The quintessential question that mothers and working professionals ask – What is a balanced meal? The definition of nutrition has changed over the years with an evolving human population. With the variety of options now available in the kitchen, simple decisions such as preparing breakfast and dinner seem complex. Choosing nutritious ingredients to build a healthy meal needs careful planning. A balanced meal is one that contains the major food groups - protein, fats, carbohydrates and vegetables. An ideal plate should contain 50% vegetables and 16% each of protein, carbs, and fats.
Try and include a variety of vegetables in your meals and on a regular basis. The more colorful the vegetable platter, the increased phytochemicals in them. Phytochemicals contribute to the maintenance of human gastrointestinal health, largely via modulation of the gut microbial balance while simultaneously inhibiting pathogens and stimulating beneficial bacteria. The fiber in vegetables help in better absorption of nutrients in our system.
Proteins are the basic building block of the human body; they help in the repair and regeneration of our cells. Consumption of good quality, complete proteins are essential for the overall wellbeing of the human body. Some good quality protein sources include fish, poultry meat and eggs. With age, muscle mass reduces. Protein consumption helps in restoring and maintaining muscle mass.
These form an integral part of a healthy diet; carbohydrates provide the body with glucose which is converted to energy to support various bodily functions. It is recommended to consume rich, diverse, and complex carbohydrates that have been spared from industrial processing. Examples of complex carbohydrates include whole grain pasta, brown rice, millets and rolled oats.
The body stores fat as an energy source. Fats in food appear in different forms, such as trans, saturated and unsaturated. Consuming the right kind of fat is important for a healthy body. Healthy fats include avocado, nuts, dairy products, and ghee (grass fed).
In addition to the above major food groups, it is also important that water be consumed in sufficient amounts throughout the day and a variety of fruits are included in the diet with moderation.