Posts tagged with "Balanced Diet"

Health image by Nicole Salazar for use by 360 Magazine

A Guide to Fresh Foods and Diet Balancing Without Feeling Guilty

When it comes to dieting, you may dread it because you think it involves omitting your favorite foods. The good news is a balanced diet can include many of your favorite foods. Here is a guide to fresh foods and balancing your diet without feeling guilty.

What Is a Balanced Diet?

A healthy and balanced diet includes foods from all food groups, such as:

  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Starchy foods.
  • Dairy.
  • Protein.
  • Fat.

Fruits and Vegetables

Your diet should include a daily serving of fruits and vegetables. You need to consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. These foods are essential diet components because they provide your body with important minerals and vitamins. Fruits and vegetables help prevent disease, helps with digestion, and lowers cholesterol. The foods in the fruits and vegetables food group are low in fat and help with satiety, feeling full.

What Counts as One Portion of Vegetables and Fruits?

  • Half an avocado or grapefruit
  • One slice of a large fruit (pineapple, melon)
  • Two plums (or similar sized fruit)
  • A dessert bowl filled with salad
  • One pear, apple, or banana

Keep in mind canned, dried, and frozen fruits and vegetables also count towards your daily serving for this food group.

Starchy Foods

Starchy foods include bread, potatoes, pasta, and rice. This food group should account for one-third of the food groups you eat. Starchy foods are an essential source of fiber and energy. These starchy foods also provide ample amounts of vitamins, calcium, and iron. Avoid adding extra fat sources to these foods by not using spreads, butter, jam, oil, or cheese.
A good diet technique to practice is to base most of your meals around high-starch foods. Consider starting your day with a whole grain breakfast cereal and having a sandwich made on whole grain bread for lunch. Your dinner can include rice or potatoes with your meal.

Protein

The protein food group contains many foods, including fresh seafood.

Pulses

Pulses include beans, lentils, and peas. These foods are naturally low in fat and a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Pulses are great additions to soups, sauces, and casseroles because they provide additional flavor and texture to your meals. Other sources of vegetable protein include Quorn, tofu, mycoprotein and bean curd.

Fish

Fish is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. You should try consuming at least two portions of fish weekly. One portion of fish should be oil rich, and the other portion should be tinned, frozen or fresh fish. Oil-rich fish includes mackerel and salmon that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids promote heart health and are a great source of vitamins A and D.
You also have the option of white fish and shellfish. Skate, haddock, hake, plaice, cod, and coley are white fish that are low in fat and contain different vitamins and minerals. These fish are healthy meat alternatives. When you’re buying fish tinned in brine or smoked fish, check the high salt content label.
Marlin, shark, and swordfish are other protein options. You should not consume more than one portion of this type of fish per week because it contains mercury, a toxin that can cause liver and kidney damage, among other adverse health effects. You can prepare fish by baking, steaming, grilling, and frying it, but fried fish is the option that contains more fat.

Eggs

Eggs are a part of a balanced diet because they are a great source of vitamins, protein, and minerals. Although there are no limitations on the number of eggs you can consume, avoid adding unhealthy fats, such as oil and butter. Eggs are the healthiest when they are boiled, scrambled or poached. If you prefer frying your eggs, use vegetable, olive or rapeseed oil.

Meat

Meat is an excellent source of B12, a vitamin that is solely found in food from animals. Meats are also a good source of vitamins, proteins and minerals. You have the option of red or processed meats. Red meat includes venison, beef, pork and lamb. Processed meats include salami, sausages, burgers, ham, bacon, and other cured meats. Consuming an excessive amount of red or processed meats increases your risk of developing bowel cancer.
You should limit your meat consumption, red or processed, to 70 grams per day (about two slices of roast meat or equal to two sausages). Consuming ample amounts of meat that is high in saturated fats increases your risk of developing heart disease, having a stroke, and increases your blood cholesterol levels.

Fat

The fat food group includes oils and spreads. Many fats in diets are essential, such as those found in olive oil, vegetable oil, and rapeseed oil. These oils contain unsaturated fats, which help reduce your risk of developing heart disease and lower cholesterol.
Some foods contain unhealthy fats, such as cakes, full-sugar soft drinks, biscuits and snacks, such as chips and snack cakes.

