A balanced diet plan is one of the key solutions for most of the health problems arising in today’s world of fast and stressed lifestyle. This article provides you with the essential information on what a balanced diet is and its importance in our life.
Avoiding specific food that is harmful to your body, say, junk food, does not imply that you are following a balanced and healthy diet. The diet should help you obtain all the necessary nutrients that are required for proper functioning of your body, through a wide range of foods that can be relished in balanced amounts. In this article, three different balanced diet plans are described which can be helpful for children, women, and for those who are interested in losing weight. These diet plans include all the necessary vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins which keep you healthy and fit. The nutritional requirements of a person depend upon the age, sex, height, overall health, and weight of the person. A balanced diet should meet the specific daily calorie requirements of the person.
Here are some examples of food items which should be included in a balanced menu.
- Whole Grain Foods: Food like whole grain toast, pasta, cereal, oats, and corn which are rich in vitamin B and carbohydrates, provide essential calories to the body.
- Dairy Products: Milk, yogurt, cheese, and nuts are a good source of calcium and proteins.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, leafy green vegetables, oranges, bananas, and almost all vegetables and fruits are rich in iron, calcium, vitamins, and minerals.
- Sweets: Jaggery, sugar, and sweets, containing fats are useful when they are consumed in balanced amounts. They help generate energy.
- Poultry, Fish, Meat, and Pulses: Peas, lentils, beans, nuts, meat, fish, and eggs are rich in lean proteins which supply the essential amino acids, required for the proper functioning of the body.
Diet for Children
Always plan and prepare meals in such a way that your children eat more willingly. Involve them in making the decisions. Try baking, roasting, or poaching the food, instead of frying. Level of fat and added sugar should always be less.
|Per Day Servings
|Milk, yogurt, cheese
|milk – 200ml, yogurt – 150gm, cheese – 40gm
|2-4 serves per day
|Banana, apple, sweet Lime
|1 glass juice / 1 piece
|2 – 3 serves per day.
|Broccoli, spinach, cabbage, salad
|3-4 serves per day
|Fish, meat, eggs, chicken, dried beans, and lentils
|1 piece or ¾ cup of cooked beans or lentils
|1-2 serves per day
|Whole Grain Food
|Cereal, pasta, bread
|cereal / pasta / cooked rice or noodles – 1 cup, bread – 2 slices
|4-5 serves per day
Diet for Women
These days, women have to work at home and at office. Women are more emotional by nature and they undergo physical and psychological changes during the different phases of their lives. They have to deal with these physically and mentally changes. Pregnancy is a significant stage in the life of a woman, and a healthy diet is of extreme importance, as it helps cope up with the changes taking place in the body. A woman can give birth to another healthy human being, if she herself is healthy and fit. Diet does not mean starving and becoming thin. Here are a few diet tips to become fit. Women should enjoy a healthy lifestyle. The balanced diet can help them feel more energetic and lively.
|Quantity Required Per Day
|Vitamin Rich Food
|Fruits and vegetables
|75mg vitamin C, 15mg vitamin E, 5-10 mcg vitamin D, 700mcg vitamin A
|Overall growth and maintained health
|Fiber Rich Food
|High fiber fruits and vegetables like avocados, peers, and apples with skin and corn, potatoes with skin, carrot, cereals like bran, oat, whole wheat, root vegetables, etc.
|Sugar levels in bloodstream when kept normal, help in digestion of food, and reduces the risk of cancer
|Skim milk, cheese, yogurt
|1000 to 1500gm
|Reduces the risk of ‘osteoporosis’, which is the biggest threat to women, and keeps the bones strong.
|Iron rich food
|Beet root, peas, soybeans, cooked spinach, asparagus, and other vegetables high in iron, red meat, almonds, date, fenugreek, oysters, fig, etc.
|Recovers the loss due to menstruation, regulation of cell growth and body metabolism, increase in immunity.
During pregnancy, the quantity of the required nutrients will naturally increase. Taking into consideration your own needs, you should choose and stick to a specific diet.
Diet for Weight Loss
A balanced diet helps deal with those extra pounds which create health complications and destroy your looks. Drinking plenty of water promotes weight loss. There exist various crash diets to lose weight fast like cabbage soup diet, chicken soup diet, lemonade diet, etc. But, you should lower your calorie intake slowly. The choice of food and the portion play an important role in reducing weight. Balance, moderation, and variation are the three basic concepts in a balanced diet. According to most health professionals, an intake of 55-65% carbohydrates, 10-15% proteins, and 25-30% fats can be called balanced intake. The intake of ‘fat and cholesterol’ should be restricted. Instead of two large meals, you should have small meals, 4-6 times during the day. To obtain all the necessary nutrients required for good health, you should have a variety of food items in your diet. Be sure that the diet is rich in vitamins and minerals.
|Servings per day
|Fruits and Vegetables
|Fresh, frozen, canned, dried fruits, and vegetables along with pulses, beans, and lentils
|5 portions (1 portion is approximately equal to the size of a deck of cards, weighing around 3 ounces) a day
|Bread, cereals, and potatoes
|Pasta, noodles, rice, oats, breakfast cereals, bread, potatoes
|2 portions a day
|Milk, yogurt, cheese
|½ to1 cup/bowl twice per day
|Meat, fish, chicken, and eggs
|fat trimmed meat and chicken, lower fat versions of food items containing meat or chicken or fish, tofu, kidney beans
|1-2 portions twice a day
|Food containing high level of fat or sugar
|cream, butter, mayonnaise, crisp, fried food items, chocolates, pastries, jams, biscuits, ice-creams
|very small/negligible quantity advised
|Food with unsaturated fat
|food with olive, sunflower, or corn oil
|1 portion twice a day
If you combine these weight loss diets with adequate and regular exercises, this can increase the metabolism of the body, resulting in expected weight loss. Eat and enjoy 5 to 6 smaller meals, rather than 3 big meals in a day. Whatever calories are generated, should be burnt so as to avoid weight gain. There is no miracle diet as such. You can have various food items and various combinations of foods daily. If you follow the proper guidelines regularly, you will definitely succeed in losing weight.
You must have noticed that a balanced diet plan is not about depriving yourself of the delicious food you love. It is rather ‘smart eating’, helping you to feel energetic, lively, fresh, and fit, following some strict philosophies of nutrition. You have to learn some concepts of nutrition to follow the path of ‘smart eating’. You need to incorporate the basic principles of nutrition in a way which will be appropriate, suitable, and easy for you. Smart eating helps lead a happy and healthy life.