5 Simple Rules to Maintain a Balanced Diet

You can't go a day without hearing someone talk about a new diet or new superfood. With so much information, it can be confusing. But, food and nutrition shouldn't be rocket science. It's actually simple; eat whole foods and listen to your body.  

More: Calculate your Nutritional Needs.

I'm not perfect. I've struggled with finding a balance in my diet. But as a runner and food lover, I've discovered a few things that have worked for me and would like to share my experiences with you.

1) Eat What You Want

If you're craving a burger, go ahead and eat it. Well it's not that simple.

If you decided to eat a burger, opt for a healthier option. Why not make your burger at home instead of going to a fast food restaurant. Use turkey meat instead of ground beef. Choosing a healthier variation is generally a good rule of thumb.

MoreHealthy Shopping List Tips for Busy Athletes

2) Eat When You Want

Just because your lunch break is at noon doesn't mean you must adhere to eating at that specific time. If you're hungry at 10:00 a.m., and your snack isn't going to cut it, then go ahead and eat your lunch. Will you use the excuse, "Oh but then I'll want dinner really early."? Not a problem. Eat dinner earlier. The 'food-time fairy' isn't going to punish you if you don't eat at exactly 7:00 p.m. The bottom line is to listen to your body and eat when you're hungry.

3) Portion Control

Portions aren't so easy to decipher. That half rack of ribs on your plate, with a side of mashed potatoes and saut?ed veggies isn't a single serving. But, you don't want to let it all go to waste, right? You don't have to let it go to waste. Ask for a to-go box. Eat half of your meal and save the rest for the next day.

More: The Diet Detective: How Many Calories Are You Eating? 

4) Rewarding Yourself

Stop rewarding yourself with food. Runners tend to be an entitled bunch when it comes to food. They finish a run and reward themselves with food. Many times I hear this, "I ran 3 miles; surely I can eat this bucket of wings." Not so fast. Find a new reward. How about a foot massage? Eat to run, don't run to eat.

5) You are What You Eat

You've heard it before and you'll hear it again. You are what you eat. Personally, I don't find food to be all that attractive (A bell pepper just doesn't look sexy to me), but that's not the point. This phrase makes more sense if it said, "If you want a simple life, eat simple foods. For a complicated life, choose foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce." It's totally your choice. I prefer the simple life, free from complications. Besides, I feel better when things are simple.

MoreHealthy Snack: Baked Kale Chips

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