Variety, Moderation and Balance

Posted on July 20, 2009. Filed under: Health & Wellness | Tags: , , , |

USDA Food Pyramid
Image via Wikipedia

Following the Food Guide Pyramid is a great way to ensure you are eating the right foods in the right amounts. The amount of food needed from each group depends on how much physical activity an individual takes part in everyday. The more active you are, the more fuel your body will need, and the opposite if you lead a sedentary life.

The food guide pyramid has 5 major groups: Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, Meat and Beans, and Dairy. Each group plays a vital role in our overall health, the way we feel day to day, and how much energy we have.

Choosing a variety of foods from each group is the first step. For example, while fruits and vegetables are very healthy, each kind offers a different combination of vitamins and minerals. So try not to choose the same fruits and vegetables every day…shake it up a bit!

The second step to eating healthy is to eat in moderation. Eating when our bodies do not really require food can easily lead to overeating, weight gain, and other health problems. Take a look at the size of the portion on your plate. Eating smaller portions and limiting processed and fast foods are great ways to eat in moderation.

Did you know that eating foods high in sugar and sodium as well as drinking alcoholic beverages can have negative affects on your body (and diet)?  These foods and beverages should be limited to less that 15% of your daily total calories. For example, the guideline has been set that individuals only need about ¼ teaspoon a day of salt, but a majority of us get 8 times that amount!

Eating a well balanced diet is also a key component to staying healthy. Much like variety, balance is choosing different foods from each group on a daily basis. Eating fewer calories than you burn throughout the day, increases your chance for weight loss. So, when you consume more calories than you burn, then it is possible to gain weight.

Successful dieting and weight management comes from eating a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups and balancing food intake with physical exercise.

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