A balanced diet and good nutrition are important to lower the risk of health problems and ensure healthy growth and development.
What does a balanced diet consist of?
- A healthy, balanced diet will consist of fruits and vegetables, protein foods, and whole grain foods.
- Vegetables and fruits, whether fresh, frozen, or canned, have a variety of important nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, and minerals that may minimize risk of heart disease.
- Plant-based protein, such as tofu, beans, and lentils, contain more fibre and less saturated fat than animal-based protein such as eggs, meat, and chicken.
- Unlike refined grains, whole grain foods are healthier as they contain all parts of the grain and have more fibre which may lower your chances of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
What food items should I avoid?
- Fruit juice is high in sugar. Substitute it for fresh fruit whenever you can.
- Most sugary and alcoholic drinks, as well as vegetable juices, can be high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat.
- Processed food items are typically unhealthy. Pizza, for example, is made with heavily refined dough and is high in calories.
- White bread is low in fibre and essential nutrients and can increase your blood sugar. Only consume in moderation.
- Most breakfast cereals are high in added sugar and contain grains that are processed. Choose cereals that are high in fibre and low in added sugars.
Tips on eating healthier foods:
- Use bagged vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, and lettuce or fresh fruits such as pears and strawberries that you can quickly toss in a salad.
- Have fresh fruits with no added sugar for dessert.
- Plan on having meatless meals during the week. Substitute beans, lentils, hummus, and tofu for meat and poultry.
- Have oatmeal with your choice of whole grains for breakfast. Add chia seeds for protein.