Balanced diet is the back bone of good health and well being. One needs to understand the constituents of a balanced diet and make changes in daily life accordingly. Balanced diet is eating variety of foods and drinks which provide vital nutrients. As the name suggests, one must maintain the balance. What you eat has a direct effect on your health.
Meal plans for individual requirement may vary person to person. It depends on his/her age, gender, health condition, activity etc. Kids have different requirements than adults. One can find out his/her calorie requirement and plan the diet accordingly.
The concept of a balanced diet can be explained with the help of the Food Pyramid.
There are six food groups in our food pyramid. Cereals like wheat, rice, grains, bread etc are sources of energy. There must be 4-6 servings of cereals in the daily diet. Calorie wise they count for more numbers in The Pyramid. Vegetables and fresh fruits are the second most important commodity in diet. Providing vitamins and minerals that impart health and prevent disease progression. Protein foods such as milk and its products, non vegetarian food, pulses should be taken for 3-5 times a day.
Earlier carbs rich foods were at the bottom of pyramid followed by pulses. Now the food pyramid published by USDA gives more importance to vegetables and fresh fruits than cereals. Fats and oils are another factor in a diet, consider including flax seeds, almonds, fish, fish oil, olive oil, walnut etc for essential fatty acids. Simple sugars, processed food such as bakery products, ready to eat food must be avoided in a diet. Ample amount of physical exercise is advised by experts to get benefits.
While planning any meal, the vegetable group must be in higher quantity than any other food group. Presence of protein, milk, milk products and cereal should be considered. Following is an example of a balanced meal plan:
- Early Morning: Lemon Tea
- Morning: low fat milk
- Breakfast: Oats porridge or Poha 1 cup
- Mid Morning Snack: An apple
- Lunch: Roti 2 with beans vegetable; dal one katori and Cucumber raita
- Evening snack: Brown bread sandwich (with Egg or Paneer)
- Dinner: Roti 1 with mix vegetable salad; Cabbage vegetable with steamed sprouts.
This is given just for an example. One can consider following tips while planning the balanced diet:
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- Use minimum processed food.
- Include 3-5 servings of fresh vegetables everyday
- Include 2-4 servings of fresh fruits per day
- Limit intake of table salt and sugar.
- Water is an important nutrient. Drink 2-3 lit water every day.
- Count on essential fats coming from flax seeds, almonds, fish etc.
- Check with your protein intake. Include protein rich foods in every meal.
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