Medical Reviewed by Shanmukha Priya,M.Phil and Ph.D. in Food Science and Nutrition
All of us deserve a good life and if it can be made healthy, that is like a cherry on top of the cake. But how do you make your life healthy? That is where we help you with. There is no way you build a healthy living without a balanced diet chart and here is the way you make one.
A balanced diet is a diet that gives your body all the nutrients required, in order to function correctly. Appropriate knowledge and lifestyle modification play a key role in guiding you for maintaining a balanced diet chart and healthy life ahead.
A balanced diet is not a crash diet. It is a well-planned diet that aims at covering all the important macro-nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fat along with micro-nutrients which include vitamins and minerals.
“Good nutrition- an adequate, well-balanced diet combined with regular physical activity- is a cornerstone of good health”- World Health Organisation.
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What is a balanced diet chart?
A balanced diet chart is a representation of a healthy diet chart that comprises of all the required nutrients. It includes all the food groups and ensures that we are getting everything that our body needs through our diet.
It is a guideline that gives us the right food choices for optimal health.
Importance of a Balanced Diet Chart
Various studies have been conducted to evaluate the health benefits of nutritious, well-balanced diet along with its impact on prolonging wellness and even longevity.
A balanced diet chart is of utmost importance for the body to function properly.
- It provides essential micronutrients viz. vitamins and minerals to maintain the cells, tissues, and organs.
- A balanced diet chart also helps in maintaining a healthy weight, reduces body fat, provides your body with energy, and eventually gives a feeling of well-being.
- A balanced diet chart keeps you on track, helping in healthy lifestyle modification.
Tip: Choose a variety of coloured fruits and vegetables like the colours of the rainbow. Remember fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat while providing fiber and key nutrients that keep us healthy.
Components of a Balanced Diet Chart
1. Vitamins and Minerals
These are body protecting nutrients. They regulate body metabolism and protect against infections, deficiency diseases and any metabolic imbalance.
Make sure to include multi-colored, whole fruits and vegetables that are a treasure of minerals and vitamins.
Food & Vegetables provide key nutrients that keep us healthy. Similarly, vegetables such as dark green leafy veggies should be included in your meal. Adding a variety of veggies like broccoli, spinach, beans, lettuce, etc to your meal will help you in getting the bountiful nutrients required for the body.
This nutrient is associated with bodybuilding, growth, and development. This is required to help your body repair cells and make new ones.
According to Harvard Medical School, about 20% of your daily diet should consist of protein found in pulses like whole grams, dals, chickpeas, peas, lentils, beans, peanuts, milk, eggs, fish, and meat.
Protein also plays an important role in growth and development during the early stages of childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy.
This nutrient is equally necessary as associated with energy giving and sustainability. The voluntary and involuntary functions of the body are well-regulated with the efficient supply of energy in the form of glucose.
Consume complex carbohydrates which include whole grains such as brown rice, wheat, ragi, jowar, bajra, oatmeal, quinoa, and potatoes among others. Hence, carbs should not be avoided and it should be a part of your daily diet.
Fats play an important role in providing energy, circulation of vitamins and hormone synthesis. Include more of fats which are high in unsaturated fatty acids like MUFA and PUFA that provides essential fatty acids as in sunflower oil, fish oil, nuts and seeds.
Also, while cooking, you can go for unrefined or cold pressed oil which has a higher nutritional value than the unrefined oil.
Well! You may say that, why do you have to maintain a diet chart? Is the current food that you are having is not right? Because you have been consuming that since years and you are totally fine.
We totally understand you when you say that! But before you doubt further on the chart, see if you have all the below 10 essentials included in your daily diet.
10 Ways to Maintain a Balanced Diet Chart
Now that you are already aware of the importance of having a balanced diet chart, we bring to you 10 of the simplest ways to work on your meals, lifestyle and eating habits in order to enjoy a balanced healthy life.
1. Follow the correct mealtime
A diet chart comprises of 5 small meals in a day with a gap of 3 hours between each meal. A gap of more than 3 hours will increase the stress hormones cortisol that will let the body store fat in the belly.
If these meals are eaten in proper time it will keep the cortisol levels in check and thus reducing belly fat. Food eaten at the right time will also help in better digestion.
2. Be physically active during the day
If you are physically active during the day it will help you in reducing weight and you will feel less lethargic. Diet alone is not sufficient when it comes to achieving ideal health. With the input of calories, it is essential for its release as well so as to maintain the balance.
3. Maintain a list of healthy foods
Research and gather knowledge about the foods and their nutrient content. This will give you an idea of the foods that are nutritious and meeting your health requirements.
Also, this will help in wise grocery shopping with healthy foods as per the availability and accessibility.
