With so many different diets making the rounds, it can get a bit confusing to know what needs to be on your food plate. Eating a well-balanced diet is important for one to be healthy and to get the energy to succeed in one’s life goals. As many of your meals (especially lunch and dinner) should look like the plate below.
The simple guidelines below can help you make you meal a well-balanced one:
- 50% of the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. Any percentage combination between the two is okay but it’s good to remember that fruits contain more sugar. The more the veggies and greater the variety, the better it is! Potatoes, potato-based foods like fries, yams and colocasia do not count as veggies (Add them in the grains category). Your veggies can be raw or cooked as per your preference. Have whole fruits and veggies and stay away from juices.
- 30% of the plate should consist of cereals and grains. Incorporate whole grains, wheat & cereals, oats, corn, brown rice, baked potatoes. Read food labels on packaged foods to determine the word “whole”. Stay away from refined grains like maida as much as possible.
- 20% of the plate must incorporate good quality proteins. Vegetarian sources include all types of dals and legumes. Non-vegetarian sources include eggs and lean meats such as chicken, fish and other sea food. It’s a good idea to stay away from red meats such as pork and beef which are full of saturated fats & processed meats that provide large amounts of sugar and sodium.
- Add a portion of dairy- i.e. curd, soy and soy products, paneer, low fat cheese, skim milk or toned milk.
At the end of the day,
- Ensure that ½ your plate is always filled with fruits and veggies for fiber and micronutrients.
- Eat at least 30% of grains & cereals (fat) and 20% of protein at each meal.
- Ensure to have at least 1-1.5 teaspoons of healthy vegetable oil such as canola, sunflower, safflower, groundnut, olive at each meal. Stay away from butter. Ghee and vanaspati.
- Add a beverage 30 minutes before or after each meal. Opt for water or dairy beverages over sweetened juices.
- Add fresh fruits at gaps between your meals.
Meal planning for self and for the family should be easy and fun. The above tips should help you be more efficient and allow your family to eat and be healthy.