A diet refers to what an individual eats on a daily basis. We frequently hear that we should eat a balanced diet. A balanced diet refers to a daily eating pattern that supplies a variety of food groups in the right proportions to meet the body’s needs. In the Caribbean, we put foods into six (6) categories: Staples, Foods from Animals, Legumes, Vegetables, Fruits and Fats & Oils. However, for a variety of reasons, not everyone eats food from all the food groups. Or if they do, some persons are unable to eat from all the food groups everyday.
So then, how do we go about planning a balanced diet? A guide is below:
Every main meal should have a staple and a food that is high in protein. (Food from Animal or a Legume) and vegetables. The amounts needed will vary from individual to individual.
For individuals with vegetable based diets, the following combinations are recommended to ensure that needs for protein and Vitamin B12 are met:
Legumes + seeds and nuts
Legumes + grains and cereals
Legumes + milk products
Grains and cereals + milk products
Seeds and nuts + milk products
If at all possible, the vegetable food group should be included in every main meal.
Try to have two to four servings of fruits each day. Examples of a serving of fruit include 1 small orange, 1 medium naseberry, 1 medium guava, ¾ cup coconut water, ½ large banana, ½ cup orange juice and ½ cup grapefruit juice
Use fats and oils very sparingly.