Along with rest and relaxation, a nutritious diet is one of the essential sources of fuel the body requires to maintain optimum health. On the never-ending quest to eat right, most people set out with the best intentions, only to discover that, after weeks of cutting out the foods they love, excess body weight is not disappearing as quickly as desired. Most people have every reason to fear the word "diet". "People equate the word "diet" with deprivation. That's not a good motivator" says John P Foreyt, author of Living Without Dieting. Complicated weight loss strategies do not work. Nutritionists universally agree that the most effective weight-loss plan, and the most beneficial strategy for the body, is to personally develop lifelong healthy eating habits.
"Trends in nutrition come and go", adds Teresa Hale. "What's more, nutritional science can often contradict itelf". Hale's advice is sound and simple. "'The important thing to develop is a sense of individual nutritional awarenesss. Get to know the nutrients that suit your body type and then try to maintain a balanced diet that suits your body best. To do this, ask yourself a few questions: "What is the best way to combine foods so that I can maintain a healthy, balanced diet?" If the answers prove elusive, consult a trained nutritionist.


Nutritional experts at Clinique La Prairie, one of the finest health spas in the world, all advocate a balanced diet that includes something from their seven food classifications, below, every day:

1. Mik, cheese and yogurt
2. Meat and its substitudes such as tofu
3. Bread, cereal and potatoes
4. Fruit and vegetables
5. Fats, such as butter
6. Sugars
7. Liquids, such as water and juice

Eating a variety of foods from each of the groups should satisfy all nutritional needs. The key to a balanced diet, La Prairie nutritionists claim, is the right mixture of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Vegetabes shoud make up the dominant part of any diet, with fish and fruit being the other important components. A number of studies carried out on children prove that eating an early morning meal has beneficial effects on mental and physical functions. Eating beakfast makes sense; the body needs to refuell itelf after sleep. Food helps the brain and body to function at its fulest capacity. Breakfast can also be of benefit throughout the whole day. A high-fibre breakfast can help prevent snacking and overeating during lunch and dinner. Whether or not they realize it, people who skip breakfast often make up for it later in the day by overeating. Research has also concluded that women who eat breakfast get more out of a workout than those who prefer to skip it. They have stronger concentration levels and can maintain a more consistent level of weight.
Breakfast should consist of about 25 per cent of your daily calorific needs. Women often have a tendency to feel guilty for thinking about food throughout the day: they shouldn't. Nutritionists frequently urge their patients to feed the body whenever it is hungry. This does not mean that you wil be eating all of the time. If you really listen to your body, you will begin to understand the types of foods that fill you up and make you feel good.