What is a Healthy Diet?
We all know that we should probably make healthier choices when it comes to food but do we really understand what it means to consume a healthy diet? Starving yourself to try and lose weight is certainly not the answer and neither are the diet plans that eliminate all carbohydrates or call for eating only fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet is a balanced diet which makes sure that your body is getting the calories it needs to function properly.
The total intake of calories that we need each day will vary from person to person. It depends on your size and how active you are but as a rule the typical man requires at least 2000 calories per day and the typical woman about 1500. If you exercise regularly you may need a little more and if you are trying to lose weight you can get by with a little less but do not drop below 1000. Now it is important to take a look at where those daily calories should be coming from. What types of foods should you be eating?
Believe it or not, one part of a healthy diet is fat. Despite what you may have heard it is not a good idea to completely eliminate fat from your diet. Each day 20-30% of the calories you consume should come from fatty foods. For the typical man this means about 50 grams of fat per day. Try to choose unsaturated fats which are the healthiest and stay away from saturated fat and trans fatty acids. All the information you need is contained on the food label. As a rule, fried foods should be avoided because they contain the dangerous saturated fat and trans fat. French fries, chicken wings and deep fried fish are examples of the types of fatty foods to completely avoid. A large fries from McDonald’s for instance contains 25 grams of fat while an order of chicken nuggets has 26.
It is also important to eat some carbohydrates as part of a healthy diet. Carbs provide instant fuel for the body and that is the reason that many marathon runners will eat a big bowl of pasta before a race. You want about 50% of your daily caloric intake to come from carbohydrates. The best type of carbs come from whole grain products and vegetables. Whole wheat pasta for example contains about 50 grams of carbohydrates per serving while a bowl of mixed vegetables contains 48 and both have very low fat content. If you workout regularly, you should be consuming at least 300 grams of carbs per day to provide fuel for your workout.
The rest of your daily calories should come from protein sources like meat and dairy products. When selecting meat go for the leanest cut and limit the red meat that you consume. Turkey and chicken are much healthier choices. Low fat milk is an excellent source of protein and important vitamins; combine it with frozen fruit to make a smoothie.