I don’t know about you, but when I first thought about including a balanced healthy diet into my daily routine, I thought I would have to count calories, track everything I ate, and memorize every ingredient along with the nutrition facts of the foods I ate throughout the day.
Who has time for that?
I know I don’t and I am sure you have better things to do with your time too.
Fortunately for you, I’ve actually found a simpler way to include a balanced healthy diet into your daily routine that will save you both time and frustration.
K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple Stupid
You ever go grocery shopping and glance at some of the food labels? Sometimes, you’ll see what looks like an entire page of text compressed in very fine print of the ingredient list. When you look at an ingredient list like that, do you really think it’s healthy?
Which brings me to my first tip to identifying healthier foods for a balanced diet. As a general rule, you want to look at the ingredients list and only see a handful of items listed. The fewer ingredients in an item the better in most cases. By choosing food with fewer ingredients, you have less of a chance to encounter artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and preservatives. If your food product passes this test then it is most likely real food.
To make it even more simple, you should stock up on fresh whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, meats, spices, and herbs to make your own dishes instead of relying on pre-packaged food. By doing so you can weed out a lot of junk that is already in your diet.
Eat Less and Feel More Full
By applying the K.I.S.S. principle to your food buying decisions you can eat less food and feel more full. The reason behind this is because your body’s hunger trigger is of a direct response to requiring nutrients and not to simply fill an empty stomach. Most people don’t get this. This is why you may have grabbed a quick snack with no nutritional value to curb your hunger.
By not giving your body what it needs which are macro nutrients, you will always get more hunger pains throughout the day. Macro nutrients are protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The feeling of hunger is the direct result of your body asking for more macro nutrients.
You ever notice if you eat junk food you get hungry quicker than if you ate something healthy? Once your body realizes that the food you ate has no nutritional content you’re going to have your stomach to deal with again.
A good balanced diet ratio of macro nutrients is dependent on a variety of factors. The two biggest factors are your body type and your goals. For the sake of simplicity here are some general guidelines I like to follow that will apply to you:
Notice that there’s a spread between each macro nutrient. This means you don’t need to be exact. You just need to make sure you’re in the right ballpark for each macro nutrient range.
Keep in mind these percentages are where calories should come from in your diet. This means for instance, for losing weight 10-30% of your daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates, 40-50% from protein, and 30-40% from fat. Each macro nutrient has a different amount of calories for each gram of that macro nutrient. Fat contains 9 calories per gram, whereas carbs and protein contain 4 calories per gram.
Not all Macro Nutrients are Created Equal
When it comes to macro nutrients, it helps immensely to know what quality they are. I will show you some quick ways to identify high quality macro nutrients.
So hold off on trying to get your daily carbohydrate intake from a bag of Oreos and read this list below:
- Good – Poly and Mono unsaturated fats are essential fats your body needs. Foods that are high in good fats are nuts, nut butters, olive oil, and fish.
- Bad – Saturated and Trans fats are non-essential “junk fats” that contribute to obesity, heart disease, and a variety of other problems. Foods that are high bad fats are fried foods, dairy, and partially/fully hydrogenated vegetable oils that are used in many junk food items found in grocery stores.
- Good – Complex carbohydrates are essential high quality carbs rich in fiber which helps you feel fuller on less food and for a longer period of time. Foods high in complex carbs are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
- Bad – Most simple carbohydrates are also known as “empty calories” as they have no nutritional content and do a very poor job filling you up. Foods high in “empty” carbs are high sugary foods like cookies, cakes, and candy. They can also be found in white pastas, white breads, cereals, and soda. Some simple carbs like potatoes, white rice, etc. are good to eat when your glycogen stores are depleted which is usually after a workout. Whole foods that contain simple carbs provide a quick burst of fuel to recharge your muscles. However, eating these foods when you don’t need them will spike your insulin levels and be stored as fat.
- Good – Complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids. For a healthy balanced diet it is important to focus on eating complete proteins. Foods high in complete protein are all types of meat including fish, eggs, yogurt, and milk.
- Bad – Incomplete protein is not really classified as a bad protein, it is just lower quality protein. An incomplete protein only contains some of the 9 essential amino acids or all 9 essential amino acids in unbalanced proportions and therefore your diet should not depend upon these foods to be a majority of your daily intake of protein unless you combine certain foods to make them complete. (vegans and vegetarians must do this) Foods high in incomplete proteins are grains, nuts, beans, seeds, and corn.
You’re on Your Way to a Balanced Healthy Diet
By understanding some of the main principles of what makes a food healthy you can create a healthy balanced diet almost on autopilot without focusing on all those small details you thought were needed to eat right.
Do you have another way you’d like to share on how you eat a balanced healthy diet each day? Comment Below!