good nutrition, healthy diet
Good nutrition means eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to fuel your body with what it needs

Good nutrition means eating a balanced and healthy diet. It’s important to make sure you are getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body needs to function properly.

Plan your meals so that they are nutrient-dense and low in calories:

  • Eat a varied diet that includes plenty of whole grain products, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Drink more water and other calorie-free beverages, along with fat-free or low-fat milk and 100% fruit juices.
  • Include seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans,  peas, nuts, and seeds in your diet.
  • Reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats, sugars, and salt.
  • Limit your consumption of oils, butter, and margarine to:
    • 5-6 teaspoons a day for women
    • 6-7 teaspoons a day for men
  • Foods are the most nutrient-dense when they are fresh, so try to eat fresh foods as often as possible.

What should a healthy diet consist of?

Typically, a balanced diet should consist of the following:

  • Protein: Fish, chicken, red meat, dairy products, eggs, nuts, and beans.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes.
  • Healthy fats: Fatty fish (such as cod), avocados, flaxseed, nuts, and oils.
  • Vitamins: Foods that contain vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K such as leafy greens and citrus fruits.
  • Minerals: Calcium, potassium, zinc, folate, magnesium, and iron which can be found in legumes, dairy, and various fruits.
  • Water: Essential for hydration, calorie control, skin and muscle health, and kidney and bowel function.

Each person has a different set of nutritional requirements depending on their age, gender, level of physical activity, overall health, and lifestyle. Work with a dietician to determine nutrients you will benefit from in higher amounts. You may be eating plenty of healthy foods, but your body may not be getting the right amounts of certain nutrients.

Why is good nutrition so important?

Most people know that good nutrition and physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight. However, the benefits of good nutrition go beyond weight. Good nutrition can help:

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When and how much should you eat for good nutrition?

It’s important to try to eat at the same time every day. Follow this general schedule for your meals:

  • Breakfast at 8:00 a.m.
  • Lunch at noon
  • Healthy snack at 3:00 p.m.
  • Light dinner at 6:30 p.m.

When serving yourself a meal, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and split the other half between whole grains and lean protein. 

If you’re trying to lose weight, your daily calorie burn must be higher than your daily calorie intake, so determine how many calories you should get per day and stick to that budget. Balance a high-calorie food or meal with a low-calorie food for the next meal or next day. 

Also, make sure that you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day as part of your nutritional diet. Water is a major nutritional component that regulates body temperature, lubricates your joints, and protects your major organs and tissues. It also aids in transporting oxygen throughout your body. 

Myplate.gov is a government-owned site that can help you with your personalized diet planning as per your age and food preferences.

What is an example of a nutritious diet?

The Mediterranean diet is considered good because benefits include:

The Mediterranean diet consists of:

  • Olive oil rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fish (at least a couple of times a week)
  • Chicken
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Herbs and spices
  • Occasional eggs, red meat, and a glass of wine
  • Cheese and yogurt in moderation

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Medically Reviewed on 7/9/2021
References
Healthy diet: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet#

Good nutrition: https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/good-nutrition

Mediterranean Diet Repeats as Best Overall of 2020: https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20200102/mediterranean-diet-repeats-as-best-overall-of-2020#

Nutrition Basics: https://www.eatgathergo.org/eat/planning/nutrition-basics/