Today, more and more people are being food health conscious. Salad bars are now introduced to fast food chains, and this shows how people nowadays are trying to watch what they eat. This could be attributed to the growing and alarming number of obese people in the US, and now that people are more aware about food health, they are trying to curb their cravings for fatty foods.
However, it’s not just about avoiding oily and fatty foods. It’s about eating the right kind of diet containing all the essential vitamins and minerals that our body needs in order to function properly. Unfortunately, not many people know what a true balanced diet is. As a result, they end up missing out on important nutrients that the body requires.
In order to achieve and maximize our food health, we must consume food from all food groups in the right amounts. This will help us maintain a healthy body weight, and it could prevent or reduce several diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and osteoporosis.
Fruits and vegetables should cover 33 percent of the plate, or at least 5 portions each day. This is to give us the antioxidants, fiber, and essential vitamins our body needs. Food choices that you might want to try include a small dessert bowl of salad, 1 medium carrot or tomato, medium piece of apple, orange, or pear, 6 strawberries, ½ grapefruit or avocado, 2 tbsp vegetables, 2-3 tbsp peas, lentils or beans, or 1 cupful of grapes, berries and cherries.
We should consume at least 5 portions of bread, other cereals and potatoes everyday, making up 33 percent of the plate. These are good sources of energy and fiber. Food health choices for this segment includes 2 tbsp cooked rice, pasta/noodles, 1 bagel, 1 potato (egg-sized), 3 tbsp of cereal flakes, 1 whole wheat cereal biscuit, or 1 small chapatti or pita.
Composing 12 percent of our plate, or about 2 to 3 portions daily are meat, fish, and alternatives. This is important in giving our body iron, zinc and essential fatty acids necessary for brain development, eyesight, concentration, and immunity. This includes 1 to 2 eggs, 2 tbsp peanut butter or nuts, 50 to 100 g of meat, poultry or fish (lean cuts only).
Dairy products and milk make up 15 percent of the plate, and we must take it 3 times a day to give our bodies calcium and strengthen our bones. A small pot of cottage cheese or yogurt would do, as well as 200ml semi-skimmed milk.