Tips for Achieving a Nutritionally Balanced Diet Every Day
Compiled by Nutritionist Susie Burrell
Getting your daily balance right
When it comes to good nutrition, balance is the key to success – ensuring you are receiving the right nutrients, at the right time, in the right amounts. Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done when you start to consider carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins arrghhhh, it is all just too confusing. So, in order to make things easier, here is a simple guide to help you achieve nutrient balance, as easily as possible.
1) Get enough vegies –
The simplest rule of nutrition thumb is to eat more vegetables. Vegies including leafy greens, our reds and orange vegetables and salad vegetables contain plenty of essential nutrients but very few calories. For this reason, simply aiming for 2 cups of vegies or salad at both lunch and dinner is the first step towards nutritional balance.
How much do we need – at least 2-3 cups of different coloured vegies every single day.
2) Get your carb balance right
Carbohydrate rich foods including bread, rice, cereal, pasta, fruit, starchy vegetables including potato, sweet potato and corn and sugars are the primary source of fuel for the muscle. For this reason, the more active you are, the more carbohydrate rich foods you are likely to need in your diet. On the other hand, if you lifestyle is reasonably sedentary, you are likely to need far less. As a simple rule of thumb, aiming to include just 1-2 ½ cup serves of carbohydrate rich foods at each of your meals. Another trick is to check your nutrition labels and look for carbohydrate rich foods that contain <20g of total carbs per serve, as is the case with Helga’s Lower Carb Bread which contains 20g total carbs per 2 slices.
How much do we need – 80-200g total carbs per day depending on age and activity levels or 20-45g per meal.
3) Add in the protein
Human beings require just 0.75-1g of protein per kg, which is easily achieved via a couple of serves of dairy food, fish, meat or chicken along with some nuts, grains and seeds. The benefit of adding protein rich foods to each of your meals and snacks is that protein rich foods are not only nutrient rich, but the addition of protein helps to regulate insulin levels, which in turn helps with weight control long term. Examples of carbohydrate protein balance include cheese and crackers, tuna on Helga’s Lower Crab bread or a handful of trail mix with dried fruit, seeds and nuts.
How much do we need – 60-100g protein per day or 20-30g for meals and 5-10g for snacks.
4) Check your good fats
While a certain amount of good fat is required for optimal cell health and for a number of metabolic functions in the body, it still only equates to just 3-4 serves of ‘good fats’ each day to get what we need. In food terms this is as little as ¼ avocado, a handful of nuts, a teaspoon or two of oil and some oil fish, so no need to demolish an entire bag of nuts!
How much do we need – 40-60g of largely good fats per day.