A balanced diet is a diet that gives your body the nutrients to function correctly. It is not a crash diet but it consists of macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates and fat along with micronutrients which include vitamins and minerals. In order to get a proper balanced nutrition, you should obtain the majority of your daily energy from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
What is the importance of balanced diet?
A balanced diet is of utmost importance for the body to function properly. It needs the vitamins and minerals to maintain the cells, tissues, and organs. A balanced diet also helps in maintaining a healthy weight, reduces body fat, provides your body with energy, promotes good sleep, and eventually gives a feeling of well-being.
Why do we need to have a healthy balanced diet?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet plays a pivotal role in maintaining radiant health. The most important of all is to have the right balance of vitamins and minerals. Some of them are thiamine (vitamin B1) needed for improving metabolism found in legumes, nuts, and seeds, etc. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) aids in iron absorption and protects the immune system; found in fruits like citrus fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce etc. Cobalamin (vitamin B12) for making new cells, found in meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, milk and milk products. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found in foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, fish, liver, and tropical fruits, etc.
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What are the components of a healthy balanced diet?
A balanced diet is a combination of five major food groups consisting of vitamins and minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
1. Vitamins and Minerals
These micronutrients support metabolism, nerve and muscle function, bone maintenance and cell production.Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of vitamins and minerals including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C. Simple carbohydrates like glucose and fructose are also found in fruits and vegetables. Opt for fresh fruits instead of fruit juices, know why fresh fruits are better than fruit juices?
Similarly, vegetables such as dark green leafy veggies should be included in your meal. Adding a variety of veggies like broccoli, spinach, beans, lettuce, etc to your meal will help you in getting the bountiful nutrients required for the body.
Choose a variety of coloured fruits and vegetables like the colours of the rainbow. Remember fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat while providing fiber and key nutrients that keep us healthy.
Protein is required to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also important for growth and development during the early stages of childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy. About 30 to 35% of your daily diet should consist of protein found in pulses like whole grams, dals, chickpeas, peas, lentils, beans, peanuts, milk, eggs, fish, and meat.
If you have been a health enthusiast, then you have been carefully monitoring or skipping carbs in your diet altogether but, guess what? Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the voluntary as well as involuntary functions of the body. Consume carbohydrates which include whole grains such as brown rice, wheat, ragi, jowar, bajra, oatmeal, quinoa, and potatoes among others. Hence, carbs should not be avoided and it should be a part of your daily diet.
Fats provide energy, store and provide vitamins, and synthesize hormones. There are three kinds of fats namely, polyunsaturated such as walnuts, flax seeds, etc; monounsaturated fat such as olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil, walnuts, etc.
Oil is one of the main ingredient used in cooking. Vegetable oil is the main villain used in cooking as it contains fat that is harmful for the body. Instead, you can go for unrefined or cold pressed oilwhich has a higher nutritional value than the unrefined oil.
All said about the importance of balanced diet, you need to maintain it by following a balanced diet chart. A diet chart will give a better understanding of how much food to consume and what type of food you are supposed to eat. A balanced diet chart is a solution to irregular eating habits and dealing with weight gain problems. In order to follow a balanced diet chart one needs to prepare it and stick to it.
Here, are provided the ways to maintain a balanced diet chart.
1. Know your correct mealtime
A diet chart comprises of 5 small meals in a day with a gap of 3 hours between each meal. A gap of more than 3 hours will increase the stress hormones cortisol that will let the body store fat in the belly. If these meals are eaten in a proper time it will keep the cortisol levels in check and thus reducing belly fat. Food eaten at the right time will also help in better digestion.
2. Activities during the day will reduce weight
If you are physically active during the day it will help you in reducing weight and you will feel less lethargic. If you are inactive and lacking in physical activity than your body requires some weight loss exercises to pump you up.
3. Write down the list of healthy foods
Research and gather knowledge about the foods that contain protein or which foods contain carbs, and so on. This will give you an idea of the foods that are nutritious and healthy. You could additionally ask a nutritionist about it too for FREE! Just click and get started!
