Healthy lifestyles balanced diet is a plan to provide the body with high quality fuel. I eat to live, not live to eat” has been a favorite slogan throughout my life. The balanced diet does just that. It balances variety, nutrients, calories, and quantity to efficiently fuel body activity.
Well Balanced Diet for Healthy Lifestyles. The goal of the well balanced diet is not to remove any foods. The goal is to eat correct portions from all food groups to sustain health.
The New York Times definition is perfect. For them the balanced diet is, “getting the right types and amounts of foods and drinks to supply nutrition and energy for maintaining body cells, tissues, and organs; and for supporting normal growth and development.”
In contrast, the unbalanced diet causes poor function throughout the body. These malfunctions include problems with body tissues, proper growth, the brain and associated nervous system, and normal body development.
Food Groups for Healthy Lifestyles
Food Groups chart courtesy of the N.Y. Times. Healthy lifestyles place priority in health related issues and activities. However, the six food source groups below are important for anyone interested in high function and longevity. They are:
- Milk and Dairy Group – high in saturated fats, but an important source for calcium for strong teeth & bones
Grain Group (breads & cereals) – whole grain breads, cereals, rolls, bagels, and pasta. Should be 33% of daily consumption
- Vegetables Group – Collards & other greens, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, green beans, squash, radishes, spinach, dark lettuce, 100% vegetable juice, etc.
- Fruits Group – Avocados, berries, bananas, peaches, pineapples, apples, dates, grapefruit, grapes, 100 fruit juice, etc. Together with vegetables should be 33% of daily consumption
- Protein Group (meats, beans, peas) – legumes (lentils, beans, split peas, and peas), meats (beef, poultry, pork, game, shellfish, and fish), nuts (pecans, peanuts, almonds, peanut butter, hazelnuts), seeds (sunflower seeds), Tofu and other soy products
- Oils Group – mayonnaise; vegetable, seed, & nut oils
Planning the Diet for Healthy Lifestyles
Planning diets for healthy lifestyles is an individualized task. You must know specific information about yourself. Everyone is unique.
The dietary calorie (kilo calorie) is the unit of energy needed to burn a gram of fat. It takes approximately 3500 calories to burn 1 pound of fat. Food is often expressed in calories also, i.e. 1 ea. avocado 1 cup sliced = 234 calories.
Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) is important as well. The BMR is the amount of calories your body uses to conduct normal bodily functions (breathing, walking, sitting, reading, eating, etc.) daily.
The normal range of the average person’s BMR is 1600 – 2600 cal/day. The more physical the activity the body does, the more calories of energy will be required.
BMR and activity calorie calculators are available on line. They can assist in establishing your BMR. They ‘re handy for calculating the amount of food needed to meet BMR requirements. In addition estimates of calories burned during high demand activities can be calculated as well.
More Information to Consider
An agency in the Government of the United Kingdom called the Food Standards Agency is like our FDA. They’ve established eight tips for maintaining a healthy balanced diet. They recommend:
- Base meals on more complex carbohydrates
- Increase fish consumption
- Eat 6 gr. of salt/ day maximum
- Never skip breakfast
- Stay active and monitor weight
- Eat an abundance of fresh fruits & vegetables
- Reduce saturated fat and sugar consumption
- Drink plenty of water
In the U.S the Department of Health & Human Services and USDA recommended fewer calories and more responsible food choices. Specific points include:
- Slowly decreasing the amount of calories consumed while increasing calories burned through exercise
- Follow a “balanced diet low in saturated fats and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and salt
- Avoid fatty acids as found in donuts, cookies, crackers, processed foods, and margarine
- Cut salt intake to less than 2300 mg. / day
- Limit cholesterol to 300 mg/ day
- Become more active
- And the list goes on.
Healthy Lifestyles are Pivotal
Weight management and health issues have sparked an international concern of epic proportions. Governments are finally making the connection between a country’s ability to compete and the health of its citizens. The solution is clear. Citizens of the world will have to adopt healthy lifestyles. Only the fittest will succeed in this high technology world.