Raise your hands if you or anyone you know is suffering from Vit D/Vit B12/Calcium/Iron or any other deficiency or from Blood Pressure or Diabetes?
Looks like we all know a few people like that!
Most of these are what are called Lifestyle Disorders and can be checked/managed by having a balanced diet and a fit lifestyle.
Research has shown that a large number of healthy-looking urban Indians are suffering from malnutrition resulting in vitamins, minerals, or micronutrient deficiency. Malnourishment in India is usually discussed as a problem of the disadvantaged, rural population. But there is significant evidence linking malnutrition to better-off, urban populations which surprisingly also face rising rates of obesity and diseases emanating from those conditions.
Studies indicate that the food people eat every day is only catering to a small amount of the actual requirement of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients and the said deficiencies mainly result from an inadequate diet.
The popular diet of Indian families consists of cereal/pulse-based foods. There is no significant or consistent consumption of foods rich in vitamins such as vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. It is a fact that no single food item or food group can satisfy the requirements of all the micronutrients.
Hence, having diversity (a variety of fruits, vegetables, leafy vegetables, dairy products, nuts, germinated seeds, protein sources) in the foods that we consume will meet our dietary requirements of nutrients, etc.
Meal planning enables everyone to make a plan of meals with optimal nourishment and nutrition for every member of the family within the available resources.
Let us be honest. How much thought is being given each day to plan and ensure balanced, nutritious, and healthy meals for the family, consistently?
Reducing sugar/salt/oil intake/ having salads and soups/ choosing roasted over fried foods etc does not count as having a balanced and nutritious meal. These are steps that one takes to avoid/manage certain health conditions and achieve fitness goals viz., weight loss/gain, etc.
Most of our effort in deciding daily menus for ourselves each day goes towards managing family’s expectations of taste, preferences, our convenience, and familiarity of recipes/ingredients to be cooked and hence we continue to operate in our comfort zones (stress included) while taking care of our other responsibilities!
Pardon us for saying so, but the effort is more on making sure everyone is fed and happy rather than making sure that everyone is getting balanced nutrition from daily meals consistently.
Unfortunately, eating healthy is assumed to be eating boring food, which is why it is not popular. Though all it essentially means is to eat balanced meals as described above and observing portion control. It is as simple as that.
It is a fact that healthy food can also be cooked in interesting ways and there are a plethora of such recipes available on the Internet for everyone to see and try!
Our country is blessed with a diversity of cuisines, ingredients, and food cultures. Our dining tables are increasingly showing how our individual/family’s food culture is evolving with the inclusion of more and different cuisines (including but not limited to Indian) in our meals.
It is possible to have interesting, balanced, and nutritious meal plans by exploring and incorporating Meal Planning into our routines. It may seem to be difficult initially but one just has to get used to it and adopt it in their lifestyle!
Meal Planning is the first (and the most important) step towards good health.
Say hello to good health and start with Meal Planning!