“Sir, give me a tub of popcorn and a large cola please”. We hear this often at multiplexes and then sometimes even wonder whether this guy will eat the popcorn all by himself or will he share it with his friends. Well, if this person consumes such a large portion alone, then it is definitely a cause of concern.
This was just one example. More and more Indians have started eating out or ordering in food nowadays. According to the NRAI (National Restaurant Association of India) 2021 report, Indians eat out atleast 7 times a month. India and other developing countries are undergoing rapid urbanization and changes in lifestyle. Lack of time to cook at home, easy availability of packaged and ready-to-eat foods has increased the consumption of processed foods by manifold in the last decade. Online food delivery apps have become part of our everyday lives and thanks to their amazing technology and marketing skills, it seems we cannot survive without them anymore.
Consuming foods high in salt, sugar and fats; lack of physical activity and consuming tobacco and alcohol increase the risk of NCDs (Non-Communicable Diseases) like diabetes, cardio vascular diseases, cancers and respiratory disorders. This decade is witnessing a major transition in the morbidity pattern – from infectious diseases to NCDs. The Urban Indian population is reportedly showing an increase in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancers. What is even more worrisome is the dramatic rise in consumption of junk and processed foods among children. Dietary habits have changed, children now consume more simple carbs and fat rich food and less of vegetables and proteins. This imbalance in eating habits has led to more children falling prey to obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. According to the CNNS 2019 report, nearly 10% adolescent children are prediabetic, 5% are obese and 75% children are inactive. To add to the problem, children also suffer from micronutrient deficiencies like Vit A deficiency and anemia.
Nutrition is a basic human need and a prerequisite to a healthy life. For optimal growth, development, maintenance of body functions and to remain fit and active, a proper diet is essential. However, one must note that nutrient requirements vary with age, gender, physiological status and physical activity. In order to meet these requirements, we should know what to eat (poshan) and how much to eat (portion). When all the required food groups come on the plate in the right proportions, we get a balanced meal.
Here are a few paybacks of striking a balance between your poshan and portion:
- It increases energy, improves body functions, strengthens your immune system and prevents weight gain.
- Reduces nutritional deficiencies
- Prevents the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases and cancer.
- Improves cognitive functions
How do we strike a balance between right nutrition and portion control?
Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, and Fiber are important nutrients (poshan) that are required every day to keep us healthy.
SO, Remember this:
Carbs are the “GO” Foods – Energize your day with Cereals/Grains/Millets; Pulses/Dals; Root Veggies and Fruits
Fill only one fourth of your plate with carbs (chapati, rice, sweet potato, ragi, jowar etc).
Replace white rice and wheat with complex carbs like millets (bajra, jowar, ragi).
Proteins are the “GROW” Foods – grow and build your immunity with protein sources like Pulses/Beans/Legumes/Dals/Soyabeans; Eggs/Meat/Fish
Include one katori of any protein source in each meal (2-3 portions/day) Vegetables and Fruits are the “GLOW” Foods – These are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants which help in reducing inflammation, protect against cancers and heart diseases.
Eat at least 3-4 portions of veggies and 2 portions of fruits through the day.
Milk and Milk products – Make them part of each meal in any form for eg.
Tea/Coffee/Milkshake/with Cereals at breakfast and snack time; Curd/Buttermilk/Paneer at Lunch and Dinner
Have 3 portions of any of these through the day. These foods add a punch of proteins and calcium required for keeping our bones, teeth and muscles strong.
Fats and Oils – Have more of vegetable oils, nuts and seeds and fish. These are heart-friendly fats. Avoid red meat, cheese and other animal fats.
Take not more than 3tsp of oil and 1tsp of ghee/butter throughout the day.
Following this simple thumb rule of Portioning your food groups you can strike the perfect balance with your Poshan!
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
END OF ARTICLE
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