We commonly hear about how we should follow a balanced diet. What exactly does this mean?
Learn what the 6 food groups are:
- Grains/Cereals: bread, tortillas, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals, crackers
- Vegetables: fresh, frozen or juices
- Fruit: fresh, juices, or smoothies
- Dairy products: skim milk, fortified soy milk, yogurt, cheese
- Meats and meat substitutes: chicken, beef, pork, fish, eggs, lean ham, soy-based products
- Fats: vegetable oils, light mayonnaise, avocados, nuts, light
Use your imagination:
In no time at all you can prepare a meal, such as a sandwich or a salad, by using foods from all of the food groups to create a healthy, low-calorie, and well-balanced meal. Here are some examples:
Breakfast:Cook an egg with chili pepper and mushrooms, and accompany it with a smoothie. To make the smoothie all you need is 1 cup skim milk, ½ banana, ¼ cup oats and artificial sweetener, if desired. This breakfast has only 297 calories.
Lunch:Make a sandwich with 2 slices of whole grain bread or ½ of a pita pocket. Fill it with turkey ham in strips and add lettuce, tomato, alfalfa and 1/8 of an avocado. Serve it with a strawberry smoothie. Use skim milk and artificial sweetener. This very complete and well-balanced meal has only 340 calories.
Dinner:Make a chicken salad, by combining 1 cup fresh lettuce with 1 cup fresh spinach in a salad bowl. Add 1 diced tomato, ¼ cup grated carrot, ½ sliced apple and strips of grilled chicken. Make a dressing with plain yogurt, light mayonnaise and herbs and spices. Complement it with pita chips. This salad has only 250 calories.
Snacks:You can choose a granola bar, whole grain crackers, one serving of fruit, a fruit smoothie made with skim milk or water, low-fat yogurt, nuts, carrot and celery sticks, or a slice of lean meat with cheese.
From this example you can see that each meal has at least one ingredient from each food group. This is a simple way to follow a balanced diet. Remember, the goal is to provide your body with the proper energy (calories) and nutrients (vitamins and minerals) it needs to function properly.
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