Establishing a balanced diet is a common health goal you can work towards. It’s also one of the easiest since you have the ability to make small changes in your everyday meal choices. Discover the key components of a healthy diet and what you can do to build this foundation of health.
When you look at your plate, does it look plain? How many colours do you see? It’s important to have as many colours as possible on your plate to fill in the gaps in nutrition that each portion has. Eat the rainbow of plants that nature provides – that way you can get a number of different phytonutrients from all of them. For example, blueberries are very rich in anthocyanes, which is a strong antioxidant, and it is found in that nice blue, red or purple pigment found in berries. Whereas, dark leafy greens provide a lot of minerals and vitamins, such as magnesium found in the chlorophyll of plants, which aren’t found in the same concentrations in berries.
Do you have some sort of protein on your plate? You need it to help your body produce the vital things used to function, like receptors and enzymes. Do you notice you have an energy crash in the afternoon? Protein also helps you maintain your energy throughout the day. If your breakfast and lunch don’t include protein, add some in. You’ll notice that you’ll experience these crashes less often.
Lastly, fats are very important in terms of energy and satiety. There are several fat receptors in your stomach; if you’re able to bind all of them to fat molecules – from healthy fats – you’re telling your body that you have had enough food. You won’t want to eat any more and feel full longer. Fats also give you the building blocks needed to make the cellular membranes in your body, as well as its hormones. Just make sure you’re eating healthy fats, such as olive oil, nuts, coconut oil, fish oil, etc.
This foundation is an awesome start in working towards your health goals, but if you have other underlying conditions, this is a good first step.
Adapted from a blog post by Dr. Charmagne Sia Lu, B.Sc. ND, Naturopathic Doctor