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YOUNG PEOPLE ASK

How Can I Have a Balanced Diet?

You probably know that an unbalanced diet can damage your health. Unhealthy youths often become unhealthy adults, so it’s good for you to develop healthy eating habits now.

 What is a balanced diet?

The Bible tells us to be “moderate in habits,” and that includes our eating habits. (1 Timothy 3:11) With this principle in mind, it’s good to know that . . .

  • A balanced diet includes all food groups. The five food groups include dairy products, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Some people eliminate one or more food groups from their diet, thinking that doing so will help them lose weight. But that approach can deprive your body of the very nutrients it needs.

    Try this: Do research or consult your doctor to learn about the benefits of the various substances found in foods. For example:

    Carbohydrates can give you energy. Proteins can help your body fight infection and also build and repair tissues. Certain fats—in the right amount—can lower your risk of heart disease and keep you feeling your best.

    “I try to have balanced meals from all food groups. Also, I don’t think it’s wrong occasionally to have a candy bar or eat fast food. But that shouldn’t be all a person’s diet consists of. Moderation is always a good rule to follow.”—Brenda.

    A diet that is missing vital nutrients is like a chair that is missing a leg

  • A balanced diet avoids extremes. These might include not eating enough, binge eating, or denying yourself an occasional treat.

    Try this: For a month, keep track of your eating habits. How often do you go to one of the extremes described above? What adjustments can you make to have a balanced diet?

    “I had extremes of very-high-calorie binge days and very-low-calorie strict days. Finally, I decided to stop counting calories, to be careful not to overeat, and to stop eating when I was full. It took time, but now I have a balanced diet.”—Hailey.

 How can I stick to a balanced diet?

  • Think ahead. The Bible says: “The plans of the diligent surely lead to success.” (Proverbs 21:5) To succeed in having healthy eating habits takes forethought.

    “It takes planning to eat healthier, and oftentimes healthy food has to be prepared at home. But it’s worth the effort in the long run, and it can also save you money.”—Thomas.

  • Replace unhealthy choices. The Bible says: “Safeguard practical wisdom.” (Proverbs 3:21) Practical wisdom will help you to get creative and find methods that work best for you.

    “I started to make healthy swaps, one per day. For example, instead of eating a candy bar, I ate an apple. Before long I was making many healthy swaps each day!”—Kia.

  • Have reasonable expectations. The Bible says: “Eat your food with rejoicing.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7) Having a balanced diet shouldn’t take the joy out of eating, nor does it require that you obsess about every morsel of food you take into your body. Even if you need to lose weight, remember that your goal is to be healthy. Be reasonable about what you expect of yourself.

    “I recently lost 30 pounds, and through this journey I never starved myself, cut out a food group, or beat myself up for eating a dessert. I accepted the fact that this wasn’t going to be a quick process and that it truly is a lifestyle change.”—Melanie.