How to Maintain a Well Balanced Diet
HOW TO MAINTAIN A WELL-BALANCED DIET
What you eat each day affects your health, that’s why following a balanced diet is key. A balanced diet is one which contains essential nutrients and fluid to keep the body healthy and functioning. It typically includes protein, carbs, good fat, vitamins and minerals and, of course, water.  A balanced diet should also be varied and enjoyable and doesn’t have to be hard! So as long as it’s in moderation, you can include your favourite treats! Here are some benefits of eating healthily and maintaining a well-balanced diet.
Benefits and importance of a balanced diet
You can’t spend a day without hearing about a new diet: keto diet, paleo diet, intermittent fasting and much more… With so much information, we won’t be surprised if you tell us you are confused. But taking care of your body through foods shouldn’t be rocket science; and there’s no surprise if we tell you that it’s important to follow a balanced diet. So why and how could you do it? We dive into the details for you!
1. Normal function of the immune system
Including food from all food groups in an adequate amount, including food high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, can help you to stay in good health. Foods such as fruits and vegetables contain fibres, vitamins and minerals. Nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, D or zinc or iron, contribute to the normal function of the immune system. Don’t miss out on them!
2. Have energy
Carbs from bread, pasta and rice are your allies. This is even more true if you are an athlete because when we work out, we use up our stores of glycogen to convert into energy, so our bodies can keep up with the training session . It’s important to replace these using post-workout foods like chocolate milk or chicken and rice. What’s more? Choosing whole grain sources of carbs will also bring you fibres.
3. Maintenance of muscle mass
Including protein-rich foods in your diet such as eggs, lean meat, dairy products and soy can help keep your muscles fit with the adequate physical exercises. Why? Because the amino acids in the protein begin protein synthesis which maintain and grow muscle mass. After a workout, topping up your snack with protein will help your muscles to recover.
On top of that, minerals such as calcium, which is found in dairy products and green leafy vegetables, are needed for the maintenance of teeth and bones.
How to maintain a well-balanced diet
Setting up healthy eating habits doesn’t have to be hard. Below we share with you some helpful tips for maintaining a well-balanced diet:
1. Plan ahead
We know you can sometimes have quite a hectic life, juggling sports and social life, being in a rush or short on time due to work, or family commitments. Try to plan your meals ahead, and if you can, make a batch of food that you can freeze till you’re ready to eat. Fresh, homemade chili, curries and soups are delicious and can be packed full of vegetables and proteins. What’s more satisfying than eating your own hand-made dish? For the dessert, try one of our delicious high protein YoPRO dessert sticks.
2. Fill your plate with vegetables
Vegetables are rich in nutrients like protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, so fill half of your plate with them at mealtimes. There is also such a large variety of them so that you can be sure to find some you like that will be tasty additions to any meal. Leafy greens, such as broccoli, kale, and spinach, are great options and they can be eaten raw or steamed  as snacks or at mealtimes. Next time you are walking down the veggie aisle, keep in mind the benefits these colorful foods will bring!
3. Limit your intake of added sugar and salt
There is salt and sugar in almost everything and it’s okay to indulge in your favorite sweet and savory treat once in a while. But it is recommended to moderate the quantities of added sugar and salt. Instead, try to eat some foods that naturally contain salt and sugars like fruit.
4. Drink lots of water
Staying hydrated is a quick and easy solution to help with a healthy and balanced diet. When we don’t drink enough water, we can become tired, dizzy and get muscle cramps. This is because we need water to transport nutrients around the body. Not sure how much you should drink?  The overall recommendation is around12.1L a day for women, and 2.6L a day for men. But this recommendation is not the same if you’re really active because you’ll sweat more and therefore will lose more water that you need to replace! 
5. Don’t deprive yourself of the food you love
Food shouldn’t be your enemy. As we said before, a balanced, healthy diet should be enjoyable too, and there is really no need to avoid any foods. Do you sometimes crave chocolate, or fancy some fried chicken? Then as long as you eat them in moderation, you can occasionally include them in your balanced diet.
6. Join forces
It can be hard to make a habit stick when you’re doing it alone. Join forces with a friend, partner, or family member to encourage each other to make healthier choices and stay accountable when the going gets tough!
7. Avoid breaks in your routine
A balanced healthy diet is most effective when it’s followed every day. If you feel you need to have days off, take a close look at your diet because you might be overly restrictive, or your body might be lacking in a nutrient, such as magnesium, which can cause cravings. If you can keep the routine of a balanced diet going, you’ll start to reap the benefits in no time!
The importance of exercise with a balanced diet
Having a balanced diet needs to be part of a healthy lifestyle for it to be most effective. This means including hydration, sleep, and exercise. We know you are crazy about sports and always looking for your next challenge so we’re sure you know that including exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle is super important! Indeed, physical activity is proven to be good for the heart, blood pressure and healthy body mass .
As we’re as passionate as you are about sport, we’re here to support you, whether you’re preparing your next race, or doing your best at HIIT.
Where to find information about nutrition
The best way to create and maintain a healthy, balanced diet is to expand your knowledge of nutrition. It’s important to check the labels on food. If you don’t know about an ingredient in the list, look it up and soon you’ll know more and more about nutrition! You can also research healthy food options on the internet but remember to check the source or article is credible and comes from a trained professional, such as a qualified dietitian or nutritionist, or is backed with scientific data. Make sure you stay informed about how to maintain a well-balanced diet. You got it, balance is a key element of success for anyone who wants to achieve a workout goal, whether it’s about building muscle mass or improving your athletic performance. So, don’t hesitate to integrate some of the above tips in your daily routine, for a more balanced diet!
Written by: Ashley Manning
Any medical advice and views expressed are those of the author; readers should obtain medical advice.
 Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medecine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance, 2016
 Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medecine: Nutritionand Athletic Performance, 2016
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