Despite what you see in some diet books and TV programs, healthy eating really can be straightforward.
When it comes to a healthy diet, balance is the key to getting it right. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of foods and drinks to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Most adults need to eat and drink fewer calories in order to lose weight, even if they already eat a balanced diet.
To have a healthy, balanced diet, one should eat:
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- High fiber starchy foods such as whole wheat, bajra, jowar, ragi, etc.
- Some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of proteins.
- Some milk and dairy foods.
- Small amount of foods and drinks that are high in fat and/or sugar.
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
Food Groups In Your Diet
Your meals, especially lunch and dinner, should include foods from all the 5 food groups, i.e. fruits and vegetables, starchy foods, meat poultry and beans, milk and dairy, and fats and sugar. Also, include a variety of different foods from all the food groups in your daily diet.
Fruit And Vegetables: Are You Getting Your 5 A Day?
Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals. It's advised to eat at-least five portions each day. It manages your weight and also lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke and some types of cancers, etc.
Eating five portions is not as hard as it sounds. You can swap your mid-morning biscuit for an orange, and add a side salad to your lunch. Have a portion of vegetables with dinner, and snack on dried fruit in the evening to reach your five a day.
Starchy foods should make up around one third of everything you eat. Choose wholegrain varieties like oats, whole wheat or multigrain bread, whole wheat pasta, etc. as well as include millets such as bajra, ragi, and buckwheat as they contain more fiber and vitamins and minerals than the refined varieties.
Meat, Fish, Eggs and Beans: All Good Sources of Protein
These foods are good sources of proteins, which is essential for the body to grow and repair itself. They are also good sources of a range of vitamins and minerals.
Meat is also rich in iron, zinc and vitamin B12 while fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You should eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry, whenever possible, to cut down on fats. Also, always cook them thoroughly.
Eggs and pulses, including beans, nuts and seeds are also great sources of proteins. Nuts are high in fiber and a good alternative to unhealthy snacks. But they do contain high levels of fat, so should be eaten in moderation.
Milk and Dairy Foods: Avoid Full Fat Varieties
Milk and dairy foods such as cheese, paneer and yoghurt are good sources of proteins. They also contain calcium, which helps keep your bones healthy. To enjoy the health benefits of dairy without eating too much fat, always use low-fat or no-fat varieties.
Eat Less Fats and Sugar
It's important to include healthy fats like nuts and seeds, avocado, rice bran oil, sesame oil, mustard oil, etc. in limited amounts in your daily diet. Cut down on foods that are high in saturated fats such as cheese, butter, cakes, biscuits, etc. as they increases the risk of heart disease. High fat intake can lead to obesity, which increases the risk of other diseases like type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.
Reduce your intake of refined sugar as well as foods containing sugar such as sugary drinks, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, pastries, ice cream and jam, etc.