Our lives are so fast paced that we crave for instant results. We desire an instant growth in our career , a quick financial rise or an instant weight loss. In this era of social media we often fall prey to innumerable number of fad diets. Not only are the results of these fad diets short lived but also can cause immense agony and serious long term medical disorders. It is therefore time to understand nutrition and the importance of a balanced diet.
Nutrition is the process of obtaining the food that is necessary for health and growth. All our activities like walking, running, working for that matter even breathing and sleeping need energy. This energy is provided by the food we consume throughout the day.
The nutrients or the food we consume can be divided into macronutrients and micronutrients. The macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Carbohydrate is the major energy provider essential for our body, either coming from sugars (glucose, lactose- milk sugar, fructose- fruit sugar) or that is derived from starchy foods like grains, bread, cereals or vegetables. Depending on age a major portion of our plate should consist of carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates like sugary sweets, pastries, ice creams, aerated drinks, fruit juices, however should be avoided .
Proteins are the building blocks of our body. They are the immunity builders and also concerned with growth, wear and tear. Chicken, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, Broccoli, Almonds, pulses; sprouts are rich in proteins and should constitute a significant chunk of our diet.
Fats are fuel sources and major form of reserve energy .Unsaturated fats can be derived from vegetable oils, Soya bean and olive oil are healthier forms compared to saturated fats derived from butter or meat.
Micronutrients form the other major component of our nourishment. They consist of minerals and vitamins. These are called micro as they are needed in very small quantities. The best way of incorporating various micronutrients in our diet is to include fruits and vegetables of different colors.
A balanced diet is therefore the inclusion of all these nutrients, macronutrients as well as micronutrients ,in our diet in the right proportion for optimal health and well being. Our plate should therefore look something like this:
Consciously developing healthy eating habits is the key to maintaining long term health goals. Here are some dietary modifications which are easy to incorporate.
1) Never skip breakfast. Beginning your day with wholesome breakfast will give you the necessary boost in energy to take on the day. Choose homemade options like idli, upma, paratha, over packed food like corn flakes. Adding an egg in any form or milk with a cereal like a porridge will make a complete meal.
2) Carry a fruit and some nuts with you. It is easier to munch on them during long working hours.
And are way better than chips or vadapav!
3) Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Incorporate a mix of different colored vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. This will provide the essential micronutrients.
4) Inculcate the habit of a family dinner at the dining table – put away your mobiles and switch off the television. Chew well. Feel the texture, smell the aroma and taste the flavors. Not only will you enjoy your meal but you will have better portion control.
5) Substitute to healthier options – choose baking , steaming, roasting over frying . Choose whole wheat over refined flour, cold pressed oils over refined oils, natural sugars over refined sugars and complex carbohydrates like whole grains over simple carbohydrates like sugars or starchy foods. Eat the whole fruit instead of fruit juice so as to get the fiber.
6) Stay away from aerated drinks and caffeine- instead opt for fresh buttermilk, coconut water, lime juice or simply sip on water!
With rising number in Diabetes, Cancer , Obesity and many such disorders it is of paramount importance that we look into our nutrition, eat sensibly, exercise moderately and sleep adequately in order to prevent them . The key word today is “lifestyle modification “for there is no short cut to good health !
MBBS DOMS FRCS MBA
Founder, NUTRICHEF ENTERPRISE
Home delivered deliciously healthy meals