Once I became a mother, I realized there were no cheat days in motherhood. One had to parent from dawn to dusk and the nights are not kind either. That was when I actually started paying attention to what nutrients went into my plate as opposed to how many calories I was consuming because once the former is taken care of the latter follows. Certain foods made me feel energetic when I consumed them. Having a light meal at regular intervals kept me going. Without consciously trying, I was having a balanced meal for the day and within months I was much fitter and healthier than I ever was before. This makes us question – what is the importance of balanced nutrition for an adult in India?
What exactly is a balanced diet?
A balanced diet contains all the nutrients your body needs for the day in the right proportions. It varies from one individual to another depending on their age and weight and height ratio, i.e., Body Mass Index. Nevertheless, every meal should contain carbohydrates, proteins and fats essential for body function in the right proportions. The body takes its everyday energy requirement from the diet we consume and hence what we eat each day goes on to build our general health status collectively in the long run.
In addition to carbs, proteins and fats, our body also requires vitamins and minerals to function effectively.
What are calories?
Calories are the measured energy that the body gets out of our everyday meals. On an average, an adult requires about 2000 calories to function. This will vary depending on the type of activities they perform throughout the day. Calories consumed through diet are burned by everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs and just going about our life. Thus, it is essential for one to consume enough calories to function without fatigue but at the same time not in excess as it will get stored as fat in our body.
In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, not only does the amount of calories matter but also their source. Whatever that contains energy has calories. For example, 1 kilogram (kg) of coal, for example, contains 7,000,000 calories. When you look at it in term of numbers, the aerated drink might look richer but the calories derived from them are empty calories which do not have any nutritional value and are not contributing to your health in any way.
Importance of a balanced diet:
A healthy diet pattern boosts your energy and aids you to go about your lifestyle at ease. It not only improves your health but also your mood. A nutritious diet, exercise and maintaining one’s body weight is essential for overall health and well-being.
Balanced nutrition and physical activity in adults can prevent a number of chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases.
What is a balanced diet made of?
A balanced diet comprises of 50-60% of carbohydrates such as rice, bread, wheat, etc. 10-15% of proteins such as those derived from pulses and legumes as well as meat and eggs, and 20-30% fats such as cooking oils and butters. In addition, the body requires micro nutrients such as vitamins and minerals and adequate amount of water. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Best practices for consuming a balanced diet:
- Be mindful of what you eat and when you eat it. Take time to eat your food and schedule meals at proper intervals
- Chew your food slowly, this gives enough time for your brain to understand satiety levels and caution you to stop when adequate.
- Eat regularly in small quantities rather than having three large meals spaced apart.
- Add Ensure to your daily diet as per your meal plan. Ensure supplement contains Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), vitamin A, B12 and Folic Acid that can help in overall digestive health.
- Try not to snack after dinner time. Ideally one must retire to bed 3 hours after dinner.
- Did you know that improper sleep patterns make one crave junk food? Avoid snacking on junk food since that gives only empty calories.
With a little bit of care and some mindfulness, you too can have the #StrenghtToLiveNonStop!