What is a Balanced Diet?
Part 1: Fruits & Vegetables
- Eat a wide variety of different colored, non–starchy vegetables. Vegetables get their color from the nutrients they contain (e.g., vitamins and phytochemicals). A different color means a different nutrient profile and, in turn, confers different health benefits.
- Remember, all vegetables contain carbohydrates. You may have heard the terms “starchy” and “non–starchy” vegetables. These titles simply refer to a type of carbohydrate found in certain vegetables, called starch. Starch is digested quicker than other types of carbohydrates, such as fiber. Because quickly digested carbohydrates can cause our blood sugar to spike and drop quicker than other carbohydrates (again, like fiber), try favoring non–starchy vegetables (i.e., carrots, cucumbers, greens) when possible and reducing your portion size of starchy vegetables (i.e., potatoes, corn, peas) at meals.
- Eat a variety of fruit and don’t worry about the sugar. Yes, fruits naturally contain sugar, however they also contain a lot of other nutrients that are critical for health. Moreover, fruit naturally contains a high amount of fiber, which helps regulate sugar absorption and maintain blood sugar levels. In contrast, fruit juices (even 100% fruit juice) have a high amount of sugar per volume with very little to no fiber (because it was all removed through the juicing process), which causes major spikes in blood sugar. Strive to eat whole fruit rather than drinking fruit juice.