Due to continuous healthy lifestyle consciousness and already available information on the usefulness of food groups and their direct link with health maintenance, the demand for nutritious eating plates is growing day by day. A nutritious eating plate is a simple powerful nutrition classification of foods to convey knowledge to the consumers in an easy way. It emphasizes the daily requirement of fruits, vegetables, cereals, and their products, millet, protein as well as dairy food.
This tool assists diet planners in creating a diet that is nutritionally balanced and appropriate for individuals based on their specific needs or condition. A healthy nutritious plate helps make healthy food choices as well as get the right proportion of nutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals that need to maintain good health status. Healthy Eating Plate, a variety of colorful foods should be consumed from all food groups, as well as within each group, obtain different types of nutrients and meet our daily requirements.
It encompasses food or food constituents that employ a healthy effect on host health or lower the risk of lifestyle disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and other chronic diseases as well as malnutrition. It is rich in bioactive ingredients like phytonutrients, antioxidants, dietary fiber, resistant starch, and oligosaccharides can not only enhance the nutritive value of the consumers but is also a helpful tool for the maintenance of a state of positive health and is optimal for a better quality of life but also help flourish the gut microflora, which eventually helped in enhancing the immunity.
Uses of Nutritious Eating Plate:
- To enable people to select appropriate food items as well as help to design a balanced diet.
- It is developed for consumers to base their healthy plate around making educated food choices with different food groups.
- Consumption of different quantities and quality of food groups prevents macro and micronutrient deficiency in consumers.
- The nutritious eating plate emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet, which includes a wide range of nutrients and substances that cannot be obtained solely from supplements or fortified foods.
Proteins -Protein is an essential component for maintaining optimal health; promoting muscle mass, growth & development, and physical performance of healthy living. The formation of every part of the body including teeth and bones requires protein and amino acids. Protein performs many structural, protective, and regulatory functions of the body Proteins are one of three nutrients that provide energy (the others are carbohydrates and lipids). Protein is derived from both plant-based such as cereals, millets, legumes, pseudo cereals, nuts & seeds, and animal foods like meats, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese.
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Grains: Grains are an important dietary source of carbohydrates, energy, proteins, and micronutrients in global dietary patterns. It is an important source of nourishment at an affordable price with easily accessible. Cereals and millet have been major components of healthy diets because they are considered ‘nutrient-rich’ foods. Pseudo-cereal such as quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat is rich in bioactive compounds phenolic acids, flavonoids, fatty acids, and trace elements. It prevents several diseases like cancers; type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, blood pressure, and malnutrition.
Vegetables: Vegetables are annual or perennial horticultural plant materials that are grown seasonally across the globe. Vegetables add variety, color, texture, flavor, and appeal to the meal. It can be consumed cooked, raw in a salad, boiled, canned, dehydrated, and baked. Vegetables are low in energy, protein, and fat but relatively rich in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
It contains bioactive compounds and non-nutritive phytochemicals (phenolic compounds, flavonoids, bioactive peptides, phytoestrogens, sulfur compounds, phenolic compounds, and bioactive peptides, etc.) Bioactive compounds present in vegetables have positive effects on health as reducing the risk of micronutrient deficiency, lifestyle disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain cancers, cognitive impairment, and obesity
Fruits: Fruits are generally fleshy and are highly valued for their different color, texture, flavor, taste, freshness, juiciness, nutrition, and therapeutic benefits. Most Fruits are usually consumed raw with or without peel by all age groups across the globe. Some are eaten whole with skin pear, apple, berries, berries, grapefruit, and guava; some are peeled, like sweet lime, orange, mango, banana, litchi, and mango.
It is a rich source of phytochemicals, micro, and macronutrients. Fruits contain simple and complex carbohydrates, which supply energy for all age groups. The simple carbohydrate found in fruit juices provides instant energy for a sportsperson. Dietary fibers, like complex carbohydrates, are helpful to improve digestive function and maintenance of body weight as well as lower the risk of cholesterol and heart disease.
Polyphenols, as non-nutrients, are also present in fruits and act as a major source of antioxidants. They are useful in the reduction of several chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cancers
Dairy products: Dairy products are the essential components of the routine diet, especially for vulnerable groups such as infants, school-going children, adolescents, adults, and elderly people. Dairy products are nutrient-dense foods, providing calories, fat, protein, and micronutrients (especially selenium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, and pantothenic acid.) in an easily absorbed form. Milk is composed of various types of proteins, with the two main types being casein, which is solid, and whey protein, which is found in the milk serum.
Among dairy products, paneer, curd, or yogurt, many types of cheese, khoa, milk powders, ice creams, flavored milk, fortified milk, and condensed milk are easily available and consumed daily life, which has attained increasing demand in the last few years. Dairy products are proposed as being useful healthy foods for growth and development as well as which reduces the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, colon cancer, and malnutrition.
Nutrition is essential for healthy living. People are suffering from macro and micronutrient deficiency in their meals all over the world due to a lack of knowledge of balanced nutrition. Due to the small intake of legumes, pulses, cereals, millets, fruits, vegetables, and dairy food products in their diets and other food ingredients that are rich in bioactive compounds, antioxidants, proteins, carbohydrate vitamins, and minerals.
Healthy eating plate offering well-balanced nutritionally rich and practical visual cues for building their healthy food choices. It will also support people to focus on healthy eating patterns and improve their daily diets.
Dr. Akanksha Yadav
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics
Faculty of Allied Health Sciences
SGT University Gurgaon