Keeping a healthy body requires a balance of everything, from exercise, food intake, sleep, and work. Too much or too little of these can lead to illness, stress, fatigue, and a low immune system. Creating a healthy diet and routine is vital for your overall wellness, and preparing meal plans can help you monitor a proportionate amount of nutrients you need in your body.
What is a meal plan?
A meal plan is a systematic way of planning your everyday meals, from breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. It is not just about preparing what’s available in the storage but also about ensuring that each meal pack has balanced nutritional food.
Nowadays, there are a lot of processed foods in the market. It makes preparing food fast and easy. With the evolving busy kind of lifestyle, quick and easy meals are the ideal go-to meal plan. Burgers, french fries, steaks, ice creams, and cakes are just a few guilty temptations. Most people are all fond of eating in a generous amount, but how healthy are they? The body needs carbohydrates, fat, protein, water, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Mapping out all these essential elements to your daily meal plan can ensure that you get enough nutrients your body needs. It helps you save the time you usually spend thinking of what to eat next. It prevents you from overeating that can lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension.
What is a balanced diet?
A balanced diet is ensuring good health and reduction of health risks in the body. It includes incorporating the five food groups in every meal plan – vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy. Each should have a certain proportion in your daily meal plans.
Vegetables are a good source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. It is also a good source of fluid for the body to be hydrated since it contains a good amount of water. Eating vegetables every day is proven to improve both physical and mental health.
Fruits are like vegetables. They contain loads of vitamins and minerals. They are also packed with antioxidants that are good for the body’s immunity and can help prevent risk for cancer and other diseases.
Grains are divided into two parts, namely whole grains and refined grains, and both are good sources of carbohydrates and fiber. However, whole grain is the best healthy option because it retains the whole grain’s nutrients, while refined grains have no fiber and have fewer nutrients because of the refining process that makes the grains’ texture smooth. Whole grains are associated with lowering your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Proteins are the fuel source and building blocks of the body. It is essential in building muscle mass for added energy and strength to perform daily activities.
Dairy is essential in improving bone health. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium, carbohydrates, phosphorus, potassium, and niacin. An adequate intake of dairy products like drinking milk can help repair muscle tissue and maintain a stronger bone.
All the five groups play a different role and, when combined, play a vital role in the overall bodily function. However, preparing it is also crucial in ensuring that you get the full benefits of its nutrients. There are methods of cooking like deep-frying that can eliminate the nutritional value of a particular food. It can add unhealthy fats to your meal, making it not nutritious anymore.
What are the benefits of a balanced meal plan?
A healthy balanced diet strengthens your immune system, and a meal plan helps meet your daily nutritional needs to maintain a healthy body. It can prevent and address a particular type of disease like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and nutrition deficiency. It fuels your body with energy that you need to get by the day. It also helps you maintain the proper weight and give you radiant-looking skin.
Our body is like a car engine. To keep it running, you need to fuel it with the types of gas your car needs. If you put the wrong gas, it could alter your car’s overall performance, making it weak and can cause further damage. However, if you fuel it with the right type of gas and maintain a proper engine oil every once in a while, it can accelerate your car’s condition and provide optimal performance. The same goes for our bodies. If you fuel it with unhealthy food, your body will feel weak and could later lead to illnesses.
Does a balanced diet mean restricting every food intake
Eating your favorite fast food or sweets once in a while is not a bad thing. A balanced diet is only ensuring that your body has enough of the five food groups that you need. Our bodily system naturally releases harmful substances through our kidneys. It filters the good stuff, extracts the toxins and excess nutrients. However, if you consume more than a handful of processed foods regularly, it can result in your metabolism and kidney’s irregular functioning.
Obesity is one of the major problems many people are facing. Obesity does not choose any age and gender, making meal plans more essential to start early. Obesity is a chronic condition of having too much fat. Although our body needs fats for energy, shock absorption, and heat insulation in the body, if you consume too much and have less activity, you can build excess fats that stay in your body. When this happens, fats’ build-up can no longer be controlled and can pose a health risk. Health risk involves heart disease and strokes. It is most likely that you will develop hypertension because of the abnormal cholesterol level of being obese. You may also develop Type II diabetes because of fats insulin resistance. Insulin is necessary for the body to transport glucose or sugar into the muscles and cells for body energy.
It can also lead to cancer. You may also be prone to digestive problems like heartburn, liver problems, and gallbladder disease. And the most common issue is sleep apnea. It is a condition where you have irregular breathing, where your breathing repeatedly stops and starts again when you sleep. Symptoms involve loud snoring, gasping of air during sleep, headache in the morning, having insomnia, irritability, and episodes where you stop breathing. It happens when fat deposits surround your upper airway. Those who have thicker necks also suffer the same. It is a severe health condition that can complicate if not treated. And those are just some of the factors that can develop over time with obesity. The people who suffer from an over-weight body experience a poor quality of life, limiting their movement and making physical activities hard to do. More than the physical effects, unhealthy individuals can also suffer mental health problems likes depression and low self-esteem.
In a nutshell, a balanced diet through proper meal plans can help your body function in its full potential and help prevent different types of problems like obesity. Eating healthy goes hand in hand with being physically active. Doing regular exercise can help boost your metabolism, burn calories, increase your endurance, improve your mental health, and is also proven to improve your sleep. Most importantly, being consistent is the key to maintaining a healthy body.