The idea that we should have a balanced diet is a platitude, but it seldom comes with a full explanation of why such balance is important.
In addition, you might think that eating plans sound too rigid and restrictive – but they don’t have to be.
When you design a healthy eating plan that revolves around a balanced diet, you open the door to a healthier, happier life than ever before.
In this guide, we’ll explore the deeper importance of a balanced diet and healthy eating plan.
Beginning with a definition of a balanced diet and a discussion of how you stick to an eating plan, we’ll lay the groundwork for you to adopt a new approach to eating in your own life.
Next, we’ll outline six strategies you can use to stick to an eating plan once you have one, before closing with a quick rundown of how we can help you achieve your goals.
In brief, a balanced diet is one in which your body receives the right amount of all the different nutrients it needs to work optimally.
In contrast, if you don’t have a balanced diet, your body is always struggling to adjust to having too much or too little of something.
Whether you’re eating too much sugar and struggling to lose weight or you’re excessively consuming fiber until you have a stomach ache, you can’t possibly maximize well-being if your diet is out of balance.
The importance of healthy eating also goes beyond simply looking and feeling good in everyday life.
If you’re deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, your growth may be stunted and your cognitive functioning blunted.
Research even shows that those who don’t have a balanced diet are more likely to catch more infections, and more likely to develop serious complications when they do.
But how do you make sure you stick to a balanced diet?
The most effective and organized solution to monitoring your diet is to have an eating plan.
This involves carefully outlining absolutely everything that will go into your body, calorie by calorie.
You’ll ensure that each food group is appropriately represented, planning ahead so you always know what your next meals will be.
Other ways of approaching diet-monitoring include food journaling, which is essentially the opposite of an eating plan.
Rather, you write down exactly what you consume, then you assess it later – how did you feel at different points? When were you most productive? Can you see places where you need to adjust your approach to food?
This approach is compatible with all sorts of specific diets (e.g., volumetrics diet, Atkins), but it’s also suitable if you are designing your own plan.
Plans like the 5:2 diet teach us that it’s also very effective to cut down the amount of time we spend eating, setting a specific schedule for each day.
This might involve total consistency, or intermittent fasting to help bust bad habits – your schedule all depends on your unique goals.
Now that you have a solid sense of what a balanced diet involves and how a healthy eating plan can help, let’s turn to practical advice to help you boost your well-being.
We’ll provide you with a customized, balanced meal plan based on your specific needs – all for free.
This will help to instill good habits that last a lifetime, whether you’re trying to lose weight, aiming to stay healthy on a flexitarian diet, or hoping to get stronger.
One challenge, however, is setting the right goals for your healthy eating plan. Plus, once you have it, you need to know how to stick to it – and this is the most challenging part for many people.
Here are six eating healthy tips that promote consistency, good health, and a positive attitude toward food.
If you combine this advice with your structured, customized meal plan, there’s no reason why you can’t get into the best shape of your life.
Before you make any changes to your approach to eating, it’s vital to have a realistic vision of what’s about to happen.
For example, unrealistic expectations include believing that you can lose your desired amount of weight in just a few days, or that you can break the rules of your eating plan and still get the best results.
The truth is that a healthy eating plan only works if you commit to it and follow through with it for weeks at a time.
So, before you start practicing mindful eating, setting specific eating deadlines, or adopting any other techniques, ask yourself what you believe will happen throughout this process.
Examine your expectations for realism, and adjust if you need to.
There’s a popular, incorrect assumption that being on a healthy plan makes eating miserable.
In particular, you might think that tasty and healthy are mutually exclusive and that you must resign yourself to months of eating bland, tough food if you want to get fitter.
The good news is that no viable healthy eating plan requires you to commit to rejecting everything that tastes good!
Rather, your focus should be on a combination of tasty diet meals and reducing the portion sizes of any higher-calorie foods in your plan.
In the latter case, eating smaller portions to lose weight still allows you to have things you think are delicious.
It’s bad news for your healthy eating plan if you eat things you think are gross – you’ll only get bored and drop the plan!
Now, being on a low-fat diet does not have to mean forbidding yourself from having any “treat” foods. However, the fact of the matter is that the more junk food you have in your home, the harder it is to begin and stick to a healthy eating plan.
Chips, candy, and other high-calorie, low-nutrition food will simply be there, waiting for your will to weaken.
In contrast, if you make it hard for yourself to “fall off the wagon” of healthy eating, then you’ll have time to reason with yourself and get back on task.
Consequently, we suggest getting rid of as much junk as possible. Happily, high-protein diets have lots of tasty ingredients, including eggs, certain meats, and nuts.
A degree of flexibility is another vital aspect of your healthy eating plan. In other words, try to avoid “all or nothing” thinking, according to which any deviation from your plan means that there’s no longer any point in trying.
For example, say you stick to your plan for two weeks, then you go out with a friend and you share cake as a dessert because it’s her birthday.
Later, you might tell yourself that you’ve ruined the plan, and revert back to not caring about whether you have a balanced diet.
Try to be kinder to yourself, here – one deviation will not ruin your attempts to get healthy, and it’s also normal for people to be fallible. Just turn your attention to the next day, and how you’ll stick to your plan.
As the above advice suggests, it’s normal to swerve off the path laid out by your healthy eating plan every now and again.
However, you can reduce the frequency with which this happens by planning ahead.
For example, if you’re invited to a restaurant and you’re on a low-carb diet, check out the menu and pick out a low-carb option.
Then, when you arrive, go straight for that item and order it. You can also ensure there’s less room for you to eat unhealthy foods by having a few glasses of water before you go out.
One potential hurdle to succeeding with a healthy eating plan is boredom. If you stick to precisely the same schedule and same ingredients every single week, you’ll begin finding your meals so dull and unsatisfying that you’ll be tempted to veer away from the plan entirely.
Any time we get stuck in a routine that feels dull, we’re more likely to slip into bad habits. So what can you do to help yourself stay on task?
Our suggestion is that you constantly introduce new recipes and ingredients into your weekly food plan.
Of course, you likely have a busy life, and you can’t cook a brand new dish from scratch every night. But perhaps you can commit to experimenting with a new healthy recipe once a week.
This makes the whole process of healthy eating creative and challenging and helps to enhance your dinner party-throwing skills too.
Plus, if you change something about your meal plan every week, you keep mixing up the nutrients in your diet. This, as noted earlier, is key to boosting everything from immune system function to mood, heart health, and metabolism.
So, if you have the time and inclination to add something new, within the rules of the plan, always follow that urge!
Now that you understand how a healthy eating plan can transform your life, why not let us put together the ideal plan for you?
By giving us basic information about your dietary needs, your goals, your health, and your preferences, you provide us with all we need to create a customized set of meal plans that keep your diet balanced and healthy.
We’ve helped many people just like you boost their strength, lose stubborn weight, and get into the best shape of your life – we’d love to help you next.
Try out our calorie calculator below or click here to get a free healthy eating plan to adopt a new approach to eating in your own life.