This can be easily done by dividing the food into seven basic food groups. Try to eat something from each of these each day :
THE SEVEN BASIC FOOD GROUPS
Green, leafy and yellow vegetables ( Carbohydrate category)
Citrus fruits, tomatoes, and raw cabbage (carbohydrate category)
Potatoes and other vegetables and fruits (carbohydrate category)
Skimmed milk and skimmed milk products (protein category)
Lean meal, fish, eggs, skinned chicken and sprouted pulses, beans and peas (protein category)
Whole-grain bread, cereal, and flour (carbohydrate category)
Butter, margarine and vegetable oil (fat category)
It is important to eat a variety of foods to balance your intake of nutrients. No one food is indispensable on a proper balanced nutrient diet. You can rest assured of an adequate intake of the essential nutrients by selecting fresh, natural foods from each of the basic groups.
If you prefer to condense the seven food groups into four use the basic four, food groups as a guide in planning your daily needs :
THE BASIC FOUR FOOD GROUPS
Two or more cups of skim milk or skim-milk products.
Two or more servings of chicken, fish or lean meat or sprouted pulses, beans and peas.
Four or more servings of vegetables and fruits – including a citrus fruit, green, leafy or yellow vegetable and two servings of other fruits and vegetables, including potatoes.
Four or more servings of whole-grain products (bread, chappati or cereal)
“Fat should be kept to a minimum”
You already know that excessive amounts of fats and oils in the diet have been linked to heart disease, cancer and other health problems. You must have a certain amount of fat in your diet to supply essential fatty acids and to transport fat soluble vitamins. The biggest problem with fats and oils is that they are usually ‘too much’ in the diet. So you should make a special effort to eliminate visible fats and oils and use very little cooking oil. When you do need a cooking oil, be sure to use vegetable oil. In addition to being an unsaturated fat, vegetable oil withstands higher temperatures of cooking.
What about the methods of cooking, addition of table salt and spices ?
Your health and the health of your family is in direct proportion to the soundness of your cooking methods.
‘Cooking Methods’ Do not use methods that spoil the nutritive value of food such as frying. Routine method of cooking using minimum oil for seasoning is advisable. Boiling steaming baking and roasting are suitable methods. Cut visible fat from meats if possible. To save vitamins and minerals in vegetables, cook in small amount of boiling water in a covered pan, or steam or pressure-cook them.
“Table Salt” Salt your food to your taste, unless your doctor, advises against it. Salt does not make fat, but in some people who are sick, it may hold abnormal amounts of water in the tissues.
“Spices” There is no reason for any generally healthy person to shun spices. Use them as liberally as you wish to make your food palatable and to add zest to your diet.
Could you outline a sample plan of The Balanced- Nutrient Diet ?
THE BALANCED-NUTRIENT DIET PLAN FOR VEGETARIANS
A vegetarian diet is essentially a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables , beans, pulses and grains. Actually, there are several varieties of vegetarianism. A true vegetarian who only eats foods of plant origin is called a vegan. A lactovegetarian includes milk and its products. An ovo-vegetarian includes eggs. An ovo-lacto -vegetarian includes both eggs and milk. ‘The one thing that all vegetarians have in common is that they do not eat flesh of warm-blooded creatures.’
A true vegetarian who wants to stay healthy must select and combine foods carefully. This requires a great variety of foods each day to supply adequate protein.
A cup of tea or coffee( with less sugar)
A serving of cottage cheese ( paneer) with a slice of bread or a toast OR one slice of bread ( toast or khakra) and one cup of skim milk OR 2-3 table spoons of whole grain breakfast cereal and one cup of skim milk.
One piece of citrus fruit or a glass of fresh fruit juice.
One serving of sprouted mung OR any other sprouted pulse OR soyabeans.
One serving of green vegetable OR one leafy vegetable OR one yellow vegetable.
One serving of any other vegetable of your choice ( including a medium size potato)
Two medium sized chapatties (phulkas) + 1/2 tea cup cooked rice OR Two slices of break + 1/2 tea cup cooked rice OR 1 tea cup cooked rice.
One cup vegetable soup OR one cup of Mung, water soup OR one cup of buttermilk OR one cup yogurt (curd) made from skim milk.
A cup of tea or coffee ( with less sugar)
A fresh fruit.
One serving of sprouted mung OR any other sprouted pulse or soya beans (same dish as for lunch) OR cottage cheese (Paneer)
One serving of a green or a leafy vegetable
One plate fresh raw salad.
Two medium sized chapattis (phulkas) + 1/2 tea cup cooked rice OR two slices of break + 1/2 tea cup cooked rice OR 1 tea cup cooked rice.
One cup of vegetable soup OR one cup of mung water soup or one cup of buttermilk OR one cup of yogurt (curd) made of skim milk (make sure you have two cups of skim milk or its equivalent each day).
Since vegetables and grains contain an incomplete protein, you must combine grains ( rice and wheat) and legumes ( peas and beans) in each meal to provide a complete protein. Eating grains in the morning and legumes in the evening won’t meet your needs. Plant proteins must be combined in the same meal if they are to be used by your body to form a complete protein. One solution to the problem of combining plant proteins would be to include a small amount of milk or cottage cheese in each meal to contribute the amino -acids your body needs to form a complete protein from the incomplete proteins supplied by plant foods.