If the idea of an extreme diet is gradually out of our morals, we may want to rebalance food. Weight, health, energy… There are many reasons for wanting to adopt a balanced diet. But how to do it?
The Benefits Of A Balanced Diet
“For your health, eat five fruits and vegetables a day”. This message has been in our heads for years. Indeed, “the links between nutrition and health are better and better known, and the risk of developing many diseases – cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity or even type 2 diabetes – can be reduced by following national nutritional recommendations”, explains Inserm in particular. According to a study published in The Lancet in 2017, one in five deaths was linked to poor diet.
What Is The Composition Of A Balanced Meal?
Let’s go back to the basics: what does eating a balanced diet mean? This means that you will provide your body with nutrients in all food categories to avoid deficiencies. According to the High Council for Public Health, the critical benchmarks for a balanced diet are:
- Fruits and vegetables: at least five servings of 80 to 100 g per day, regardless of the preparation method (raw, cooked, fresh, frozen or canned). Limit consumption in the form of fruit juice and dried fruit.
- Nuts without added salt: a small handful per day for people with no allergy to these foods (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, etc.).
- Legumes: at least twice a week: lentils, broad beans, chickpeas, and dried beans… are excellent sources of fiber and protein, which can help limit meat intake.
- Cereal products: every day, favoring wholemeal or unrefined products (rice, wholemeal pasta or bread, etc.).
- Dairy products: 2 servings per day, one serving corresponding to 150 ml of milk, 125 g of yogurt or 30 g of cheese.
- Meat: favor poultry and limit the consumption of red meat (beef, pork, veal, mutton, goat, horse, wild boar, deer) to a maximum of 500 g per week.
- Fish and seafood: 2 servings per week, including oily fish (sardines, mackerel, tuna, salmon). Vary species and supply locations to limit exposure to contaminants.
Avoid industrial meals and ultra-processed products as much as possible. Choose homemade as much as possible to control the amounts of salt and sugar you consume. For fats, choose vegetable sources. And remember to stay hydrated! Water is your best ally for a balanced diet. Alcohol is, on the contrary, to be limited as much as possible.
Also Read: Sustainable Diet: 10 Green Tips
What Should Be The Biggest Meal Of The Day?
It is often said that breakfast should be the most important, then lunch, before finishing with a light dinner. In reality, it depends on the pace of life of each. Do you play sports? When? Are you hungry in the morning? Do you have a physical job that often means you come home hungry in the evening? Everyone adapts their food intake according to their needs, and the main thing is to balance their day well to avoid missing anything.
How To Eat A Balanced Lunch?
Running out of time for lunch doesn’t mean forgetting your balanced diet principles every lunchtime. If you are okay with eating the same thing two meals in a row, prepare slightly larger quantities in the evening, this will allow you to have your meal already the next day.
Another solution is to prepare your meals in advance. For example, on Sunday afternoon, the famous “meal prep” or “batch cooking” can be seen on social networks. And if you eat out, there are always more balanced options than others. We suspect it is better to order a grilled fish accompanied by potatoes and small vegetables rather than a steak and fries!
Morning, Noon, Evening: 3 Healthy And Quick Recipe Ideas
Start the day by hydrating yourself well with a large glass of water when you get out of bed before moving on to your hot drink (tea, coffee, herbal tea) without sugar. If you are rather sweet: porridge with vegetable milk, with its seasonal fruit topping and oilseed puree.
The advantage? You can prepare it the day before. For fans of savory breakfasts, why not let yourself be tempted by the famous avocado toast and its poached egg? Complex carbohydrates, proteins and good fats will give you fuel for the whole morning.
For lunch, simplicity and efficiency are often the keywords. Why don’t we revisit the traditional sandwich in a healthy version? Take two slices of wholemeal or grain bread (or a whole wheat wrap) that you can garnish with tuna or chicken with vegetables depending on the season and your tastes (spinach shoots, tomatoes, etc.).
You can accompany it with a portion of raw vegetables to be sure to eat your vegetables, for example, grated carrots with olive oil and lemon. For dessert, opt for a seasonal fruit or compote.
For A Snack
A fruit, a handful of almonds, or a slice of wholemeal bread with a bit of vegetable fat or oat bran yogurt will do the trick!
A small portion of protein on the menu (egg or fish) to accompany vegetables. If you are hungry, add a little starch, quinoa or brown rice, for example, with a drizzle of olive oil. Finish the meal with a fruit and dairy product. Enjoy your lunch!