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Eating a balanced diet means choosing a wide variety of foods and drinks from all the food groups. It also means eating certain things in moderation, namely saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, salt and alcohol. The goal is to take in nutrients you need for health at the recommended levels.

Eating fruits and vegetables is healthy

Manage your  Calories

Your balanced diet must be planned at your own calorie level, and portion size is key. You want to get the most nutrients for the calories by choosing food with a high-nutrient density.

Nutrient-Dense foods

Nutrient-dense foods provide substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals and relatively few calories, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat and fish, and whole grains and beans.

Fatty meals

Low-nutrient dense foods have few vitamins but lots of calories, such as candy bars, soda, donuts and onion rings.

Joyful people eating nutrient-dense meals

A high nutrient-dense lunch would look something like this:

-2 slices whole wheat bread
Deli turkey
-1 slice roasted red pepper
romaine lettuce
-1 tsp mayonnaise
baby carrots
hummus
-8 oz non-fat milk

balanced diet
Greens and cereals should take a relatively big part of plate

A low nutrient-dense lunch would look something like this:

-One ground beef hamburger patty
-Two hamburger buns
-Iceberg lettuce
-1 tbsp mayonnaise
-1 slice American cheese
-Order of French fries, fried in peanut oil
-Large regular soda
-Candy bar

 

Low nutrients foods harm your health

Know yourself

What really matters, though, is knowing yourself. You need to make responsible eating choices within the context of your preferences and lifestyle. What are your goals? Which food groups do you like to eat? Which food groups are missing? Do you eat too much sugar, salt and fried food? Which foods are the contributors and what foods can you eat instead? The locus of control rests within you to design the best eating plan for you. Eating healthy takes planning and practice. Keep your balance.

A Differing Opinion

Nutrition guidelines recommend eating a wide variety of foods. But, there’s a school of thought that eating variety of foods leads to overeating. There’s “the tendency to stay hungry longer and eat more food when flavors are diverse and keep changing”, according to Dr. David Katz, who maintains that we “fill up on fewer calories when flavor variety is controlled”. You’ve seen this principle in action when you come home with a load of groceries. In Rwandan cuisine , we have very healthy foods that we ignore to eat.Why can’t we adopt our cuisine that fits with both   culinary preferences and food availability.

However rich or educated one is ,s/he should be very careful about what s/he puts in his/her stomach because ‘we are what we eat’.

Nizeyimana Jean Pierre

Photos:Net

UM– USEKE.RW

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