving, including potassium (which helps control blood pressure), lutein (which is good for your eyes), and folate (which is crucial for cell repair and during pregnancy). Avocados are a good source of B vitamins, which help you fight off disease and infection.

They also give you vitamins C and E, plus natural plant chemicals that may help prevent cancer. Avocados are low in sugar. And they contain fibre, which helps you feel full longer. In one study, people who added a fresh avocado half to their lunch were less interested in eating during the next three hours so another good reason to adding them to your diet.

So you can see that maintaining a balanced diet is very simple and with all those delicious foods to choose from you’ll never get bored either. Only one thing left to say –Enjoy.

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