Hydration

Hydrating yourself with water is excellent for your overall health and well-being. Drinking water flushes toxins from your system and improves every aspect of your body’s functions.
When you’re dieting, consider each of the five food groups to ensure you’re maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Following the food pyramid will help you understand your food needs, and you will not feel guilty about many of the foods you consume daily.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Sun

Vitamin D

Magnesium is a mineral that is important to our health because it plays several roles in keeping us healthy, including helping with bone heath, heart rhythm and regulating blood pressure. The RDA for magnesium is 400-420 mg/day. Lots of foods contain magnesium, but in smaller amounts. To get a full day’s worth of the recommended amount of magnesium, you could eat 2 ounces of dry roasted almonds, one cup of boiled spinach, 1 cup of soymilk,2 ounces of dry roasted cashews AND 1 cup of black beans.

In comparison, Vitamin D is important to our health in a variety of ways. It helps calcium and phosphorus to be absorbed from the gut. This is important for bone health. Vitamin D is harder to get from food because not as many foods contain it naturally. However, many food products are fortified with Vitamin D. The RDA is 15-20 micrograms/day. You can get that from 4 oz of rainbow trout, OR 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil OR 1 cup of white mushrooms.

You need vitamin D in order for proper immune system functioning. Having a deficiency leaves you immune compromised. Studies show that adults, especially in Northern climates, are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency. This is in part because there is less sunlight in those regions. It is also important to note that Magnesium is needed to help our bodies make vitamin D from sunlight; it also helps to transport vitamin D in supplement from into the body to be used in cells. 

It might be necessary to take a vitamin D supplement if you aren’t getting enough in your diet (which can be tricky since fewer foods contain it). When choosing a supplement, it is best to opt for one that contains Vitamin D 3. There are lots of options for supplements, and if you aren’t a fan of swallowing pills, you could use a gummy, like vitafusion gummies, or a sublingual, like frunutta, which contains no fillers or additives, and dissolves right under your tongue.

Nicole Avena, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Visiting Professor of Health Psychology at Princeton University. She is the author of several books, including Why Diets Fail, and What to Eat When You’re Pregnant. 

Raising Children to Eat Greens

Getting children to eat their greens? Both parents need to set an example

A positive example set by both the mother and the father promotes the consumption of vegetables, fruit and berries among 3–5-year-old children, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. The study explored the association of the home food environment and parental influence with the consumption of vegetables among kindergarten-aged children. The findings were published in Food Quality and Preference.

Children eat inadequate amounts of vegetables, fruit and berries across Europe and elsewhere, too. As the health and nutrition benefits of these foods are well-known, increasing their consumption among children is a challenge many countries are struggling with. Dietary habits also track from childhood to adulthood, and the period of early childhood is critical for adapting to a diet rich in greens.

The researchers studied the consumption of vegetables, fruit and berries, and the family’s home food environment, through a survey taken by parents. The study looked at 114 kindergarten-aged children and their parents (100) in Finland. Raw and cooked vegetables and fruit and berries were analysed separately.

The researchers found that to a certain degree, the consumption of vegetables is affected by different factors than the consumption of fruit and berries. Maternal example was associated with the consumption of raw and cooked vegetables as well as with the consumption of fruit and berries. Paternal example, on the other hand, was the strongest for cooked vegetables.

“This shows that teaching children to eat their greens is not something mothers should be doing alone. A positive example set by both parents is important, as is their encouragement of the child,” Researcher and Nutritionist Kaisa Kähkönen from the University of Eastern Finland says.

The study also showed that dinner is the most important meal at home when it comes to teaching children to eat vegetables. The families participating in the study often ate dinner together, highlighting the role of parental influence on the development of children’s dietary choices and preferences.

Dinner constitutes a daily opportunity to serve vegetables in a variety of different forms: as the main course, as a side dish, and as salad.

“Variation can be created by serving raw vegetables, such as the ever-popular cucumber and tomato, accompanied by cooked ones. In fact, many root vegetables, cabbages and squashes are best served cooked,”
Kähkönen says.

When it comes to eating fruit, evening snacks were the most important meal.

The study shows that many families still eat less vegetables, fruit and berries on average than would be beneficial in view of health promotion. Cooked vegetables and berries were the least eaten food items among the study population.

The Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland studies how food education in early childhood can support good nutrition among children and promote the establishment of healthy dietary habits.

The newly published study was carried out in collaboration between researchers from the Universities of Eastern Finland, Jyväskylä and Turku. The study was funded by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Fund.