How to Eat Well for a Balanced Diet

A proper diet doesn’t require suffering! Check out these tips on how to balance good carbs, protein and good fats for balanced, healthy nutrition that allows you to enjoy your food.

| October 2015

A colossal cheat sheet for women in their 20s and mid-30s, The Girl’s Guide (Workman Publishing, 2015) by Melissa Kirsch is an indispensable resource for finding your way in the world. Kirsch offers fresh insights into issues new and old, from friendship and romance to work and play. The following excerpt on creating a well-balanced diet was taken from the chapter “Health and Body Image.”

Eat This Up: A Healthy Diet That’s a Cinch

We all know how important it is that we eat well. The problem is that so many of us eat unconsciously, grabbing food on the run without thinking about how we truly are what we eat.

Start now by making a balanced diet your priority. You don’t want too much or too little of any one type of food—you need protein, but you also need nutrients from whole grains and calcium from dairy products and vegetables. Think of the old saying, “Everything in moderation,” and let it guide your eating habits.

Nutrition is actually about nurturing yourself—so let’s not forget how pleasurable eating is. We’ve all had stupendous meals that rival great sex (and a few so-so meals that totally trounce bad sex, but that’s another conversation).

Good Eats: Foods You Should Have Lots Of

First things first. We’ve got three main food categories: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. We need all of them in balanced proportions. The 40/30/30 approach is favored by many scientists—that means you eat 40 percent of your diet in carbohydrates, 30 percent in protein, and 30 percent in fat. You don’t need to measure it out by the ounce—it’s a pretty equal split, with an emphasis on carbohydrates. So let’s unpack the grocery cart.

Carbohydrates have been wrongly vilified over recent years. They provide the body with its main source of energy, allowing proteins to be used for the body-building functions for which they’re intended. The best place to get carbohydrates is by way of whole grains. Whole grains are grains that aren’t processed, so their nutrients are still intact. Whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and oatmeal. The usefulness of whole grains has been widely recognized in the food industry—today you’ll find bread and pasta made of them, as well as bulk bins of these grains at both the big grocery stores and the little health food boutiques. You can also get carbohydrates from vegetables, beans, and fruit. The grains in white bread and processed cereals are not considered whole because they’ve been processed within a millimeter of their lives.

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