It was probably in school that we first heard about a balanced diet. We learned that to feel good, stay healthy, we all should have a balanced diet every day.
Cut to the present – we all want to be healthy and fit and want the same for our family members as well. We mostly eat at home and eat healthily! Or do we?
The truth is that in spite of our best intentions and efforts we are not able to provide/consume balanced meals consistently.
This has resulted in malnutrition and deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients in most people. All of these requirements could have been fulfilled by our home food but somewhere we seem to have lost the plot.
Our traditional systems had taken care of this very well. Our meals are a comprehensive combination of Vegetables (Sabzi), Pulses (Dals), and/or Meats with Bread (Roti, Parantha), Rice along with Salads, Raita, Papad, Pickles, etc.
The Indian food universe is abundant with flavors of various cuisines and sub cuisines all of which contained the principle of providing for/ensuring a balanced meal for everyone.
There are many reasons that can be attributed to this imbalance in our nutritional uptake. Whatever the reasons may be, it is never too late to get back on the right track and take our home-cooked food more seriously.
There are huge benefits to eating a balanced meal.
1. Balanced meals and healthy eating habits help us to maintain normal body functions. These include our nerve functions, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, repair and maintenance functions being carried out by the body to name a few, and the efficient working of all organ systems and micro-systems in our bodies.
2. Maintain a healthy weight; eating wholesome food keeps one’s body weight in a healthy balance as one prevents overeating of any single type of food and maintains the required proportions of all nutrients in the daily meals.
3. Prevention of Diseases; Eating balanced meals reduces the risks of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer, and skeletal conditions. It keeps lifestyle disorders in check and boosts our immunity.
4. Enhances Vigor and Temperament; A well-balanced diet helps in boosting energy levels which helps us to carry our tasks easily resulting in a relaxed state of mind.
5. Provide Relief from Stress & Anxiety; Good nutrition enables satiety and relaxes the mind and helps the body cope better with adverse external or internal factors.
The first step in this direction is to start with Meal Planning.
In India, we like to eat freshly cooked food every day. Breakfast, Lunch & dinner are all important meals for us. Our nutritional requirements also change according to the stage of life we may be at. Instead of deciding what food to make on a meal-to-meal basis, start planning for meals for the next 3-4 days in advance.
This way one will have control over how to include all the important elements (Carbs, Proteins, Vegetables, Fruits, Fat) in the daily diet. One will also be able to avoid repeats of menu or ingredients thus keeping the menus fresh and interesting.
With Meal Planning, one can take care of including family members’ favorite dishes while also ensuring that each meal has the right proportions of the required nutrients, etc.
This will help in making sure that healthy eating does not become boring! With Meal Planning, we can also be healthy, wealthy, and wise!