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How to Find Balance in Your Food



Hello, everyone. Kaitlyn Franklin here, and I am excited to talk about all things balanced eating with you today. As Registered Dietitian I get asked all the time “what food should I eat” and “what food should I not eat”, so let’s talk about it.

 

Today’s blog is one of my favourite topics because we get to uncover what makes each food unique and how they can all fit into a balanced diet. Remember that balanced eating is a skill so why not take the opportunity to learn more about it.

 

Why does this matter? The literature suggests that when people overindulge in unhealthy food items on a regular basis, they can be at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancers and cardiovascular disease to list a few. This being said, there are many factors that can influence a diagnosis and a person’s food intake is just one part.

 

What is Balanced Eating

 

One of my favourite ways to explain balanced eating is when a person consumes a variety of foods from each food group at every meal. For example, consuming whole grains + protein + fruit and vegetables at each meal. Balanced eating can look different for everyone as there are many different food choices a person can pick from however, the goal is that each meal contains all the essential food groups (grain, protein, fruit and/or vegetables).

 

Whole Grains

  • Grains are the bodies preferred source of energy for fueling the brain and nervous system.

  • Whole grains are the recommended source of energy because they contain more fibre, protein vitamins and minerals than refined grains.

  • Examples of refined grains are white pasta, white flour and cream of wheat cereal. Refined grains and okay once and a while but it is recommended to mix in whole grains to increase the nutrients you are consuming.


Proteins

  • Proteins are made up of amino acids and are essential in every person’s diet.

  • Protein helps a person build and repair skin, muscles and other tissues.

  • Protein is found in a wide variety of foods such as plant and animal sources, some examples include, chicken, fish, turkey, beef, beans, peas, lentils nuts and seeds.


Fats

  • Fats are an important component of a balanced diet as they help to regulate hormones, provide a person with energy and absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

  • When choosing the type of fat sources, it is suggested to pick unsaturated sources such as canola oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil and peanut oil as they are heart healthy fat sources.


Fibre

  • Fibre is an essential component of a person’s diet and can be found in whole grain foods, vegetables and fruits.

  • Fibre helps to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce constipation, lower cholesterol levels, satisfy hunger and promote heart health.

  • Women need about 25g/day of fibre and men need 38g/day.


Balanced Meals Examples

 

Pineapple Ginger Chicken

  • Serve this meal with brown rice and a fresh green garden salad

 

Slow-Cooker Burrito bowls

  • This one is great for the busier nights

  • Serve this with a side salad, or a platter of raw vegetables

 

Chicken and Bean Quesadillas

  • This one is a great mix of plant-based protein and animal protein sources

  • Serve this one with your favourite vegetables on the side

 

 

Other ways of finding Balance in Food

 

  1. Practice mindful eating habits. This includes becoming aware of what you are doing when you are eating. Ask yourself, what am I focused on, what behaviour am I practicing, am I hungry or am I full.

  2. Enjoy your food. As discussed previously, food should be consumed in a variety however, it is your choice what you are consuming. Make sure you are consuming food you enjoy.

  3. Make mealtime social. When possible share a meal with a person or several people. Spending quality time together around a meal is a great way to connect with others.

 

Bottom Line

 

Consuming a balanced meal does not mean restricting certain food items from your daily intake but instead it means adding other foods into your meal to make it balanced. When a person uses the lens that all foods fit into a balanced diet it takes the negative pressure out of eating and instead gives a person flexibility to add in foods they enjoy. Next time you are cooking ask yourself, does my plate contain fruit/veggies plus protein plus grains plus fat source, if not add something in.

 

Please note there are always certain situations where these guidelines might not fit for you. Please reach out if you would like to explore this further.

 

If you are located in British Columbia Canada, and are wanting Registered Dietitian sessions click here to book:





 


 

 




Kaitlyn Franklin, RD, MACP

Registered Dietitian

Counselling Intern

Nourishing the Whole Person

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