A planned diet is essential for sound health and a disease-free lifestyle. Here’s your guide to a well-balanced diet, which will help you to include the right foodstuff in your meals.
A well-balanced diet is not something that puts a strict restriction on eating habits. Rather, it allows you to follow a healthy diet required for fitness and energy. Depriving yourself of your favorite foods to stay unrealistically thin is not a wise option. The bad effects of crash dieting ultimately destroy the strength of your body, thus, making you weak. A well-balanced diet consists of appropriate proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. These elements enhance the vital metabolic reactions taking place inside the body. Even the World Health Organization recommends a balanced diet for every individual. Their guidelines focus on energy balance and healthy weight gain.
Include the Vital Nutrients
Such a diet consists of foods that make up for all the essential nutrients required by your body. Your physical appearance reflects what you eat and drink. The components of a proper diet will help you to remain agile throughout.
- You must know the difference between healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates.
- Healthy carbohydrates are the main energy sources of the body.
- They keep insulin and blood sugar levels under control.
- Whole grains, brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, grains, beans, etc., come under this category.
- Foods included under unhealthy carbohydrates are refined sugar, white bread, white flour, canned juices, jams, jellies, etc. Although they get digested quickly, they elevate the blood sugar level all of a sudden.
- Monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered healthy by the body.
- The latter includes omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
- These are mostly found in fish – salmon, anchovies, herring, and sardines.
- Sunflower, soybean, flaxseed oil, and corn are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Almonds, olives, hazel nut, chest nut, cashews, walnuts, sesame, and pumpkin, etc., are sources of monounsaturated fatty acids.
- You should eliminate consumption of foods high in saturated and trans fat.
- They include fried, processed, and baked foods hydrogenated with vegetable oils.
- Candies, crackers, and margarine have high amounts of saturated fats.
- Protein, though an indispensable part of balanced diet for kids and adults should never be consumed in excess.
- There are two types of proteins – complementary and complete.
- Both are sources of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins in our body.
- You can combine both the types in your menu.
- Fish, meat, poultry, cheese, butter, and eggs are laden with complete protein.
- Complementary proteins are low in essential amino acids. The examples are legumes, nuts, seeds, beans, etc.
- You might already know the fact that fibers help to regularize bowel movements and therefore, they are vital for your body.
- However, only soluble fibers show the positive effects. They dissolve easily in water, and mix with the digested food in the intestine, which is excreted as fecal matter.
- Insoluble fibers cannot pass directly from the digestive system and must be avoided.
- Foods rich in soluble fibers are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Guava and prunes are extremely helpful for people suffering from constipation problems.
- The body requires approximately 20-30 grams of dietary fiber daily.
Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamins assist the body to carry out all the enzymatic reactions required for health.
- Vitamin E enhances the texture and quality of skin and hair.
- Vitamin D helps in absorption of calcium in the body.
- Minerals like phosphorous, calcium, zinc, and magnesium are crucial for strong bones and teeth.
- They also act as cofactors for a variety of enzymatic reactions.
- Foods rich in vitamins are fruits and vegetables. Apples, bananas, oranges, lemons, etc. are rich sources of vitamins.
- Calcium is mainly present in dairy products.
- Green and leafy vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflowers, beans, etc.) not only have a high vitamin content but also contain high amounts of minerals.
Steps for a Proper Diet
There are some tips to follow a healthy, balanced diet. The following points shall make your concept clear.
Set up a Diet Plan
- Take steps towards reducing your calorie count. Make recipes that are easily digestible by your body.
- The changes should be gradual. You cannot alternate your food habits overnight.
- Keep away from certain foods. These include high-calorie foods rich in complex carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids.
- Include sufficient amount of protein in your diet (mainly dairy products).
- Include raw vegetables, salads, and fruits in your diet chart.
- Drink plenty of water every day to flush out toxins from the body.
- Exclude extra sodium, artificial sugars, and carbohydrates.
The Way to Eat
- Control your cravings for sugar, junk foods, and aerated drinks. Limit them as much as possible.
- Eat small meals four times a day instead of loading your body with heavy meals.
- Have a heavy breakfast, a medium lunch, and a small dinner.
- Chew your food properly before swallowing. Do not eat in a hurry.
- Enjoy your food, its flavor, and taste. Do not eat if you are really not hungry.
- Stop eating before you start feeling full. Keep your system light so that you don’t feel lethargic after your meals.
For a well-balanced diet menu, you need to combine these foods effectively at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Prepare simple recipes, and avoid fried foods garnished with sauce, marmalade, mayonnaise, etc. Eat in moderation to stay active and fresh.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.