Food Balancing for Good Health
Category : Food
What is Food balancing?
The term food balancing means to give people a practical message about healthy eating. It will reduce the confusion about what healthy eating really means. Food balancing is the balance of foods in the diet and to make people understand and enjoy healthy eating. It means that people don’t have to give up the foods they most enjoy for the sake of their health but just eat some in smaller quantities or less frequently. Variety and a change towards more vegetables, fruit, bread, breakfast cereals, potatoes, rice and pasta are what matters. The food balancing for Good Health is based on the following Guidelines for a Healthy Diet:
? Enjoy your food.
? Eat a variety of different foods.
? Eat the right amount to be a healthy weight.
? Eat plenty of foods rich in fibre.
? Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
? Don’t eat too many foods that contain a lot of fat.
? Don’t have sugary foods and drinks too often.
The basis of ‘Food Balancing for Good Health’
Food provides nutrients to help the body work properly. No single food contains them in the amounts needed, so a mixture of foods has to be eaten. Food Balancing for Good Health makes healthy eating easier to understand by showing the types and proportion of foods needed to make a well-balanced and healthy diet. It is based on the five commonly accepted food groups, which are:
? Bread, cereals and potatoes.
? Fruit and vegetables.
? Milk and dairy.
? Meat fish and alternatives.
? Foods containing fat; foods and drinks containing sugar.
People should choose a variety of foods from the first four groups every day. It will help to ensure that they obtain the wide range of nutrients their bodies need to remain healthy and function properly. Choosing different foods from within each group adds to the range of nutrients consumed. Foods in the fifth group – foods containing fat and foods containing sugar – are not essential to a healthy diet, but add choice and palatability. The main nutrients provided by each food group are shown in the table below :-
Try to eat whole meal, wholegrain, brown or high fibre versions where possible. Avoid having fried food too often e.g. chips and adding too much fat e.g. thickly spread butter, margarine or low fat spread on bread. Eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Cook meat, chicken or fish without adding fat. Beans and pulses are good alternatives to meat as they are naturally very low in fat.
Foods containing fat such as cakes, biscuits, pastries and ice cream should be limited and low fat alternatives chosen where available. All foods and drinks containing sugar should be eaten mainly at mealtimes to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Combination or composite foods
Much of the food people eat is in the form of dishes or meals with more than one kind of food in them. To make healthy choices, people will need to identify the main food items or ingredients in combination foods and think about how these fit with the proper proportions.
For example If the pizza is eaten with additional fruit and veg’ foods such as a mixed salad, peas or broccoli and followed by a piece of fresh fruit, the meal would provide a balance of foods.
Hoe much food do people need?
People differ in the amount of energy (calories) they require and that is what affects the amount of food, in total, that individuals need. However much people need, the proportion of food from the different groups should remain the same. For example, someone with a low daily energy requirement of, say, 1200 calories would need the same proportions of food from the five food groups as someone with a high daily requirement of, say, 3000 calories.
Things that affect people’s overall energy needs are:
Gender – Women tend to need less energy than men.
Age – Older adults need less energy than adolescents and young adults.
Being overweight – Being heavier than the healthy weight range for an individual’s height means less energy is required to achieve a healthy weight.
Physically very active person – The more active people are, the greater their energy needs.
What about vitamin and mineral supplements?
In last 30 – 40 years our habitat has undergone tremendous changes. The basic inputs to human body – Air, Water and Food have become highly polluted, adulterated and nutritionally deficient. In addition, stress and strain levels have also gone up manifold. The pollutants, adulterants and the toxins generated within the body due to stress and strain are non-desirable elements entering the body. The body has to generate additional energy to eliminated,neutralize and flush out the abovementioned non-desirable elements from the body. Thus, every human body requires additional organic food supplements to maintain healthy living. The requirement can be ascertained from your nutritional supplement advisor.
Everyone should drink plenty of fluid – six to eight cups, mugs or glasses a day. Drinks containing sugar such as fruit juices, some squashes and carbonated drinks should not be drunk too frequently because they can contribute to tooth decay. The regular use of good quality toothpaste protects the teeth.
The following diet gives you a balanced meal plan along with some interesting ideas to help include healthy foods into your Children’s diet and make meal times fun for both you and your child.