A four-day diet or a cabbage-broccoli diet? Low carb diet or low glycemic diet? Which is the best healthy eating diet plan to stay in shape? How does one choose a diet to suit individual body needs? The answer is to develop a personalized nutrition diet plan. Healthy eating habits and a good nutritional diet plan not only help lose extra pounds, they are the key to good health and long-term weight management.
Why Choose a Nutrition Diet Plan
Fad diets help the dieter lose weight, become slim and get into shape, but their effects are at best only temporary. Once the goals of a “diet” are achieved, there is always a return to one’s original eating habits. Also, diets often leave a person weakened, with some leading to the loss of muscle mass rather than fat. Many diets only end up increasing food cravings.
Fad diets may lead to weight loss but, unfortunately, also keep the body from getting its due share of nutrients. On the other hand, a nutrition diet plan focuses on providing the body with all the nutrition it requires. It also encourages the body to adapt to healthy eating habits that automatically help weight management in the long run.
Nutrition Diet Plan – What Does the Body Need
According to the Council on Food and Nutrition of the American Medical Association, food should provide six essential nutrients to the body. Here’s a look at why the body needs each of them.
- Carbohydrates, or sugars, provide energy required for all bodily functions. Any excess is stored away for future use or stored as fat.
- Proteins are required for growth and tissue repair and also to produce energy.
- Fats are very efficient energy sources. They are also essential for the transport of fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients.
- Vitamins and minerals are required in minute amounts for many essential functions of the body. Not getting enough of them can cause deficiency symptoms.
- Water is an essential nutrient.
The popularity of low carb diets gives the impression that carbohydrates are bad, but every organ in the body, especially the brain, needs sugar for energy. The trick is to get them from healthy sources, not consume an excess of sugars and avoid empty calories. Fat in the diet is also very important for health and should not be avoided altogether.
Making up a Nutrition Diet Plan
A good nutrition diet plan is one that includes a variety of foods in the right amounts to supply the body with all these nourishing elements. The food groups to choose from are:
- Vegetables and fruit for vitamins, minerals and fibre
- Cereals and pulses for carbohydrates
- Dairy products for proteins, fats, calcium and vitamins
- Meat, fish and poultry for proteins and fat
Dietary Reference Intakes created in 1997 contain nutritional recommendations and guidelines to prevent various deficiencies and many chronic illnesses. The Dietary Reference Intakes for the consumption of various nutrients are as follows:
- Carbohydrates should provide 45 – 65 % of the calories.
- Proteins: 10 – 35% of calorie requirement or 0.8 gm per kg body wt
- Fats: 20 – 35% of calories for adults, 25 – 40% for infants and young children, from mono and polyunsaturated fats
While carbohydrates and proteins yield four calories per gram, every gram of fat gives nine calories. The size of serving from each food group will depend on factors like age, body size and activity. These guidelines will help plan nutritious meals to suit everyone’s needs.
Healthy Eating Habits and Weight Management Tips
In addition to eating balanced and nutritious meals, here are some healthy eating habits to cultivate for weight management:
- drinking at least eight glasses of water a day
- using vegetable fats rather than animal fats
- controlling the size of servings to control calorie intake
- smaller, more frequent, nutrient-rich meals
- indulging in appropriate physical activity
Make a nutrition diet plan for good health and weight management. Develop a healthy eating diet plan to more than just stay in shape.