What I was taught was a balanced diet in high school health class is nowhere close to what I eat today. By definition, a balanced diet means providing yourself with all the nutrition you need through your daily intake of food. The problem is, the only thing we have to guide ourselves to that goal is a lot of outdated information from the USDA. Even their attempt to update certain aspects of the daily requirements is muddled. The new My Plate campaign still calls for whole grains as a daily requirement and it’s rare that one will eat all they tell you to without consuming way more sugar than desired. If 65 percent of adults age 20-74 are overweight, and half of those are obese (over 30 lbs overweight), then there is a disconnect somewhere. Everyone I ask thinks they eat a balanced diet, and I live in the land of the food conscious. So all signs point to, you don’t really eat a balanced diet even though you think you do. Here’s a few tips that have helped me over the past few years. First get rid of the bad stuff and start eating good stuff. Only you, and you alone, are responsible for what you eat. Stop eating processed foods. If your food comes in a package, it probably has things in it you shouldn’t be eating. If you know it’s bad for you, don’t put it in your mouth. You know processed sugar is bad for you, in any quantity, so why are you still eating it? Stop telling yourself, “I don’t eat that much”. Until you add it up, you don’t really know. It’s your job to know, so start measuring it. I guarantee your jaw will drop when you finally calculate the pounds of sugar you eat…yes, pounds. Dairy is sugar, by the way. Eat fish. If you say, “I eat fish”, and can’t tell me the last ten servings of fish that you ate this week, you don’t really eat fish. Having salmon at the last wedding you attended does not qualify as eating fish. Eat leafy green vegetables EVERY MEAL. Yes, that’s how much you need. Try it and tell me you don’t feel 100% better than you’ve ever felt. Eat more vegetables instead of bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes. Carrots, beets, parsnips, squash, are all great carb vegetables that give you a lot more nutrition than any starchy white stuff on your plate. It’s about being aware of everything you eat. Take control of your diet so you don’t end up in that government statistic of overweight adults.