THE IMPORTANCE OF DIET
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by one person or other organism. A balanced diet is one that gives the nutrients to your body that it needs to function correctly. To get the proper nutrition from your diet you should consume the majority of your daily calories in:
- Fresh Fruits
- Fresh Vegetables
- Whole Grains
- Lean Proteins
You want to eat a diet with the right number of calories, lots of good foods, and a whole lot of less of foods that are bad for you.
How Many Calories Do You Need?
On an average, an adult will need somewhere around 2000 to 2500 calories per day to maintain his/her weight. The number of calories that you need depends on your natural size, muscle mass, activity level, age and gender. There are calories table and calculators that help you to identify the right amount of calories needed. But, keep in mind these are just estimates, since you may have differences in your metabolism, you may need a few or more than what the calculator shows.
Why A Balanced Diet Is Important?
A Balanced diet is important because your organs and tissues need the proper nutrition to work effectively. Without good nutrition, your body is prone to disease, infection, fatigue and poor performance. Children with poor diet run the risk of growth and developmental problems. Poor academic performance, and bad eating habits will continue for the rest of their lives.
Choose the Right Foods
Once you know how many calories you need, your next step is to choose foods that will offer lots of good nutrition for the calories you take in. For example, at snack time you can either choose to eat a chocolate coated donut for 100 calories or a cup full of cherries for about 85 calories. Although, there is only 15 calorie difference between the two, the cherries make the better choice for a healthy diet. The cherries are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and very low in fat. The Chocolate donut on the other hand has a very little nutritional value and a lot of unhealthy fats and sugars for a small treat. In general, healthy foods are foods that are not covered in sauces, not baked into desserts, not deep fried, heavily refined, or processed, By this we mean:
- An apple is healthy; a piece of an apple pie is not.
- A piece of broiled chicken is better than a greasy fried chicken.
- Chicken is low in saturated fats than red meat
- Whole grain bread and cereals offer more fibre than white, redefined bread and cereals
- Whole grain plain breakfast cereals are a better choice than sugar frosted breakfast cereals
Eating a healthy, balanced diet also means eating a variety of foods. Choose foods from each of the food groups to make sure that you are getting all the nutrients that you need. And pick healthy foods, not junk foods.
More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide many vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre. You probably need 2 or 3 cups of or more, of vegetables per day, plus some fruit. It’s difficult to imagine being healthy without eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. We recommend:
- ½ cup of sweet corn
- 1 fresh piece of fruit of your choice
- ½ cup of fruit cocktail
- 1 small baked potato
- Carbohydrate, Fat and Protein Balance
A healthy diet should consist of the correct ratios of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. If you eat all of the recommended servings of each food group and no more or no less, you should get your required amounts of nutrients without consuming too many calories.
What Not to Eat
Unless you have certain health issues (speak to your doctor) you don’t need to omit every kind of junk foods. Keep these foods as occasional treats:
- Excess sugar- candies, desserts, and sugary soft drinks
- Excess fats- junk foods, fatty meats, fried foods
- Excess calories- sugary foods, heavy sauces, and gravies
- Excess sodium- heavily processed foods, pre-packaged meals, most canned soups, and vegetables
Don’t Skip Meals
Whether you prefer three big meals per day or three smaller meals and a couple of snacks, make it a habit to eat regularly. A common misconception among patients is that skipping meals might seem a good technique of losing weight, but it can backfire when you feel like you’re starving later in that day, causing you to scarf down even more calories than required.
If you have questions about diet or feel that you need to lose weight or change your eating habits, schedule an appointment with our doctor or dietitian here at South City Hospital. They can suggest dietary changes that will help you get the nutrition you need while promoting the overall health.