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6 Ways To Keep Your Daily Meal Nutritious And Well-Balanced

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6 Ways To Keep Your Daily Meal Nutritious And Well-Balanced

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Poor nutrition can lead to many health hazards. Both obesity and malnutrition are two different ends of the spectrum of poor nutrition. According to a World Health Organization article dated April 2020, around 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight, while 462 million are underweight. Experts have even pointed out that poor nutrition has now become a bigger health hazard than smoking. The United Nations has labelled the decade of 2016–25 as the “Decade of Action on Nutrition.”

How To Ensure Your Meal Is Balanced 

“A balanced diet can be defined as ‘food that contains adequate nutrients required by the body to grow, remain healthy, and be disease-free. In addition, a healthy, balanced diet provides the necessary energy requirement, protects against vitamin, mineral, and other nutritional deficiencies, and builds up immunity,” says Dr Meghana Pasi, Nutrition Consultant, MyThali Program, ArogyaWorld. She shares a few ways that can help you keep your meals balanced and nutritious.

1. Include all the food groups in your meal: A well-balanced diet includes foods from all food groups in adequate quantities and proportions. Such a diet provides all the essential nutrients to our body at adequate levels, says Dr Meghana Pasi. “Cereals and grains are rich in carbohydrates, which give us instant energy; pulses are rich in proteins; vegetables and fruits are rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals; milk and milk products are rich in good-quality proteins, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D; and vegetable oils are rich in healthy fats and they help in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K,” shares Dr Pasi. 

2. Limit the intake of processed foods and sugar: Sugar and processed foods are high in calories and lack essential nutrients. “Sugars should account for less than 5% of the total calorie intake for significant health benefits. Be mindful of food labels to identify hidden sugars and choose natural sweeteners like honey, dates, cardamom, jaggery and fruit pulp. Further, opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible,” says Dr Pasi.

Also Read: High Blood Sugar Control: How To Manage Diabetes In Winter – 10 Key Points

3. Control your portions: Pay attention to portion sizes to prevent overeating and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Balancing your portions of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can help regulate calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight, Dr Pasi says.

4. Plan your meals: Prepare a weekly meal plan that covers a variety of food groups, and then create a shopping list based on your plan. This allows you to make healthier choices by cutting out less nutritious options.

5. Snack Healthy: Grab a handful of nuts and a fruit when hungry at mid-morning or during snack time. “Nuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, flavonoids, antioxidants, and minerals while fruits are a great source of fibre, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, beta carotene and antioxidants,” says Dr Pasi. 

6. Stay Hydrated: Hydrate your body by having water, nimbu pani, coconut water, buttermilk or green tea in place of tea, coffee or aerated drinks. Water supports digestion, and nutrient absorption, and helps regulate body temperature. Instead of sugary beverages, opt for water as your primary choice of hydration, Dr Pasi advises.

As the nutrition consultant points out, it’s important to note that small, sustainable changes can lead to long-term positive outcomes for our health.

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