About Healthy Nutrition
Planning balanced Meals
Principles of Healthy Eating
- Eat a variety of different foods. No one food contains all the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals you need for good health, so you have to eat a range of different foods.
- Eat staple foods with every meal. Staple foods should make up the largest part of a meal. These foods are relatively cheap and supply a good amount of carbohydrates and some proteins. Staples include cereals (such as rice, maize, millet, wheat and oats), pulses (such as lentils, beans, chick peas and barley) and starchy roots (such as potatoes and cassava). Unrefined staples like whole grains, brown unpolished rice, millet, barley and potatoes provide more sustained energy over a longer period of time and are also a good source of protein and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. Refined foods like white rice and white flour have much less nutrients and fibre.
- Eat legumes every day. These foods provide a person with the proteins needed to develop and repair the body and also to build up strong muscles. They are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre and help to keep the immune system active. Legumes include beans, peas, lentils, groundnuts (including peanut butter) and soybeans. When eaten with staple foods the quality of protein is increased. Legumes are a cheaper protein source than animal foods, such as beef and chicken, and should be eaten every day, if possible.
- Eat vegetables and/or fruits every day. Vegetables and fruits are an important part of a healthy and balanced meal. They supply the vitamins and minerals that keep the body functioning and the immune system strong. Eat a wide variety as each one provides different vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.
- Use little fats and sugar. Fats, oils and sugars are good sources of energy and play an important part in a healthy and balanced diet. Even small amounts can provide lots of energy. Fats include butter, lard, margarine, cooking oil (vegetable, coconut and palm oil) and coconut cream. They are also found in avocados, oilseeds (sunflower, groundnut and sesame), fatty meat and fish, curds and cheese. It is important to learn how to distinguish between good fats and bad fats. Sugars and sugary foods include honey, jam, table sugar, cakes and biscuits. Indian jaggery and raw sugar cane are the healthiest and easiest substitutes for white sugar. Although fats and sugars are good sources of energy, they are not rich in other nutrients. They should therefore be eaten moderately in addition to other foods, not instead of them.
- Eat animal and milk products regularly. Foods from animals and fish should also be eaten as often as you can afford them but not in excess as they interfere with the cholesterol level. They supply good-quality proteins, vitamins and minerals and extra energy. They will help to strengthen muscles and the immune system. These foods include all forms of meat, poultry (birds), fish, eggs and dairy products such as milk, sour milk, buttermilk, yoghurt and cheese. If insects, such as caterpillars or grasshoppers, are part of your diet, they also provide good nutrients.
- Eat the right amount of food to keep a healthy weight and exercise regularly. The correct amount of food for an individual will depend on sex, height, age and lifestyle as well as other factors. Choose foods that provide lots of nourishment but are low in fat.
16 December, 2017