A balanced diet is one that gives your body the nutrition it needs to function properly. In order to get truly balanced nutrition, a person should obtain the majority of your daily calories from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
A diet based on starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta; with plenty of fruit and vegetables; some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and lentils; some milk and dairy foods; and not too much fat, salt or sugar, will give you all the nutrients you need.
When it comes to a healthy diet, balance is the key to getting it right. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
The balanced diet consists of all the major food items namely Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats and oils, Vitamins and Minerals.
Generally, many children in developing countries are unable to meet their dietary needs and thus suffer from malnutrition.
A good plate of food should consist of
- plenty of fruit and vegetables
- plenty of starchy foods, such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
- some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
- some milk and dairy foods
- a small amount of food and drinks that are high in fat and/or sugar
A plate of food described above is readily not available to children under the age of 5 in developing countries.
NEED FOR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals.
Doctors and Nutritionists have advised that we should eat at least five portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. There is evidence that people who eat at least five portions a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Furthermore, eating five portions is easy as long as fruits are in season. In Nigeria, we are lucky that at any point in time in a year, some fruits are in season. The fruit in season could be Oranges, Grape fruits, Banana, Pear, Water melon, Tangerine or Tangelo, Mangoes, Pine apple and so many more. Vegetables can also be produced all year round by irrigation.
HOW TO ENSURE CONSUMPTION OF FRUITS 5 TIMES/DAY
Taking fruits and vegetables five times a day is not difficult to achieve. It requires determination and planning. For instance, the 5 A day can be achieved as follows:
- take a few slices of banana with your breakfast cereal
- take a slice of pine-apple or water melon at mid-day
- take an apple with your lunch
- take half a cucumber with your light evening meal
- Add a little salad to your dinner.
MAKING A SMOOTHIE
A smoothie is a thick beverage made from blended raw fruit and/or vegetables, with other ingredients such as water, ice, dairy products, ice cream, sweeteners or Yoghurt.
Smoothies are made by blending into a thick drink using all of the fruit – except for the skin and seed. Smoothies are very good for the body because the fibre from the fruit provides sustenance, filling you up and this gets your bowels moving. Some people take smoothies as part of a calorie controlled diet.
In order to make delicious smoothie, you can add ice cream or Yoghurt to the mixture with plenty of ice blocks.
Smoothies could be a combination of two or more fruits as you desire. Smoothies are the colour of the combination of fruits and vegetables.
I encourage you all to take smoothies, at least a big cup daily.