Balanced diet is a way of maintaining good health, and growth. it actually means the act of eating a variety of foods in right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. A balanced diet is important because the organs and tissues need proper nutrition to work effectively. A healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrients, fluids, adequate amino acids from protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fibre and adequate calories.
Without good nutrition, the body is prone to diseases, infections, fatigue and poor performance. Children with a poor diet are at the risk of growth and developmental problems, poor academic performance, and bad eating habits which can persist for the rest of their lives. Obesity and diabetes are examples of a poor diet and a lack of exercise. The leading causes of death are directly influenced by diet. And they are:
- Heart diseases
Balanced Diet Tips
- Divide your plate: Vegetables should fill half the plate. The other half is divided into two equal portions (quarters). One should be filled with lean protein and the other half with a whole-grain or starchy vegetable.
- Calculate your calories: Eating a balanced diet means not only getting enough of specific nutrients, such as vitamin C and beta carotene, but also eating the right number of calories for your size.
- Physical activity and healthy eating: A good balance between exercise and food intake is important, as this helps to maintain muscle strength and a healthy body weight. At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, such as walking, is recommended every day.
- Keep fat to a minimum: Adult diets should be low in fat, especially saturated fat. Saturated fat, which is the main fat in animal products, fried foods, chocolate, cakes and biscuits, are easily deposited as fat tissue than unsaturated fat. Saturated fat can also cause blood cholesterol levels to rise. Dietary fat helps with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Small amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats have health benefits if they are part of your daily diet. Monounsaturated fats are found in nuts, olive oil and avocados, and helps to lower the bad type of cholesterol
- Eat foods rich in calcium and iron: It is important to eat foods which contain iron and calcium. In particular:
- Calcium is important for bone health especially for infants, women and girls, while iron carries oxygen around the body and is especially important for women, girls, vegetarians and athletes to reduce the risk of anaemia.
- Drink alcohol in moderation: Alcohol is high in energy and should be consumed moderately. Men should drink less than two bottles like twice a week and women at least one per week. A standard drink is 375 ml mid-strength beer, 100 ml wine or 30 ml spirits. Alcohol should not be given to children and is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- Don’t skip breakfast: Adults who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely be a healthy weight and more productive at work. Children who skip breakfast generally have poor nutrition, because their diets contain less calcium, iron, dietary fibre and vitamins. Skipping breakfast becomes more common in children as they get older. Some schools have introduced breakfast programs because children generally perform better at school when they have breakfast and are more likely to maintain a healthy weight when they eat a healthy breakfast.
Healthy Breakfast Tips
Fresh fruit with wholegrain cereal and reduced fat milk with toast and a thin spread of margarine
Toast with cheese and tomato with either hot or cold reduced fat milk
Oats and reduced fat milk with Toast and thin spread of margarine/boiled eggs and some juice
Baked beans and some toast with some juice
Fruit or plain yogurt with natural fruits