What does it mean to eat healthy? The truth is that we all have different ideas of what constitutes a healthy meal and healthy lifestyle. Some say eggs and a slice of toast; others say oatmeal with fruit and yogurt; and others still will say it’s not a meal of there’s no meat.

So who’s right? What is good nutrition?

The goal with nutrition is to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need to help you grow, allow you to build new, healthy, muscle tissue, and repair body tissue.

Naturally, there is no single food or food group that will do all that, so the key is to diversify and eat the right balance of a variety of different foods to get all the right nutrients.

This means that your one friend who ‘only eats vegetables’ and your one friend who ‘lives on sushi’ are both in danger of having bad nutrition.

There are five main food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein. For a balanced diet, you need to eat a variety of foods from each food group, sticking for the most part to foods which are low in fat, sugar, and salt.

According to choosemyplate.gov, the best way to achieve the right balance is to focus on the distribution of the different food groups on your plate.

They recommend starting with fruit and veggies, filling around half your plate with them. Protein and grains make up the other half of your plate, with the government recommending that you make at least half of those grains whole grains, and that for protein you regularly rotate between different protein sources such as meat, poultry, nuts, seafood, beans and eggs.

If this seems like a lot, well initially it might be, but it doesn’t have to be. You start with small changes. That’s why Lifesum is designed the way it is. If you need to focus on eating more fruit and veg, use the trackers in the app to help you check you’re eating enough; if you find yourself eating the same protein sources all the time, use the red meat and seafood trackers to try and address that, or browse the recipes in the app for different inspiration for sources of meat; and if the idea of switching some grains to whole grains has you concerned, don’t worry about it, there are tons of simple substitutions and ways to ease yourself into it!

The key to good nutrition is eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods in the right amounts, so that you have the strength, energy and recovery you need to live a healthier life.

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams