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Balance is providing appropriate amount of calories, nutrients, and (don’t forget) enjoyment from our meals. In a balanced diet, there are no perfect days, no foods are omitted, and you don’t have to starve yourself. It may simply be that you’ve been eating too many starchy foods and too little fat. This may have stimulated your appetite and caused you to consume more than your body needs. Or vice versa, it may be that you are consuming too many fats and too little fruits and vegetables which can cause you to have a high calorie level with a fairly small intake of food. Perhaps you’ve been eating right balance but with too large of portion sizes. These are kinds of things that throw us off balance and cause us to consume more calories than we utilize for energy.
Let’s take an example
Unbalanced Day Breakfast: skip (too busy) Large latte Snack: chips from vending machine Lunch: (restaurant) hamburger and large French fries Dinner: 8 oz steak and 2 cups mashed potatoes Dessert: large bowl of ice-cream (1-2 cups)
Meal Makeover Breakfast: bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, 1 cup low fat milk Snack: apple, 1 oz peanuts Lunch: (restaurant) turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with a bowl vegetable soup Dinner: 3 oz steak (size of a deck of cards), 1 cup mashed potatoes, and a large salad w/1 TB vinaigrette dressing Dessert: small bowl of frozen yogurt or sorbet (1/2- 1 cup)
The original meals were heavy in high fat foods, large in portion sizes, (beef, French fries, chips, and ice-cream) and low in fiber. The balance was off. By making these changes we saved approximately 800 calories while still enjoying steak, mashed potatoes, and dessert! Not to mention you get to eat more when you incorporate more plant based foods since they are much lower in calories. We also improved nutrient content by adding more fiber/vitamins/minerals/and antioxidants with increased fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
So, stop fad diets and start balancing your meals for lifelong weight loss!
© Meri Raffetto, 2004
Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian and a recognized professional in the area of nutrition and wellness. She has developed online weight management programs to help people get off of diets and get into way of life. For more information or to sign up for our free newsletter, visit www.reallivingnutrition.com.