Maggie almost screamed when she was offered a bowl her once favorite chocolate sauce topped black current ice cream by her out stationed aunt when they met each other after years. She vehemently objected saying, “I am on diet!”. Similar was the case as that of Mr. Hartley, a 50 years old banker, who was quite well known as “foodie” since his college days. At an old friend’s get together he strictly expelled the tempting mutton preparation, explaining to others that it was almost like a poison at his age. His balanced diet now was everything minus red meat.
Thus balanced diet is a very popular term in today’s time, circulating from mouth to mouth. Every second person in the modern times is diet conscious. They seem to measure every calorie they consume and do not hesitate to curtail off any delicious food that was once been the top priority in their platter.
The concept of balanced diet, thou, varies from person to person, with some people adhering to it to stay slim and cut off the chances of obesity and weight gain. While, some others follow balanced diet, purely, to ward off many diseases and stay healthy and fit.
But before starting off with a diet that we term as “balanced diet”, it is very crucial to find out how scientific it is. To be more detailed, it is very important to realize that nutritional and mineral requirements from food vary from person to person on the basis of their age. The dietary recommendations of a growing child can never match with that of a 30 years old individual. Again the nutritional needs of a 20 years old individual will be different as that of 60 years old. Hence if a 20 years old girl starts consuming a diet that would match 60 years old, it will not do any good. Rather it will result in malnutrition and subsequent health ailments. So let us understand this in details so that we can follow a “balanced diet” in the real sense.
Diet for a new born child
It is always said and an accepted fact too that breast milk is the best for a neonate as it compensates all the nutritional requirements of the baby. The best diet for a new born kid till six months is breast milk, not even water. The nutrients in breast milk also help the body combat many diseases. External food is strictly to be avoided as it might lead to several health problems since the digestive system of the baby is now still not well developed. Breast milk should be fed to the baby at a quantity of 600 to 700 milliliters. But remember to feed this at six intervals, through out the day.
Diet for a baby after six months onwards
From six to eight years is the phase when the need for additional nutrients is there. So, a diet that comprises of adequate proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats and carbohydrates, but at the same lightly cooked and easily digestible, is to be given to the baby. Fruit juices, chicken stew, ripe banana, porridge, boiled apple can be given.
Eight to nine months can be identified as a training period for regular eating habits. Thus, along with the specified food that the baby had been consuming, once in a while a bit harder food can be given as well such as boiled egg, rice, soft bread with milk etc. but care should be taken to administer solid and harder foods at an interval of three days.
The motive behind this is to make the digestive system adjust to regular food. When the baby reaches one years of age regular food cooked at home should be given so that the kid is able to adjust to normal food and get into the habit of eating such food. This is the time the digestive system grows and develops already, so such food is absolutely all right. But take care not to give too much of a spicy food.
Diet for growing children
Growing years in a child range from 13 years till 18 years. This is the time the body grows and increases in height, there is increase in the normal body weight due to growth of the body along with development of the brain. This makes it very important to provide additional nutrients to the child to assist the growing process.The most required nutrients during this phase are proteins and carbohydrates. Proteins support the healthy growth of mind and body while carbohydrates provide the necessary energy to carry on the various physical activities.
Together with these, other nutrients that are essential are Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, mainly. Thus, the diet chart must include more of milk and other dairy products like butter, cheese, yogurt etc., citrus and other fruits, various types of nuts, leafy vegetables, green vegetables, fish, meat, eggs, sugar, molasses, pulses, lentils, sprouted legumes etc.
Diet for 30 years to 45 years
In case of a 40 years old person who is healthy and devoid of any disease as such, a balanced diet would include all the regular food items but in moderation. Thus the diet chart will show bread, eggs, milk, meat, peas, yogurt, cottage cheese, fruits, vegetables, soybeans, nuts etc. but there should be a restriction in the excessive eating of red meat, sweets, potato, etc. as this age often leads to many chronic diseases as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, uric acid etc. Spicy food and junk food should be avoided as much as possible. But consuming certain amount of oil and butter is essential too.
Diet after 50 yeas of age
As we reach this age it brings along some other health concerns as well such as visual weaknesses, hearing problems, increase in weight, joint pains, arthritis, weakening of the bones and muscles, chronic diseases like cardiac problems, high blood pressure, nephrological and neurological problems, diabetes, dental problems and a lot more. Thus care should be taken that such an individual eats easily digestible and a bit softer food that is lightly cooked. Spicy food should be avoided so that there is no digestive problem, which is very common during this age. Eating fruits, a limited quantity of vegetables and plentiful of water will be a regular regime, along with milk and dairy products, if there is no complaint of acidity and indigestion.
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