A balanced diet is a diet that contains all the nutrients ( macro and micro) in the right amount which is required by the body. Eating a balanced diet is key to maintaining good health and keeping our body in optimum condition. A balanced diet consists of a wide variety of food to support the body and keep the body energetic, motivated, and healthy. A well-balanced diet provides good physical and mental health to an individual. There are some major nutrients which comprise in a balanced diet are as follow:
- Carbohydrates:- They are a very important part of a balanced diet. Being the main source of energy, 50-60% of calories are derived from the carbohydrates which are present in plant sources like cereals, millets, and pulses. Carbohydrates are of two types simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates contain pasta, biscuits, bread, refined flour, etc which doesn’t contain fiber, have a high glycemic index, and lead to weight gain. Also, they are digested by the body more quickly. Complex carbohydrates contain whole grains and millets like wheat, jowar, barley, ragi, etc, oats that contain fiber, have a low glycemic index and help in weight reductions also.
- Protein:- It helps in the growth and development of muscles and repairs the old tissues. Our diet should consist of about 30-35% of proteins which could be in the form of pulses, egg, chicken, milk, and milk products.
- Fats:- Most of the people think that fats in the diet only leads to weight gain, but it’s not true. Fat is the macronutrients that play an important role in our body. Fats provide energy, store vitamins, and synthesize hormones. Our diet should contain about 15-20% calories from fat. This fat should contain polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and omega fatty acids. They can be found in olive oil, mustard oil, groundnuts oil, sesame oil, soybean oil, etc. consumption of fats like ghee, butter, vanaspati should be minimum as they contain saturated fatty acids. It is suggested to have a good blend of various types of oil for a healthy balanced diet.
- Vitamins and minerals:- They are the micronutrients that support metabolism, nerves, muscle functions, bone maintenance, and nerve functions. Minerals are inorganic therefore, minerals from plants, fish, and meat find their way itself in the body. Vitamins can be derived from nuts, oilseeds, fruits, and vegetables.
- Water:- Water plays an important role in the body. It provides roughage to the body. It helps in clearing the bowel moments. Less consumption of water may lead to acidity and water retention. Therefore optimum consumption of water i.e 12-15 glasses/ day is required to keep the body hydrated.
To maintain a healthy balanced diet and to run the body smoothly we should require three main meals i.e breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with healthy snacking to curb the craving. We should take care that our breakfast should be a little heavy as compared to lunch and dinner and healthy as it provides us with fuel for the whole day. It is the first meal of the day which should be healthy and can contain oats, eggs, wheat flakes with milk, etc instead of only toast. While dinner should be lightest.