Most people know that to stay healthy we
should eat a balanced diet. But what, exactly, is ‘balanced’? Three
squares a day do the trick for most people.
healthy diet is rich in plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and
whole grains, and low in fat and sugar. One easy way to try and follow
this diet is to follow the Food Guide Pyramid from the U.S. Department
of Agriculture. According the Pyramid, your daily diet should include:
- Two to three servings from the milk, yogurt, and cheese group (one cup of milk or one cup of yogurt would be one serving).
to three servings from the meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and
nuts group (one serving would be two eggs, ½ cup of tuna fish, or about
1/2 of a skinless, cooked chicken breast).
- Two to four
servings from the fruit group (one serving would be a medium-sized
apple or banana, 1/2 cup of canned fruit, or 1/4 cup of dried fruit).
to five servings from the vegetable group (one serving would be 1/2 cup
of raw or cooked vegetables or one cup of raw, leafy vegetables, such
as spinach or lettuce).
- Six to 11 servings from the bread,
cereal, rice, and pasta group (one serving would be 1/2 bagel or
English muffin, one slice of bread, or 1/2 cup of pasta).
- Fats, oils, and sweets sparingly.
sounds easy, but most people eat a fair amount of prepared food. Keep
in mind that the less processed or prepared the food (or the more
‘whole’ the food), generally the better it is for you.
you do eat soups, prepared dinners, etc. get into the habit of reading
the food labels. This will tell you how many calories and how much
salt, fat, and cholesterol the packaged foods contain by portion, or
serving size. Ingredients listings are also fun to read: find out what
is in your food, and you can always do some homework to find out why
it’s put there.