Understanding a balanced diet

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According to Eric Rimm, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, “We want people to use [The Healthy Eating Plate] as a mode, for their own healthy plate or that of their children every time they sit down to a meal.” (Graphic/Emily Anderson)

Although maintaining a healthy diet is important for optimal health, determining and knowing what to eat remains a challenge for many people. With so much hype around nutrition and diets, it can be a little hard to determine what you should be eating to stay healthy.

Here’s some tips on how you can make sure you are eating a balanced diet without stressing about if you’re doing it correctly:

Make the majority of your meals contain fruits and vegetables (½ of your plate)
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “Choose My Plate,” any fruit, vegetable or 100% juice derived from a fruit or vegetable counts as a member of the fruit and vegetable group. Fruits and vegetables can be raw, cooked, frozen, canned, dried or dehydrated. Harvard Health also recommends aiming for variety in the color and type of vegetables you eat. 

Eat your whole grains (¼ of your plate)
Any food made from wheat, rice, cornmeal, barley or other grain is a grain product. However, Harvard Health recommends that you ingest whole and intact grains, which include whole wheat, barley, wheat berries, quinoa, and brown rice.

Protein (¼ of your plate)
Some healthy protein options include fish, poultry, beans and nuts. However, both the USDA and Harvard Health recommend that you limit your intake of red and processed meat (like bacon or sausage). 

Friendly oils from friendly plants
Harvard Health recommends that all oils, with the exception of hydrogenated oils, should be eaten in moderation, but if you want to use oils plant oils are the way to go. 

Hydration Station
You should drink around two liters of water a day. Sugary drinks should be saved for occasions and milk and dairy products should be limited to one or two servings per day.

As a junior at Heritage, Emily is trying to face high school as best as she can. At school, Emily can be found playing violin in the orchestra, attempting to recruit members into Dead Poets Society, and frantically sprinting from the 9000 to get to her class on the other side of campus. Outside of school, Emily enjoys writing poetry, repeatedly watching the same movies, and partially succeeding in her goal of reading five books a week.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this article because it helps me to visualize what a healthy plate should look like. Great job! ❤️

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