EAT SMART Get the proportions right to stay fit and healthy. BHAVANI SUNDARI B.
Balanced diet is a phrase you would have often heard if you are interested in following a diet. So how do you achieve eating a balanced meal? You have the food pyramids to guide you. Each country has its own food pyramid. India has its own Food Pyramid and there is a Traditional Healthy Asian Diet Pyramid too. The food pyramid guides you by telling you that the bottom of the pyramid is what you should consume more and what is at the tip of the pyramid is what you should consume least.
Food pyramids get a little confusing for most of us, and we are unable to understand how to implement the principles on a day to day basis and how much of each that we can eat. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for the same reason has come up with a plate model.The plate model is a tool that’s been used by nutritionists in the past and it is gaining popularity again, thanks to the USDA. The plate model, as you can see in the attached picture, gives you a break up of what your plate should consist of and in turn when you consume food accordingly, you would have ended up having a balanced meal and ‘voila’ a balanced diet. This plate can be adapted for the Indian diet as well.
Let me explain with the graphic. The graphic suggests that half your plate has vegetables and fruits. The proportion of vegetables has got to be more than fruits. This will ensure that you get your fibre, vitamins, minerals and anti–oxidants in your diet. Vegetables could be cooked form or it could be raw salads. It is always best to consume your vegetables and fruits with the skin and seeds, wherever possible. For example, you could train yourself to eat a sapota or cucumber with the skin, after it has been thoroughly washed. Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients and will help promote good health. Choose vegetables and fruits of all colours, including red, orange, and dark green vegetables such as tomatoes, pumpkin, green leafy vegetables such as Palak and Shepu. Cereals should be one quarter of your plate. Its preferred that you consume whole grains and cereals, like red rice or rotis made from whole wheat flour or mixed grain flours. When you consume whole grains, it adds to your fibre consumption and also some vitamins and minerals.
Measure them carefully
Proteins should be another quarter of your plate. If you are a non-vegetarian, quarter of your plate could be lean meat or chicken or eggs. It would be a good idea to include fish at least twice in a week. If you are a vegetarian, quarter of your plate could be dhal or sambar or whole grams like channa, rajma, green gram, etc. The small bowl which says Dairy can be a cup of milk during breakfast (preferably low fat) or low fat curds or yoghurt. Along with all this what you need to keep in mind is the oil used for cooking. It’s a good idea to use blended oil for cooking, but not more than half a litre of oil per person per month. Blended oils are available in the markets now and help you accomplish the proportion of the fatty oils that you need in your diet. Consuming food rich in oil / fat is going to add to the calories, which in turn can increase your weight.
- Savour your food. Eat slowly; enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Eating very quickly may cause you to eat too much.
- If you are looking at losing weight, use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied, without overeating.
- It is preferable to eat home cooked food compared to eating out. In case you are eating out; choose healthier options, such as rotis instead of naan or plain or slightly salted pop-corn instead of buttered or caramelised pop corn.
- Do try out new foods and new cuisines. You never know, you may find a new healthy favourite dish.
- If you have a sweet tooth, indulge in a fruit. You have exotic fruits such as kiwi, fresh figs and strawberries also available in the market these days. Fruits are any day better compared to pastries, muffins and Payasam (Kheer).
- What you should definitely not forget is exercise. Any form of exercise, could be even walking or a favourite game, at least 30 minutes – five times a week or 60 minutes – three times a week, should not be compromised on.
- Idlis – 3 + mint chutney + 1 bowl of papaya + 1 cup of milk
- Dosas – 2 + tomato Chutney + apple milk Shake
For Lunch and Dinner:
- Brown rice - 1 cup + drum stick sambar – 1 cup + ladies finger poriyal (Subzi) – 1 1/2 cups + one small orange + Curds – 1 cup
- Chapathis – 2 + dal – 1 cup + palak paneer + 1 small apple
- Ragi Roti – 2 + green leafy vegetables+ dal + a small banana + butter milk
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