Get Proper Nutrition with a Balanced Diet


In the latest estimates made by the World bank, India ranked second in the world with 47% of children suffering from malnutrition. Though we are quite familiar with the term nutrition, we seldom show interest to know what proper nutrition is. As proper nutrition plays a vital role in the growth and development of the body, it is necessary for everyone to know about it to lead a healthy lifestyle.

According to WHO, nutrition is the intake of good food that supplies all the essential nutrients in relation to the body’s dietary needs. A nutrient is a source of nourishment, an ingredient which should be provided through foods like protein, carbohydrate, fat, etc. As we have already discussed about these nutrients in our previous article nutritional components of food, now let us see what is termed as proper nutrition and the role of nutrients in providing proper nutrition to the body.

Proper Nutrition:

Proper nutrition means eating enough of right kinds of foods that provide the body with all essential nutrients. Proper nutrition is essential for the normal functioning, growth, and development of the body at different stages of life. However, the average nutritional requirements vary for each age group based on some characteristics such as age, sex, height, weight, degree of activity and rate of growth.


How to get proper nutrition:

Proper nutrition can be obtained by having adequate amounts of well balanced diet combined with regular physical activity. It’s just like putting a right fuel in a car in order to deliver its full power and performance.

A body with poor nutrition is like a finely tuned car with a wrong fuel. No matter how posh and polished the car looks from outside, lack of right fuel makes it splutter and eventually stall. Similarly, our body with lack of nutrition becomes less immune, more susceptible to diseases and also gets impaired of physical and mental development. So, in order to get proper nutrition we need to take a balanced diet which is defined as follows.

Balanced diet:

A balanced diet is composed of a variety of foods from different food groups to make sure that it contains all the essential nutrients a person needs to perform his day-to-day activities. It can be easily achieved through the blend of four basic food groups. However, the proportions and the amount of foods vary based on age, gender and physical activity.


Four basic food groups to make a balanced diet:

As mentioned earlier, a balanced diet can be made by choosing different foods from 4 different food groups. Let us check what the food groups are:

  1. Cereals, millets (energy rich foods) and pulses (protein food)
  2. Vegetables and fruits (vitamin and minerals)
  3. Milk and milk products, egg, meat and fish (proteins)
  4. Oils and fats; nuts and oil seeds (fats)

According to National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), a balanced diet should provide

  • 50-60% of the calories from the carbohydrates, preferably complex carbohydrates
  • 10-15% of the calories from proteins
  • 20-30% from fat

In addition, a balanced diet should also provide non-nutrients like

  • Dietary fibre
  • Antioxidants (found in Vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, riboflavin and selenium) and
  • Phyto-chemicals (polyphenols and flavones)

A sample menu plan for balanced diet for adults (both vegetarians and non-vegetarians) who do moderate activity is given below (as recommended by NIN):

Sample Meal Plan for (Vegetarian)
Adult Man Doing Moderate Activity

Meal Time Raw Foods used in recipes

Raw amounts to be used in the recipe (grams/ml)

Cooked recipe
Breakfast Parboiled rice

100

4 Dosa /6 Idli
Pulses (Black gram dal)

25

Groundnuts

25

Chutney
Roasted bengal gram

25

Green Chillies

10

Milk

50

Milk/Coffee
Sugar

10

Lunch Rice (75g) & Wheat Flour (75g)

150

Cooked Rice/Roti
Spinach (Palak)

25

Palak Dal
Red Gram Dal

25

Beans

50

Beans Curry
Onions

25

Green Chillies

10

Curds

75

Curd
Tea Carrots

50

Carrot Halwa
Sugar

20

Tea
Milk

50

Sugar

10

Dinner Rice (75g) & Wheat Flour (75g)

150

Cooked Rice/Roti
Red Gram Dal

20

Sambar
Drumsticks

20

Tomato

20

Bottle gourd

20

Potato

50

Potato Methi curry
Methi

25

Green Chillies

5

Curds

75

Curd
Fruit

150

Papaya

Note: For preparation of whole day menu approximately 30 g of oil and 5 g of salt to be used per person per day.

Sample Meal Plan for (Non-Vegetarian)
Adult Man Doing Moderate Activity

Meal Time Raw Foods used in recipes

Raw amounts to be used in the recipe (grams/ml)

Cooked recipe
Breakfast Whole Wheat flour (Atta)

125

Roti
Egg

25

Egg curry
Tomatoes

25

Chutney
Onions

25

Green Chillies

5

Milk

100

Milk/Coffee
Sugar

10

Lunch Rice (75g) & Wheat Flour (75g)

150

Cooked Rice/Roti
Bottle gourd

75

Bottle gourd curry
Onions

25

Methi

25

Methi Beans Curry
Beans

50

Tomatoes

25

Tomato chutney
Green Chillies

5

Gingelly seeds

10

Curds

75

Curd
Tea Ground nuts

35

Groundnut Chikki
Sugar

20

Milk

50

Tea
Sugar

7.5

Dinner Rice (75g) & Wheat Flour (75g)

150

Cooked Rice/Roti
Meat

30

Meat curry
Onions

50

Tomatoes

25

Potato

50

Potato palak curry
Spinach (Palak)

25

Methi

25

Green Chillies

5

Curds

75

Curd
Fruit

100

Papaya

Note: For preparation of whole day menu approximately 30 g of oil and 5 g of salt to be used per person per day.

You may also like to read:
The Nutritional Components of Food

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