What exactly is a balanced diet? Many of us have this question in mind whenever some one recommends a balanced diet. Do we have to weigh everything on a balance? Its quite simple to follow actually, a balanced diet is a combination of everything you eat, wish to eat and should actually eat. Your diet –or rather the food you eat should consist of all the different food groups.
We can divide food into 5 groups:
1.Cereals and millets.
2.Dals, pulses, nuts and oilseeds.
3.Milk and milk products, eggs, fish,meat.
4.Fruits and vegetables.
5.Fats and oils.
A food pyramid is the best guide to understand how much of these groups we should incoprate in our routine; however, I shall also guide you with menu planning which is more practical to use.
Lets understand these groups first:
1.Cereals and millets come at the bottom of the food pyramid. We need around 8-10 servings of these. Wheat, rice,jowar, bajra, corn, ragi, barley, buckwheat, rye are some of the cereals and millets we eat. We eat these in many forms- breads, rotis, pastas. Cereals give us not just carbohydrates for energy but also some protien, essential fats, vitamins and minerals and fibres.
2.Next on the pyramid are fruits and vegetable. We need to eat atleast 4-5 servings per day. These are important because they have various colour pigments which serve as phytonutrients and antioxidants. They are full of different vitamins and minerals.
3.Milk , its products, egg and flesh foods, need to be consumed as 2-3 servings in a day. All of these are excellent protien sources. Milk, curds, paneer, cheese also give us calcium, phosphorous, vitamin A and other vital nutrients. Fish gives us the essential omega-3 fatty acid, while both meat and fish are good sources of iron.
4.Dals, pulses, nuts and oilseeds like til are also excellent sources of protein and essential fats.we need 2-3 servings of these as well.
5.Fats and oils are also necesarry as they give us not just the essential fatty acids but also fat soluble vitamins like A,D,E and K. We need 4-5 tsp. of these in a day.
A daily menu should be able to incorporate all these in the required quantities. A typical Indian diet is the easiest as it contains all food groups in appropriate amounts.
A sample menu:
Breakfast: Milk/ egg serving, a fruit and 1-2 cereal servings.
For e.g.: a glass of banana milkshake with toast.
Or poached eggs on toast and a peach.
Or idli sambhar, coffee with mid-morning fruit.
Lunch: It should be a combination of 3 groups- cereals, dals/pulses/milk product/flesh foods, and a fruit or vegetable.
For e.g.: roti/rice with dal and vegetable
Or fish curry with rice and a salad
Dinner: Should be similar to lunch
Or a soup with vegetable cheese sandwich
Or grilled chicken with vegetables
With these meals, you should have small in between snacks of fruits, salads, or a fistful of nuts.
Tags : Women, balanced diet, food, fruits