4. Replace processed foods with fruits and veggies
For example, tinned vegetables or breakfast cereals being the main culprit for weight gain. Similarly, prefer having whole fruits rather than having market available fruit juices.
According to the British Medical Journal, with 10% increment of ultra-processed food in the diet, increases the chances of cancer detection by 12%.
Processed foods are unhealthy and contain added sugar, salt, and fat. They also contain preservatives and additives that can lead to life-threatening consequences like cancer. Therefore, prefer more fruits, vegetables, and home- cooked food.
5. Include more Proteins
If you want to lose weight, add more proteins to your diet as protein takes more time and energy to break down in the body. Protein intake of 0.8-1 gram per kg body weight helps in weight loss and maintaining healthy muscle mass as well.
This is attributed to:
- High satiety value
- High thermic value
- Regulation of hormones
You can include snacks like sprouts, peanuts, greek yogurt and seeds instead of chips to fulfill your protein requirement. You can even opt for a healthier source of protein from Possible’s wide range of products.
6. Include milk and milk products
Dairy products are the best source of calcium that is essential for healthy bones and is also necessary for regulating muscle contraction. If your calcium intake is inadequate, you might suffer from osteoporosis and various bone diseases.
7. Have the required carbs
It is wise to choose the required amount of carbs needed for the body. Most of the carbohydrates are present in plant foods like pulses, cereals, and millets.
Your healthy diet chart should mainly consist of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, brown rice, oats, lentils, fruits, and vegetables.
They are rich in fiber which keeps you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. Researches have proved that regular intake of fiber ensures healthy prevention of metabolic disorders like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
8. Reduce the fat intake
Decrease the intake of fats, specifically the one rich in saturated fats, as too much of it can lead to weight gain and other related health problems. For example butter, margarine and solid fats.
The required amount of fats needed for the body totally depends on the foods that you are consuming. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, the fat requirement for an adult man and woman is around 20 grams.
While cooking, you can go for unrefined or cold pressed oil which has a higher nutritional value than the unrefined oil.
9. Cut down sugar in your tea/coffee
Sugar is the lead villain to increase your waistline in the body. Sugar is addictive like a drug to most of the people, who like to add sweet sugar to their favorite foods.
Too much consumption of sugar may cause diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, obesity among many lifestyle disorders.
10. Remove ‘Salt’ from your table
Eating too much salt, causes the extra water to store in your body that raises the blood pressure. According to a review published by Harvard School of Public Health, the excess intake of salt and sodium has a negative health impact on heart, arteries, kidneys, and brain.
This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, dementia, and kidney disease. Also, sodium in salt also causes water retention that makes your body fluffy and heavy. With the change in requirements, the pattern and customization of balanced diet chart also vary among men and women.
Nutritionist Recommended Balanced Diet for Women
A woman’s nutritional requirements differ from men. For example, a woman requires more iron than man due to her monthly menstrual cycles.
Here is a healthy diet chart planned by Possible Nutritionist, Shunmukha Priya herself. This chart contains 5 meals that will also help in maintaining a weight loss diet plan for women.
This can be followed by a glass of milk with elaichi before bedtime for a sufficient supply of amino acids and healthy blood parameters regulation.
Nutritionist Recommended Balanced Diet for Men
Men should have a proper healthy diet that will help build up their stamina and keep them active throughout the day.
Here’s a weight loss diet plan for men recommended by Possible Nutritionist, Shunmukha Priya, that will give balanced nutrition.
A well-balanced diet chart is not just a piece of paper or some designed table, it is a guiding tool that ensures healthy you and your future. Therefore, maintaining healthy diet chart is maintaining your health and future ahead.
Now that you have read all the essential foods and activities that comprise a balanced diet chart, ask yourself if all these essentials are present in your daily diet today. These are not just foods that will make your body great, but the necessary needs that fulfils your body cravings.
Yes! You may savour all the junk food and assume that you feel great within, but eventually leading to bad immunity, obesity and many other chronic diseases. You may not want that, and we do not want that for you. Let us help the nation get fit, starting from you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do you eat a balanced diet?
A. In order to eat a balanced diet, the following points should be kept in mind
- Choose healthy alternatives of foods.
- Include foods from all the food groups.
- Keep a check on meal portions.
- Avoid added sugar and packaged foods.
- Keep a variety on your plate.
Q. How do you eat properly?
A. Eating properly isn’t just about the food but also about the following points
- Don’t skip meals.
- Always follow a balanced diet.
- Eat more veggies and fruits.
- Avoid aerated beverages
Q. What should I eat in diet?
A. The following foods will not only help in maintaining a proper diet but also help in weight loss
- Leafy vegetables
- Whole eggs
- Beans and legumes