From Paleo, to low-carb, to vegan – there are a whole lot of diets out there that promise to improve your health and help you to lose weight quickly. While there is no denying that these strict diets work for some people, the truth is that when it comes to improving your health and losing weight, you can’t go past a good old fashioned balanced diet.
“Cutting through the myriad of diet plans and faddish eating regimes, the human body needs a balanced, healthy eating plan to keep functioning properly,” BBC Science reports. Not only will a balanced diet help you to slim down by cutting out the foods that you don’t need, but it provides your body with the vital nutrients that it needs to fight illness and disease. “Eating a variety of foods can also reduce the risk of getting conditions including heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis.”
So what does a balanced meal actually look like? According to nutritionist Shereen Lehman (MS), a balanced meal is one that incorporates protein, fibre, complex carbohydrates and a little bit of good fat. When it comes to dinner, Lehman says that the golden rule is to simply divide you plate into four sections and focus on filling each section with something from the different food groups. “One-quarter is for your meat or protein source, one-quarter is for a starch, and the last two-quarters are for green and colourful vegetables or a green salad,” Lehman wrote on Very Well.
When planning your meals, focus on ensuring that you have these ratios correct and chances are you will almost automatically produce a meal that is not only good for you, but filling enough to satisfy you. To ensure that you are not adding unnecessary calories to your meal, try cooking with a healthy oil and avoid fatty or highly processed red meats such as bacon and sausages. If you are choosing bread or pasta as your carbohydrate source, make sure that is 100 percent wholegrain, as this will help to keep you fuller and more energised for longer.
And remember – the best ‘diet’ is always one that is sustainable and good for your body, so focus on making food that you enjoy as this will help you to reach your weight-loss goals a whole lot faster (are more enjoyably!) than painful crash dieting.