4. Replace processed foods with fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables are the natural foods that will help to maintain the body. Sadly, these foods have been replaced by processed foods for example, tinned vegetables or breakfast cereals being the main culprit for weight gain. Processed foods are unhealthy and contain added sugar, salt, and fat. So, include fruits and vegetables that are low in fat content aiding in weight loss.
5. Proteins and Proteins
If you want to lose weight, add more proteins to your diet as protein takes more time and energy to break down in the body. You can include snacks and seeds instead of chips or you can opt for a healthier source of protein from Truweight’s wide range of products. For example, shake-a-day, a whey protein drink that you can make into a fruit pudding or quinoa can be eaten instead of rice.
6. Going the milky way
Dairy products are the best source of calcium that is essential for healthy bones and is also necessary for regulating muscle contraction. If your calcium intake is inadequate, you might suffer from osteoporosis and various bone diseases. Dairy products that are rich in calcium are low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk. If you are a person who dislikes dairy products then, have these dairy free calcium supplements for your diet.
7. Carbs for energy
It is wise to choose the required amount of carbs needed for the body. Most of the carbohydrates are present in plant foods like pulses, cereals, and millets. Your diet should mainly consist of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, brown rice, oats, lentils, fruits, and veggies. They are also rich in fiber which keeps you feeling fuller for a longer period of time.
8. Too much fat is bad fat
Decrease the intake of fats in your diet as too much of it can lead to weight gain and other related health problems. The required amount of fats needed for the body totally depends on the foods that you are consuming. Know the fats that contain essential fatty acids that protect the heart and improve the functions of the immune system.
9. Cut down that sugar in your tea/ coffee
Sugar is the lead villain to increase your waistline in the body. Sugar is addictive like a drug to most of the people, who like to add the sweet sugar to their favorite foods. Too much consumption of sugar may cause diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, obesity among many lifestyle disorders.
10. Remove the ‘Salt’ from your table
Eating too much salt, causes the extra water to store in your body that raises the blood pressure. So, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure and the greater the strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia, and kidney disease.
Here, we list down the balanced diet chart for women and men. This balanced diet chart will let you understand how much to eat during the day for a better health.
Balanced Diet for Women
A woman’s nutritional requirements differ from men. For example, a woman requires more iron than man due to her monthly menstrual cycles. Here, is a chart with 5 meals provided for women.
Breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Fill up your breakfast meal with protein like 2-3 scrambled egg whites with a whole grain toast and a fruit of your choice or a bowl of fruit oats porridge with sprouts salad. Protein kickstarts your metabolism and keeps you feeling fuller for longer during the day.
Mid-morning Snack – A fistful of dried fruit combined with nuts or seeds, provides protein and healthy fats to keep you satisfied till lunch. Combining the dried fruits with nuts helps in controlling the release of sugars in the body.
Lunch – Choose carb-rich foods that will supply energy and protein like a bowl of dal/chicken/fish curry with brown rice or roti and a veg salad. You could also include beans or chicken sandwich with plenty of veggies.
Snack– Having a snack will keep your energy levels up and you can choose from a variety of nourishing options like Apple cinnamon granola bar or Nature Valley’s granola bar or you can have a fistful of nuts.
Dinner– The supper of the day should be a combination of protein and carbs. You can include oily fish which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids like mackerel, salmon which is beneficial for healthy hair and skin. Fill up your dinner bowl with a variety of colourful veggies. Chicken/fish/paneer with roti /chila/ quinoa preparations and soup or salad with veggies.
Bedtime – A glass of low-fat milk with a pinch of elaichi.
Balanced diet for men
Men should have a proper healthy diet that will help build up their stamina and keep them active throughout the day.
Breakfast – Kickstart your metabolism by starting the day with breakfast filled with protein. If you are a gym person, you should definitely have a protein rich breakfast for muscle repair and recovery. You can include veg poha with eggs or chila with chutney or khichdi /upma with veggies and sprouts salad.
Dinner – Combine carbohydrates with essential fats which your body can use for overnight growth and repair. Have a bowl of cooked quinoa with chicken curry and lightly sauteed veggies. You can also have roti with veggies and a dal soup or chicken soup.