We eat daily, but most of us don’t stop to think about what we are consuming. Diet is a modifiable risk factor that has been associated with numerous health problems including heart disease and diabetes. Let’s start by understanding the nutrients that our body requires.
There are 5 main food groups. Enjoying a variety from these groups allows us to be healthy.
What makes up a balanced diet?
- Fruit – Fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. It can be easily consumed as a snack with its natural sugars and low fat content. You should aim to eat a variety of fruits, different colours = different nutrients.
- Vegetables – Raw or cooked, you’ve got to have your share of greens. They are the primary sources of vitamins and minerals. There’s a wide variety so you can make your pick but remember, like fruits, look for different colours.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are inexpensive and fresh. So look out for the Sunday pola.
- Grains – here’s the catch: foods made of refined grains have additives. It is ideal to eat whole grains. Making that change would provide you with more of the good stuff like fibre and proteins.
- Protein – our bodies are primarily made of proteins so it is no surprise that a good amount of proteins are required to get us geared up. Processed meat isn’t the best option here. Lean meats, poultry, egg, milk are all good sources of protein. Processed meat isn’t the best option here as they contain numerous additives. There are plant-based protein sources too.
- Dairy – dairy and their alternatives contain calcium which is important for assisting in the development of strong bones. The goal here should be to acquire the nourishment; avoiding versions that have high quantities of fat and sugar.
So, then, there you have it! A balanced meal; a meal that comprises of portions of the preceding food groups.
What’s in it for you?
If you are wondering why a balanced diet is important, read on.
- Fulfills the body’s energy requirements for daily functioning, it is called “balanced” after all.
- Makes it easier to avoid food without nutritional value, aka, junk.
- Protects the body from being prone to illnesses, fatigue