The Amazing Way Belgians Balance Their Diets (Without Cutting Sugar or Carbs)

You’ll totally want to steal this simple trick.

WaffleAbElena/ShutterstockLet’s face it: Belgian food isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of healthy eats. A few favorites in this national diet include sugary waffles and salt-covered fries, after all. But the Flemish Institute for Healthy Living recently revealed a brand-new healthy food pyramid—and Americans definitely need to steal some of their suggestions. (Learn more of the best healthy eating tips to live longer and lose weight.)

Experts divided the guide into three sections: The top tier features foods you should eat at every meal, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils; the middle tier includes food you should eat around once per day, like fish, dairy products, eggs, and chicken; and the bottom tier lists fare you should eat on occasion, such as red meat and butter.

A large, red circle contains junk foods like pizza, fries, desserts, processed meats, and alcoholic and sugary drinks—all foods that the Flemish Institute recommends eating “as little as possible.” That doesn’t mean you have to stop treating yourself to a weekly cocktail, though. We can deal with that! (Can’t stop the cravings? Here’s how to train your brain to hate junk food.)

Although these recommendations might sound familiar to most Americans, the Belgian pyramid has one major difference from the typical American food guide: It distinguishes plant-based protein sources, like beans and nuts, from meats. It also prioritizes which meats should be eaten more often than others and recommends consuming less dairy products (around once per day instead of once per meal). And don’t forget water! The Flemish Institute suggests drinking plenty throughout the day.

Bottom line: Less meat, more plants, and lots of H2O. That’s what the Belgians say, at least—and Americans should definitely take note. But you don’t even need to overhaul your eating habits; start with these small diet changes to look (and feel!) great.

[Source: Cooking Light]

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