Originally published Friday, August 10, 2018 at 05:58a.m.

Hi, this is Eunice from Diet Center.

A balanced diet is diverse and adequate for activity levels. Simply put we need to eat from all the food groups and treat food as fuel for a fit, active lifestyle. A balanced diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, seeds, nuts and healthy oils. The benefits of a balanced diet are enormous. You'll feel better, look better and have a longer, healthier life.

Non-fat or low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. Calcium is essential for maintaining a strong, stable skeletal system that minimizes your risk of fractures and enables you to live an active lifestyle. If you are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy, consume seeds, nuts and soy as other sources of calcium.

Eating well won't guarantee prosperity, but it can prolong your lifespan. A balanced diet reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and some types of cancer. A healthy diet bolsters your immune system's ability to fend off illness and disease.

Combined with regular exercise, a balanced diet can help you lose weight if you are overweight or obese, and it can help you maintain a healthy weight for life. Not only is weight loss and maintenance good for your health, it may help you feel better about yourself and contribute to an overall sense of well-being.

In addition to a positive body image, a balanced diet may help prevent mental illness. Good nutrition combined with an active lifestyle may reduce stress, anxiety and depression and increase your energy levels.

Doesn’t eating healthy cost more?

Fresh, healthy food items don’t have to dent your wallet. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive, but you can save with the following strategies.

1. Look for produce in season. Such fruits and vegetables tend to be less expensive. You can also check out local farmers markets, or even grow your own herbs. If you want to eat produce that’s in season and is pricey, you can save by purchasing them frozen.

2. When shopping make a list. This should help you stick to purchasing foods appropriate for your Diet Center or other weight-loss program, as well as avoid picking up items you don’t need.

3. Look for coupons or specials on items on your list. It is often cheaper to buy items in bulk like grains, cereals, onions, and potatoes.

4. Buy store-brand products.

Don’t forget about common healthy food items such as non-fat and low-fat milk, plain yogurt, milk, eggs, legumes and chicken; these are typically inexpensive. Try these measures on your next grocery trip. They can save you money and inches on your waist!

Thank you for reading Diet Center’s tip of the week. If you have started to put these ideas into practice and are struggling with weight loss, please call me today at 928-753-5066, or stop by 1848 Hope Ave. in Kingman.