Jul. 22. 2022
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Eating a balanced diet significantly impacts not only your physical health but also your mental health and relationship with food. 

We hear it all the time, right? From friends and health practitioners alike. “Everyone must eat a balanced diet! A balanced diet is the best way to reach your balanced weight and optimize your health!” But why exactly is it so important, and what even constitutes a balanced diet? 

In order to successfully prioritize something on a daily basis, it’s important to understand the why behind it. Otherwise, those convenience choices and old diet habits seem so much easier to choose and partake in. 

Here we’ll explain exactly why eating a balanced diet is so important, as well as how you can get started today. 

Why is it Important to Eat a Balanced Diet? 

From improved health outcomes to a more positive mindset regarding food, a balanced diet has a hand in it all. Let’s walk through four of the most significant benefits you’ll see by eating a balanced diet. 

1. Provides Your Body with Ample Nourishment 

On a basic, anatomical level, our bodies thrive and survive on the food we fuel them with. This is really where the term nourishment comes from. When we eat balanced meals, the food we’re providing our body with is packed with the nutrients it needs to keep us feeling energized and healthy. It nourishes us! 

This means we’re able to build muscle, burn energy, remain alert, fight off illness and so much more. Who doesn’t want that? 

2. Prevents Cravings as a Result of Restriction

When we’re consuming a balanced diet, we’re consuming all of the vital components our bodies need. This includes all of the macronutrients that our food is made of. On a basic level, think about proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, but more on that later. On the other hand, when we’re not consuming a balanced diet, we’re often lacking one or more of those vital macronutrients.

Now, this can either be intentional, or unintentional. When it’s unintentional, it’s usually just a result of habit or preference! Maybe you’re not a fan of a lot of protein sources, or you just forget to add fat to your meals because you never grew up having it often. When it’s intentional, it’s usually because we believe we shouldn’t be consuming particular nutrients as a result of a diet or food rule. 

In either scenario, when we’re lacking vital components of a balanced diet, the body eventually lets us know in the format of cravings and a loss of control. We want food items so much more in such a strong way, that it can often lead to overeating or even binge eating. Over time, this can lead to a negative relationship with food as well.

By eating a balanced diet, you can avoid those extreme cravings and develop overall balance with your food.

3. A Balanced Diet Stabilizes Blood Sugar

Blood sugar is something we hear about quite often in the health and wellness world. It impacts so many things! 

Yet even still, it’s very common to have destabilized blood sugar levels or blood sugar that spikes and drops perpetually. Why is this less than ideal? Well first off, it results in high blood sugar levels when you go in for that annual doctor’s appointment, which nobody enjoys. It can also make you feel super hungry, shaky, and irritable, and give you a bit of brain fog. This happens when we aren’t eating a balanced diet. 

When blood sugar is stabilized and managed, we experience sustained energy, modulated hunger levels, and no more high blood sugar at the doctor’s office! 

4. Leaves You Feeling Full and Satiated 

Do you know that ‘bottomless pit’ feeling? Where it feels like no matter what you eat, you can never get full? This can often be a result of eating imbalanced meals.

Your body wants to be given balanced meals, therefore, it feels great when you eat them! This means you feel truly full and satiated after every meal. On an anatomical level, you feel physically full, and on a mental level, you feel satisfied with what you ate.

No more feeling as though you’re left wanting more all the time!

How To Eat a Balanced Diet 

Now that we know why eating a balanced diet is so important, how do we actually do that? 

The easiest way to eat a balanced diet is to follow the Foundational Five system. It includes all of those vital macronutrients we spoke of and keeps things clear and concise for you. To eat a balanced diet, you want to try your best to prioritize and incorporate the following five components in your meals: protein, starchy and sugary carbohydrates, non-starchy carbohydrates (veggies), fat, and flavor factor. 

By doing this, you’ll be able to reap all of those incredible benefits we just walked through! Now, does this mean that every meal that you eat from this point forward should be fully Foundational Five? No, it does not. Because that wouldn’t be balanced either. I’m now using the word balance in regard to your relationship with food. 

If you try to strictly follow the Foundational Five, it’ll feel as though you’re only prioritizing nourishment, and forgetting about enjoyment. When we know that both are vital! Use the Foundational Five as a guiding framework for your meals, but always know that this is not meant to be a food rule. 

Find Ease and Stop Struggling with Nutrition for Good

If you find yourself constantly struggling to eat the “right” thing or stay “on track”, you’re not alone. With so much nutrition information and so many opinions out there, it can become really confusing and overwhelming. 

Here at Nutrition Stripped, we always want you to have the tools you need to physically nourish your body and eat those balanced meals, but we also want to ensure you’re doing so out of enjoyment with ease. If you feel as though you’re currently stressed about food, or overwhelmed and in need of support, I can help.

Do You Want to Experience More Balance with your Food Choices?

Then find your balanced eating type!

Take this 45-second free quiz to find out which balanced eating archetype you are, and what your unique type needs to maintain balance with the way you nourish yourself. That way, you can finally be free from food and diet obsession, maintain a balanced weight, and cultivate a positive relationship with food and your body. 

Take The Free Quiz Now