Know how to eat a balanced diet

A balanced diet accompanied by regular exercise is the key to maintaining good health and…

Know how to eat a balanced diet

A balanced diet accompanied by regular exercise is the key to maintaining good health and keeping diseases at bay. But what is actually a balanced diet? This is what we are going to discuss in this series of our National Nutrition Week awareness campaign. India observes National Nutrition Week every year in the first week of September (from September 1 to September 7) to spread knowledge about nutrition and its importance for the human body. Also Read – 5 popular food myths you should stop believing

A balanced diet: What does it mean?

A balanced diet is all about providing your body with all the essential nutrients it needs to function effectively. It should consist of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. You can achieve this requirement by eating a wide variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, protein-rich foods like meat, eggs, fish, beans, nuts, and legumes. Also Read – Vitamin B12 can prevent irreversible nerve damage in diabetics: Get this nutrient from these 6 foods

Nutrient deficiencies can make you more prone to diseases, infections, fatigue, and low performance. In children, lack of necessary nutrients may lead to growth and developmental problems, poor academic performance, and frequent infections. They can also develop unhealthy eating habits, which in turn can increase the risk of obesity and various diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Also Read – National Nutrition Week 2020: 5 ways to ensure that you’re getting adequate sunshine vitamin

Know your daily calorie requirement

Calories refer to the amount of energy stored in the food you eat, which your body uses for walking, thinking, breathing, and other important functions. A person’s daily calorie requirement depends on various factors – age, sex, and physical activity level. As per the current guidelines, the average person needs about 2,000 calories every day. But active people or those who exercise need more calories than those who don’t. The calorie requirement is also higher for men than women.

There are foods that are high in calories but contain very little nutrition. These are known as “empty calories.” For example foods like cookies, processed meats, energy drinks, chips and fries, sodas, etc. provide empty calories. Limit consumption such foods and instead try to get your calories from foods that are rich in other nutrients as well.

How to eat a balanced diet 

While a healthy diet should consist of all the nutrients and food groups discussed above, you need to maintain a balance for a healthy body. The easiest way to do this is the plate method. Nutritionists recommend filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, over one quarter with grains, less than one quarter with protein foods, and adding dairy on the side (or a non-dairy replacement for vegans).

Vegetables are an excellent source of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. When it comes to vegetables, nutritionists suggest eating a rainbow – that means including a variety of vegetables with different colours so that you get a full range of nutrients. Fruits are not just nutritious, but they can satisfy your sweet tooth as well.

If you want to stick a healthy diet, you should avoid or limit certain foods like highly processed foods, refined grains, added sugar and salt, red and processed meat, alcohol, and trans fats.

Published : September 3, 2020 5:32 pm | Updated:September 4, 2020 9:54 am