Healthy eating is not about depriving oneself, starving to become unrealistically thin or denying ourselves of foods we love. The right way is to achieve a balanced diet that contains carbohydrates, proteins, fat, fibre, vitamins and minerals in the right proportions.
What is a balanced diet?
A balanced diet comprises foods from all the major food groups in the right proportions to provide the body with ideal nutrition.
Every individual is different and the right diet for good health may vary from person to person. However, by adhering to a diet that is holistic which covers all the food groups and is low in undesirable nutrients such as sodium, saturated fats, and sugar, you will be on the road to a healthy lifestyle.
Importance of well-balanced diet:
A well-balanced diet helps with sustained weight control. Calorie requirements depend on age, physical activity level, and weight goals. An appropriately balanced diet includes low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods such as whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables. Here are the key benefits of consuming a well-balanced diet:
✓ Growth and Development
✓ Maintains weight
✓ Improved Energy levels
✓ Lowers Risk of Illness
✓ Decreases depression and anxiety
✓ Micronutrients-vitamins and minerals are important to boost immunity and development.
✓ Protects you from non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer.
Components of a balanced diet:
A vital source of energy, carbohydrates comprises about 60% of an individual’s diet. Most of your energy needs are met from carbohydrates. Choose wisely from complex carbohydrate sources such as whole grains-wheat, millets, brown rice etc.
Protein is needed to assist your body to repair cells and make new ones. It is also essential for growth and development during the various stages of life. About 25% of daily calories should come from protein found in pulses like- moong dal, urad dhal and legumes like-kidney beans (rajma), black-eyed beans (lobia), and chickpeas (channa). Milk and milk products like -paneer, curd, and yoghurt are also a great source of protein. For the non-vegetarians, good sources include eggs, fish and lean meat.
Fats contribute to about 15% of daily caloric needs and are a major energy source. They are also vital for storing and providing vitamins and synthesize hormones. Some of the good sources of fats for one’s daily diet can come from polyunsaturated fats such as flax seeds, sunflower seed etc., monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, sesame oil etc., and saturated fats such as butter, and ghee – however, remember to use these in moderation.
4. Vitamins and Minerals
Micronutrients - vitamins and minerals support metabolism, nerve and muscle function, bone maintenance and cell production. Fruits and vegetables are the major sources of vitamins and minerals including potassium, iron, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Life without water is unimaginable. A major nutritional component that helps regulate body temperature, lubricate your joints and protects your major organs, and tissues. Water also aids to transport oxygen throughout your body. Make sure that you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.
Steps for A Healthier You:
1. Make half your grains whole and complex.
2. Include healthy proteins-milk and milk products, pulses and lean meats.
3. Eat more colourful vegetables and fruits.
4. Limit the intake of processed foods and cut down extra salt and sugar.
5. Eat intelligently, watch what you eat.
6. Fix times to have meals and stick to it.
7. More important eat only when you feel hungry.
A balanced diet supplies the human body with essential nutrients that your body needs to work effectively. If you are having an unbalanced diet, the system is prone to disease, infection, fatigue, and poor performance. Children who are deprived of healthy foods may face growth and developmental issues, poor academic performance and highly prone to persistent infections.
Health Benefits Of a Balanced Diet
Choosing a balanced and varied diet is a vital step towards leading a happy and disciplined lifestyle.
Vitamins and minerals in the diet are essential for building a robust immune system and healthy bodily functions.
A balanced diet can safeguard the body against certain types of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, cancers, and other conditions.
A healthy diet supports maintaining an ideal body weight.
The benefits of eating balanced and varied foods uplifts emotional and mental well-being.
Foods To Avoid:
Some of the food groups to stay away from on a balanced diet include:
Added sugar and salt
Red and processed meat
Trans and saturated fats