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4 Nutrition Tips For a Balanced Diet

Helpful tips for getting more of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

By Clover Health

Eating well helps improve your energy level, boost your immune system, and make you feel better. Whether you’re cooking for yourself or planning a meal for your family, remember that nutrition needs change as you get older.

Something we often forget, but gets more important as we get older, is making sure to get all the nutrients we need. As we age, nutrient absorption declines, increasing the risk of malnutrition. Getting the right nutrients through a balanced diet lowers your risk of chronic health conditions and helps keep your mind sharp.

Check out these helpful tips for getting more of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

How to Get Helpful Vitamins & Minerals 

Add Fish into Your Diet

When it comes to fat, one you shouldn’t cut back on is omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish such as salmon and tuna, other seafood, nuts, seeds, and more. Research shows that people who eat fish and other seafood that contains omega-3s have a lower risk for several chronic diseases, including heart disease. The FDA recommends choosing fish that are lower in mercury, such as salmon, anchovies, mackerel, catfish, tilapia, trout, and whitefish. The American Heart Association recommends eating 2 servings of fish per week (a total of 6-8 ounces). Unlike beef, pork, or lamb, fish is a good source of protein that is not high in saturated fat. Fish that is especially high in fat is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to heart health and can also help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Many diseases—cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, chronic kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation. The good news is that eating the right food can serve as a powerful tool to combat inflammation. Add these anti-inflammatory foods into your diet to reap the benefits and lower your risk for disease. 

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds

Eating less red or processed meats and saturated fat found in dairy can also help reduce inflammation, 

Practice Portion Control

Sometimes it’s hard to know the “correct” portion of a food, so we just wing it, and guesstimate how much to serve ourselves. In most cases, guessing leads to overestimation and overeating. Fortunately, most portion sizes are easy to control if you have something to compare the amount to. For example, one serving size or meat or chicken is the size of a deck of cards. One serving of fish is the size of a checkbook. One serving of peanut butter is the size of a ping-pong ball. One serving of cooked rice or pasta is the size of a tennis ball.  

Meal Prep

It can be overwhelming to figure out and manage how many vitamins and which nutrients you need, which is why it’s important to plan your meals in advance. If you plan your meals throughout the week, you’ll be more likely to keep up your healthy eating habits. The freezer is your friend: consider preparing a week’s worth of dinners, then pull them out on the day you want to eat them. 

Are you ready to start meal prepping and eating a diet that’s richer in nutrients and vitamins? We’ve got plenty of recipes to help you find inspiration to start cooking healthy meals at home. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more healthy recipes you’ll love.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Kumar Dharmarajan.

Published on 5/18/22

Photo credit: Getty