Do you wish to follow a healthy diet but are confused about what to eat? We hand you a diet plan on a plate.

‘Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may diet!’

Eating healthy food is on the radar of every fitness-conscious person. But how many of us really know what to put on our plates? It is rightly said that good health does not happen in a gym, it starts in the kitchen. What we consume every day will result in our good or bad health. There is nothing to be said in defence of an unhealthy diet – but consciously or unconsciously, we often eat the wrong food.

Another diet fallacy is to eat less. The notion that eating less translates into a thin body is an extremely dangerous one. Besides, we completely eliminate certain foods from our diet: oil, sugar and salt. Since extreme dieting with small portions only leads to ill health, it is time to revise our diet plans to get fitter.

Max Bupa gets into the spirit of healthy food and nutrition on the occasion of National Nutrition Week, with the following diet plan:

  1. Starch is necessary. Do not eliminate starch from your diet, and do not confuse all starchy foods with carbs. Starch is found in bread, potatoes, pasta, rice and noodles. It provides fibre, vitamins and minerals, and contains fewer than half the calories of fats per gram. Remember to moderate the portions of cheese and salt used when cooking pasta and noodles.
  2. Eat fruits and vegetables. Nature provides seasonal fruits and vegetables so that our digestion improves and our body temperature is regulated as the seasons change. The importance of eating fruits and vegetables daily cannot be emphasised enough. They are beneficial whether eaten raw or cooked. Eat raw vegetable salad every day, and have fruits like dates, apple, strawberry or cherries for dessert.
  3. Fish for compliments. Oily fish provide a fulfilling meal without the calories, so they are great for those trying to lose weight. They are necessary for the development of bones, since they are rich in Vitamin D. Include steamed oily fish such as salmon, sardines and fresh tuna in your meals twice a week. Do not over-season with salt; use herbs and a dash of lemon juice instead.
  4. Reduce saturated fat and sugar intake. All the tasty food in the world is replete with saturated fat and sugar. An excess intake of both of them causes a variety of health problems, ranging from obesity to high blood pressure and diabetes. If you have a sugar craving, pop a date or a handful of grapes in your mouth.
  5. Reduce intake of salt. Like sugar, you must also restrict your intake of salt. Excess sodium can have a variety of consequences, including a compromised nervous system. To know how much salt is acceptable, remember this formula: 6 grams per day for adults, and less than 6 grams per day for children.
  6. Tank up on water. Water is literally a life-saver. It regulates the body’s temperature, keeps the organs in working condition, and contains no calories and fat. Plus, you can never overdose on it and fall ill. Doctors recommend drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water every day, but do remember that water enters the body also through coffee, tea, juice and milk.
  7. Breakfast like a king. Skipping breakfast can have serious consequences – your blood sugar spikes, you develop a migraine and your body conserves fat to save energy. Breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day – include sprouts, chapatis, steamed vegetables, and fruit juice.
  8. Exercise and control weight. A healthy diet has no significance if it is not matched with daily exercise. Walk, jog, dance, swim…just get up and get active! Exercise burns calories and releases feel-good endorphins in the bloodstream. It also increases metabolism, lowers cholesterol and improves quality of life.

Following these tips will help you get fitter and healthier in no time. Let us pledge to improve our fitness this National Nutrition Week.

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