Four Corners Of Healthy Living

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A healthy balanced diet is essential for good health.


It is a well-known fact that a healthy, well-balanced diet, with the right proportions of cereal, fruits and veggies, protein-rich foods and fats and sugar are essential for general well-being. 


According to noted certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist Namita Jain, just as a square has four sides, your square meal too must have four parts, and in the right proportions. 


Ideally, cereals, fruits and vegetables should make 55 to 65 per cent of your diet. Protein-rich foods should make 15 to 20 per cent of your diet and fats should consist of 10 to 20 per cent of your diet.


Also, an ideal daily habit of eating three square meals and three to four snacks in between the meals, gives your body the recommended dietary allowance of energy, vitamins and minerals to function optimally. Unless your body’s nutritional requirements are met, deficiencies may start showing up, resulting is common complaints like fatigue, hair fall, breaking nails, baggy eyes, irritability and various skin conditions. 


Instead of letting your body suffer from these easily avoidable ailments, have a diet with all the four food groups, which are cereals, protein-rich foods, fruits and vegetables, and fats and sugar, and with a little bit of care, have these all in the recommended proportions in your diet. There are plenty of options to choose from in each category, to make each of these groups and interesting option to eat from!



Cereals (55% to 65%):


Cereals contain carbohydrates, a source of energy for the body and the brain. Consuming cereals in an unrefined form, such as whole wheat bread instead of white bread, retains the valuable fibre and nutrients in the diet. Grains such as rice, wheat, barley, bajra, millet, jowar and oats, and variants like poha, sooji, upma, noodles, idlis and dosas, fall in this category.



Proteins (15% to 20%):


Ideally, you must consume protein in grams, equivalent to your weight in kilograms. Vegetarians have milk and milk products, pulses, sprouts, nuts, seeds and soya products, while non-vegetarians can have their protein from sources like chicken, fish, meats and eggs.



Vegetables and fruits:


This food group is vital for your vitamin and mineral requirements. The different colors in fruits and vegetables have different nutritional properties, so a mix and match in the colors can give you a broad range of vitamins and minerals. Overcooking destroys natural nutrients, so eat your veggies lightly cooked. Locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables give you added nutrition. Citrus fruits such as oranges and sweet limes, and watermelon are an ideal option for the summer months.



Fats and Sugar (10% to 20%):


As a food group, fat should be consumed in very small quantities — about five teaspoons a day. Fat is needed by the body to build cells, provide energy, preserve body heat and protect the organs from damage. Fat also helps the body absorb Vitamins A, D, E and K. 

Keep your refined sugar consumption to six teaspoons a day. Sugar is naturally available in fruits, in the form of fructose.


Here are some healthy options to convert your favorite fast food into a healthier dish!


Pizza: Ask for a whole wheat crust, less cheese and more vegetables.


Pasta: Have whole wheat pasta with loads of vegetables or chicken, and a light, non-cream based sauce. 


Channa Bhatura: Ask for a tandoori roti or whole wheat bread instead of the deep fried ‘bhatura’.


Frankie: Instead of the refined flour ‘roti’, ask for a whole wheat version, with a light vegetable or chicken filling.


Pic courtesy: http://upload.wikimedia.org

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