It is important to eat a variety of foods and not restrict oneself to any one food group or eat too much of another.
Healthy Diet: The Foundation
Each day, for a healthy diet, you should consume:
- 6 to 8 servings of grains. This includes cereal, bread, pasta, rice and a minimum of 3 servings should be from whole grains. A serving of cereal is ½ (cooked) to 1 cup (ready-to-eat), while one serving of bread is one slice. A serving of pasta or rice is half a cup cooked. Donuts, muffins and croissants should be saved as an occasional treat.
- 4 to 6 servings of vegetables and 2 to 4 servings of fruit. Majority of vegetables and fruits are naturally low-fat, making them an excellent addition to your diet. Vegetables and fruits also provide the minerals, vitamins and fibre you need for peak performance of your body’s functions. Additionally, fruits and vegetables provide flavor to a healthy diet. They are best served cut up in salads, fresh or steamed. Make sure you leave out the calorie-full toppings such as mayonnaise and butter, except on occasion. A cooked or raw vegetable serving is about half a cup, while a serving of fruits is also half a cup.
- Milk, yoghurt and cheese: 2 to 3 servings. Dairy products should be chosen wisely. Opt for reduced-fat milk or fat free cheeses. Instead of sour cream, use yoghurt. A serving of dairy is 1 cup of yoghurt or milk, and 1.5 ounces of cheese.
- Poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dry beans and nuts – 2 to 3 servings. Bake or broil beef, pork, lamb, veal, fish or poultry for a healthy diet. The leanest cuts of meat contain the words “loin” or “round”. Trim all visible skin and fat visible before cooking, and season with fat-free marinades, spices or herbs. Lentils, peanut butter and dried beans provide protein without the cholesterol and animal fat found in meats.
- Frugal use of oils, fats and sweets. Even fats, oils and sweets should not be eliminated from any diet. Just use them in moderation.
Eat right and the correct amount
Your age, sex, body type and how active you are all determine how many calories you need per day. Overall, active children between the ages of 2 and 8 need 1,400 – 2,000 calories daily. Active teenage girls and women can eat approximately 2,200 calories per day without gaining weight. Very active teenage boys and men should eat around 3,000 calories daily in order to maintain their weight. For those who are not active, reduce your calorie intake by about 400 to 600 calories daily.
Listen to your body and stop eating when you feel comfortable but are not yet full.
An important part of good nutrition and a well-balanced diet is exercise.