What Is A Balanced Diet? Definition, Tips And Guide
WHAT IS A BALANCED DIET
People around us have common questions regarding balanced diet such as; Is fat harmful, if weight is normal? Are three meals healthier than one? Are green vegetables better than fruits? Should we eat three, five or nine fruits daily? Is a balanced diet best for our health?
The traditional answers to these questions may prove to be wrong because of complex interaction between eating and health. So we all need a diet which full fills all our body needs to its fullest.
Your diet is what you eat every day. Your diet should contain all the nutrients including; carbohydrates, fats, proteins, mineral salts, vitamins, water and fiber. A diet containing all of these substances in suitable proportions is what you call a balanced diet. We are all different from each other; hence the balanced diet may vary for different people.
DIET REQUIREMENTS FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE
- Children and young people need more protein in their diet than older people because they are still growing so protein is needed to build new cells.
- A young girl who has a very active life will need as much as energy in her diet as a boy of the same age but older girls tends to need less energy than older boys.
- People such as office workers will need less energy in their diet so their consumption of carbohydrates and fats are low reducing the risk of obesity.
- People such as athletes or people with energetic jobs such as laborers need a lot of carbohydrates and fats to provide them the high energy they need for their very demanding jobs.
HEALTHY FOOD GUIDE
Balanced eating for good health should contain a low fat meals and suitable proportions of carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins, fiber and water.
Fruits and vegetables: Greater than six pieces of fruits with skins. A significant portion of pulses, beans and lightly cooked vegetables per day.
Meat and alternatives: Meat to be cooked without additional fat, white meat (poultry without skin) and fish meat are encouraged.
Fat and sugary foods: Avoid extra fat while cooking (you can grill, boil, steam or bake and avoid frying). Fatty spreads such as butters should be kept minimum and snack foods such as packet chips, biscuits, sweets and cakes are to be avoided.
Vitamins: Meat and vegetables are a source of vitamins A. While vitamin C can be obtained from citrus fruits, milk and vegetables. Vitamin D is obtained from fatty foods such as; dairy products, oily fish and egg yolk.
Fiber: 14grams per 1000kcal of fiber is recommended for children and adults.
Starchy foods: Breads, potatoes, rice, pasta etc. form the main starch energy source.
Refined sugars: Use fruits to add sweeteners. Low sugar drinks should be consumed. A 330ml can of normal carbonated soft drink can have 10 teaspoons or 40grams of refined sugar.
Fish: Go for fishes that are rich in omega-3 fatty acid.
Milk: This is a good source of protein and calcium.
Mineral salts: To be consumed from dates, pomegranates, dark green vegetables and red meat.
Water: At least 8-10 glasses for women and 12-15 glasses for men.