For a long time now, we have been hearing about the importance of a balanced diet, and why maintaining a balanced diet is important. So, what is a balanced diet? We know that it means eating healthy, but it does not mean only that. A balanced diet contains the right quantities of all food groups to provide all kinds of nutrition to the individual. Let’s learn more.
1. What Is A Balanced Diet?
2. Why Is A Balanced Diet Important For The Body?
3. What Are The Components Of A Balanced Diet?
4. Foods You Can Eat For A Balanced Diet
5. Calories Needed In A Balanced Diet
6. Sources Of Calories
7. Balanced Diet: FAQs
What Is A Balanced Diet?
Dt Gauri Anand, a Clinical Nutritionist who is working as a diabetic educator, informs us that a balanced diet is a diet that includes all food groups in the right proportion. She says that the famous line ‘Too much of anything is bad is the right way to look at a balanced lifestyle. “Making sure that we have enough nutrients, vitamins, healthy fats, etc. is the good start to living a healthy life,” she says.
She mentions that a good example of a balanced diet would be a bowl of vegetables, fruits and salad being half the plate itself then filling the rest with carbohydrates whether it is rice, chapatti, etc. Making sure there is enough protein and carbohydrates on your plate is essential.
Tip: Learn more about how to fit in foods you like within a balanced meal for better health.
Why Is A Balanced Diet Important For The Body?
Dt Anand says that it is essential for everyone to get the right amount of nutrients their body needs to function well. “With a balanced diet, you consume the right type of nutrients, and hence it makes you lead a healthier and longer life,” she says. A balanced diet enables people to build good immunity and fight away common illnesses much faster. With strong immunity comes better quality of life, Dt. Anand says. You will feel fuller, happier and more content with little.
Following a healthy diet not only makes us physically fitter, but it also improves our mental state. On the other hand, the consumption of a lot of fast food and other types of unhealthy food makes our bodies slow down. “This does not mean we completely disregard our love for fast food and stop eating it. Even though it might not be the best for you on a daily basis, you can allow yourself to splurge once in two weeks,” she suggests.
Tip: A balanced diet is a lifestyle change, not a temporary solution.
What Are The Components Of A Balanced Diet?
A balanced diet needs to have the following components: carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fats, protein, fibre, and water. These seven components should help you figure what you should eat for every meal to maintain optimal health. You can plan and figure your meals in advance with the right proportions to save stress.
- Carbohydrates provide energy and should make up about 60 percent of your diet. If you are engaged in activity all day, then carbohydrate-rich foods.
- Vitamins A, B, C, D are ones you should be looking at closely, although there are many more. Getting these from your diet, especially fruits and vegetables, is vital.
- Minerals help in releasing the energy from the food we eat to promote organ health. Essential ones are iron, calcium, iodine, potassium, and sodium.
- Unsaturated fats are the good fats that the body needs to keep healthy. They help the body to regulate temperature and ensure it absorbs vitamins from the food.
- Protein is one of the most necessary components, it forms the building blocks of the body. Protein helps with building the health of the muscles, skin and hair.
- Fibre not only helps you to feel full after a smaller helping, but it also aids with digestion. In addition, fibre helps maintain cholesterol levels.
- Water is one of the most important blocks and it is necessary to list it since we forget it most of the time! No other drink – fizzy sodas, coffee, tea or juice – can provide the same wellness as water. Apart from hydrating the body, it helps keep everything together. Eight glasses at the very least are needed.
Tip: Flavour your water with various fruits and veggies for extra motivation to drink more.
Foods You Can Eat For A Balanced Diet
Dt. Anand says that the reason any of the below options would work is that each of them has a good content of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. To live a healthy lifestyle, it is necessary for an individual to consume all the required ingredients in the right proportion.
- A bowl of vegetables and legumes, a fruit, a medium-size bowl of rice, a cup of dal and a cup of yoghurt.
- A bowl of legumes, steamed vegetables, two chapattis, a cup of yoghurt and an apple.
- Steamed rajma, a cup of yoghurt, a bowl of red rice, an orange and a cup of dal.
Tip: Plan your meals in advance so you can cover all groups and be satiated.
Calories Needed In A Balanced Diet
The number of calories in food refers to the amount of energy stored in that food. The body needs energy for all daily activities, including walking, thinking, breathing, etc. Although an average adult needs about 2,000 calories to have energy and maintain weight, the amount varies with age, gender and physical activity.
Refer to the chart below to get an idea about your individual intake.
Tip: If you are looking at weight loss, have a calorie deficit. Expend more via exercise than you eat.
Sources Of Calories
Apart from getting the right number of calories, the sources are also important. You should know what empty calories are: Foods that provide mainly calories and very little nutrition. These include cakes, cookies, donuts, processed meats, energy drinks, carbonated drinks, fruit drinks with added sugar, ice cream, chips, fries, pizza from the store, mostly all packaged food.
Tip: Educate yourself on essential ingredients that make your food nutritious.
Balanced Diet: FAQs
Q. What is a balanced diet in short?
A. A balanced diet is a diet that includes all food groups in the right proportion, with a good amount of water. The body needs all types of these food groups and slowly you can modify the quantities depending on your goal. The body needs nutrients and healthy fats, apart from energy. A balanced diet should provide all of that and keep you hydrated.
Q. What should a balanced diet contain?
A. A balanced diet should contain healthy helpings of legumes, vegetables, grains, lean meats, eggs, dairy products, nuts and water.
Q. What are the five main components of a balanced diet?
A. They are proteins, carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, vitamins and fibre.
Q. Is such a diet necessary only for those looking at weight loss?
A. No, says Dt Anand. “Maintaining a balanced diet is required irrespective of whether you want to lose weight, gain weight or are content with the numbers on the scale. With weight loss, you will have to be in a calorie deficit, which means that you will have to increase your protein and legumes and consume fewer carbohydrates. This does not mean starving yourself, it only means eating more high-fibre foods and a lot of protein,” she says. Also, being on a balanced diet is crucial. It makes us happier with how we feel, looks and just our general state of being.