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Healthy Meals

As children, we learnt of the food pyramid, which comprised of the carbohydrate group, vegetable group, fruit group, fat group, dairy group and protein group. If a body doesn’t receive its daily requirement of nutrients and vitamins it starts to malfunction eventually. Vitamins are as necessary for the body as other nutrients. The importance of vitamins was discovered when sailors who were away for long periods ate only food that could be preserved, such as pulses. Vegetables and fruits were generally avoided.

A disease called scurvy began to spread amongst them very fast. It was due to these unknown elements present in fruits and vegetables. Unable to give them all different names, they were classified into vitamins A, B, C and so on. All the groups of foods mentioned above bring in some benefit or the other, at the same time, having an excess of any is equally bad for the body. Examples of which include high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity to name just a few. The trick is to make sure that you have a balanced intake of several different nutrients and have healthy meals on a daily basis. In today’s day and age, exercise would have to be a part of any health plan. Another element extremely vital in today’s diet is the reduction of an individual’s intake of salt.

Carbohydrates are a source of energy more easily available to the body than the energy available from proteins or fats. Since it is easily available we tend to have an excessive intake of this nutrient, which leads to mood swings and fatigue. Fruits and vegetables provide the vitamins and minerals that too are essential. Since different fruits have different vitamins, fibers and minerals, it’s good to try and include a variety, such as trying to eat seasonal fruits available at different times of the year. In fact a fruit salad makes a quick healthy meal. Fruit juices however seem to destroy some of the nutrients present in the fruits and therefore it is advised to eat them whole. The fat group, needless to say, is the required in small quantities as compared to the other nutrients. Milk and milk products such as cheese, yoghurt, provide the much needed calcium and proteins. They also provide phosphorous and the vitamins A and D. For meat eaters, meat, poultry and sea food, which includes beef, chicken, eggs and fish provide the best source of protein. For vegetarians’, dry beans, tofu and other soy products, chick peas, legumes and nuts provide this vital nutrient. Proteins contain enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and tissue building abilities, extremely essential for the functioning, growth and repair of the body.

Healthy Meal Ideas

To incorporate all of the above in healthy diet meal plans is a difficult task faced by the housewife everyday. Eggs are a good and easy healthy meal as they can be cooked in variety of ways, including omelets, salads, sandwiches and one can even curry eggs. Some other easy healthy meal ideas include:

  • Egg curry and rice
  • Chicken with brown rice
  • Steamed vegetables with stir-fried bean sprouts
  • Grilled salmon with salad
  • Lentil soup along with a baked dish or sandwich
  • Fruit salads topped with yogurt
  • Porridge or oatmeal sprinkled with nuts such as almonds or walnuts
  • Soybean and vegetable curry with rice or bread
  • Stir-fried vegetables with tofu

For desserts one can include oatmeal raisin cookies, lime pies, pies sweetened with dates, cashew mignardises and such low fat, protein laden recipes.

In addition two or three cups of milk are recommended for adults. A home cooked meal should be preferred on a daily basis instead of eating out. And lastly baking or grilling is considered superior to frying.

Submitted on August 9, 2010