The importance of having a balanced diet.
When looking at your plate, there should be a variety of items. The aim is to have a balanced diet with every meal. Even if you may not get all the food groups in one meal, you should get it throughout the day. You should have a proper distribution of staples, vegetables, fruit, legumes, meat and milk, as well as fats.
Breakfast is the first main meal of the day. Start off with a hearty, healthy breakfast. This means that it is rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. This can always be called the most important meal of the day. It is never a good idea to skip any meal, especially breakfast. Some may think that skipping meals can help with weight loss, but it actually is more likely to lead to weight gain. When you skip a meal, especially breakfast, it is more likely that you eat much more at another meal, or you tend to crave and eat things that are bad for you. According to research, you can also be tardy at work or school and absenteeism can increase when skipping meals, especially breakfast.
What counts as a healthy breakfast? A variety of vegetables with the meal as well as having a protein source, staple source and milk source can be classified as a healthy meal. The staple source must be whole wheat or multigrain. The fat source will be included in the items or can be added on the side. E.g. 1oz avocado. The protein source can be 1 egg. Vegetables will include the watercress, bell peppers, pimento, onions and garlic in the egg.
Lunch is the second main meal of the day. Having a healthy lunch can include the following food groups: staple, vegetable, food from animal, legume and fruit juice. In this meal, nearly all the foods from the food groups can be eaten. It is important to prepare meals with little salt and oil. Portion control is another factor than can transform a healthy meal to an unhealthy meal. Ever heard that too much of one thing is bad for you?
Dinner is the last main meal of the day. Most of the time, this meal is very light. This is because we do not want to eat heavily at night. Having a balanced meal at night is recommended. It is also important to resist eating and then sleeping. The last snack for the night should be eaten an hour or more before bed. Dinner can be a light sandwich e.g. whole wheat bread, lettuce and a salmon patty.
All three of the main meals during the day are important. None of the main meals should be skipped. Complications with missing meals include the following:
- Weight gain
- Increased absenteeism
- Immune system impairment
- Poor performance
Eat healthy and live life to the fullest!
By: Candida Khan
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