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Eating a balanced diet 101

South Beach. Keto. Paleo. So many diets, and so much conflicting info. Is it more protein you need? Or fewer carbs? Planning a balanced diet these days can be a challenge. We get it. But here’s some good news: a balanced diet really comes down to a few simple eating guidelines. And getting your proportions right will give you the energy you need while keeping your diet balanced. Here’s how:

1. Nail the protein/carb ratio

Every day, you take in a certain amount of calories from a variety of foods. For a healthy diet, most of these calories — about 60% — should come from complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, breads, pastas, fruits and vegetables. Protein, in the form of lean meats, poultry, fish and dried peas or beans, should make up 10 to 20% of calories.

2. Limit the fats

This won’t come as too much of a surprise: limit the calories you get from fats. Less than 20 percent is ideal, but definitely not more than 30 percent. These proportions help provide all the energy a person needs during the day, while keeping fat, sugar and protein intake within recommended guidelines.

3. Follow these tips

The next step in creating a balanced diet is to plan each meal with these basic health tips in mind:

  • Eat a variety of different foods, including grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and a range of protein sources.
  • Limit servings of meat, poultry and fish to three ounces after cooking.
  • Avoid highly processed or refined foods, like chips and frozen dinners, whenever possible.
  • Limit intake of fats, cholesterol, salt and sugars.
  • When drinking alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

Paying extra attention to balancing your diet may seem a little difficult at first, but you’ll be rewarded with higher energy, lower stress and a greater resistance to disease.

Need help with creating and sticking with healthy eating habits? The Attain by AetnaSM app gives you tips, tools and points for making healthier and more mindful choices, like choosing more nutritious foods. Download the AttainSM app today in the App Store. Already using the app? Head over to the “Actions” tab in the app and start building healthy habits today.

This material provides a general overview of the topic. Health information is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment by a therapist, physician or other health care professional. Contact a health care professional with any questions or concerns about specific health care needs.