The Pegan diet combines the best of paleo and vegan. It focuses on whole plant foods, less meat and only grass fed, wild caught fish. It avoids the problems of factory farmed meat such as elevated cholesterol, inflammation and nutrient deficiencies like vitamin B12, iron and zinc.
A balanced diet is vital for maintaining good mental and physical health, optimal weight and fitness, and assuring you feel your best.
“Finding a way of eating that is nutritious and sustainable not only promotes health but can be reassuring in meeting lifestyle goals as well,” says Kate Zeratsky, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
While well-rounded meal choices are often the focus of a balanced diet, healthy snack options are important, too. “Including vegetables and fruits as snacks can help improve one’s diet and allow for more options at mealtime,” says Zeratsky.
But wanting to achieve a balanced diet and doing so aren’t the same thing. Experts weigh in on what a balanced diet is and where to begin.
nutrients required to help one’s body grow and develop, build immunity against infection and disease and remain healthy.
Alice Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Team at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, says a balanced diet is “rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, products made with whole grains rather than refined grains, beans and nuts, low-fat and fat-free in place of full-fat dairy items, and mostly plant sources of proteins.” She says such eating will help with “meeting essential vitamin and mineral requirements for most individuals,” and can be adapted for individual needs.
ultra-processed food and to prepare as much food as possible at home,” advises Lichtenstein. Examples of processed foods include frozen meals, fast food, flavored yogurt, soda, and most items that are packaged in a factory such as cookies, chips and candy.
supplements.” That is, of course, unless one has nutrient deficiencies and supplementation has been advised by a physician. Additional vitamin and mineral supplementation might also be desired for other benefits, but usually shouldn’t replace the natural source of the nutrient.
This is Your Brain on Food,” says one rule of thumb she follows is to “remember to eat the rainbow.” This means a diet “rich in colorful veggies and berries to make sure you’re getting plenty of mental health supporting polyphenols, vitamins and minerals,” she says.
She adds that it’s also important to choose healthy foods that one enjoys and will consistently want to eat so healthy eating “becomes a lifestyle rather than a ‘diet.'”
Zeratsky offers similar advice and says it’s OK not to eat every food group in every meal. “Aim to include at least two to three of the food groups each meal,” she suggests. “This allows for variety and preference and can be helpful in planning while also being realistic for those who might be feeling the challenges of time, budget, and striving to put a more nutritious meal together.”
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