If the words ‘balanced diet’ makes you want to roll your eyes, you’re not alone.
Some of us prefer the idea that a balanced diet simply means having a large bar of chocolate in each hand. But here’s the thing: If you want to lead a healthier, happier life – there are some choices you get to make, that make a difference.
One thing that can help you live life to the full, is to learn how to eat well and then make this way of eating a way of life.
Back in the real world, most of us prefer to eat what we like, whenever we want. But when what we like in large servings isn’t serving us well, it’s time to work out what might serve us better and give it a try!
Many of us have been taught some of the core principles of healthy eating, but most of us don’t consistently eat a balanced diet, because this can be hard. The uncomfortable truth is that most of us regularly eat and drink too many calories in general – and too many ‘empty’ calories in particular. We eat too much fat, sugar and salt and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre, to give us the fuel we need for life.
Why does eating a balanced diet matter?
To function at their best, our bodies need energy (calories) in the right amounts, and a range of essential nutrients and vitamins. We can get everything we need from eating a varied diet, combining foods drawn from five different food groups:
fruit and veg
dairy (and dairy alternatives)
non-dairy protein and
oils and spreads (in small amounts)
Eating well (at least most of the time!) is vital to achieving and maintaining good health and well-being.
We’re all about keeping it real and you don’t need to achieve this balance at every meal. However, getting a balance over a day, or even over a few days, can help.
Some of us also struggle with healthy portion sizes. Eating too much (of healthy or unhealthy food) is causing an obesity epidemic that contributes to causing lifestyle-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes, stroke, some cancers and Alzheimers. A poor diet can also weaken our bones, teeth and immune system, leaving us vulnerable to infection, lacking life and constantly tired and drained.
A healthy diet doesn’t just affect our bodies. Eating well is key to supporting our mental wellbeing too.
From helping our mood, improving our concentration, thoughts and performance, eating well can help us be at our best mentally as well as physically.
Putting the right combinations of healthy fuel in our bodies can help us feel good AND have the energy to do the things we want to do.
Of course, a healthy diet is no guarantee of good health and wellbeing – but combined with enough sleep and regular physical activity, it’s one way to give yourself every chance to live life to the full.*
*As always, it’s important to speak to your local GP before considering making changes to your diet.