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Regular, Balanced Diet Often Neglected


You are what you eat, in more ways than one. Snacking on french fries, sugar-filled drinks and salt-packed convenience foods can leave you sluggish and weak. Enjoying a variety of vitamin-, mineral- and fiber-packed foods builds a strong body and allows you to release power effortlessly through the day. Here are some nutrition basics that are often neglected.

Don’t skip meals. Missing meals on a regular basis is a bad idea no matter for whatever reason. No time? Make time. Skipping meals leads to overeating later in the day. In addition, the body becomes very efficient in preventing starvation. This means that your metabolism slows down and stores more fat. Finally, without the continuous energy that food supplies, you become run down and more susceptible to sickness. The solution is to try to eat every 3 to 4 hours during the day. That means breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner.

Eat breakfast. Certainly, every meal is important, but the first meal after a long night’s rest is crucial in many ways. It’s the first shot of energy to gear you up and get your day started. It’s a great opportunity to eat your first servings of calcium-rich dairy foods, fruits, meats and cereals which are the common ingredients in morning meals.

Eat proteins with your carbohydrates. You don’t need to avoid carbohydrates altogether. Pairing protein-rich foods with your carbohydrates makes this task easier. Carbohydrates provide much needed energy to your body. However, they are digested quickly, leaving you feeling hungry soon after eating. Proteins digest more slowly.

Thus, you feel satisfied longer. Enjoy complex carbohydrates in moderate amounts, along with low-fat protein.

Breakdown your dish. Chances are your lunch or dinner plate looks a little like this: a pile of meat, chicken or fish, and a pile of rice with vegetable dish or fruit on the side. Well, it’s time to put your math skills to work. Divide your plate into three parts. One-third is for the protein – meat, chicken, fish or legumes, at least about the size of the palm of your hand. One-third is for the starchy foods – rice, potato or corn, which is about one-half (1/2) cup. The remaining portion should be loaded up with fruits and vegetables, with the exception of the starchy vegetables like corn, peas and potatoes. Vegetables can be eaten as often and as much as you want. They help fill you up but contribute few calories. Not only is eating every meal important. Snacks help prevent over-hunger which leads to overeating.

The Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF) developed by the Technical Working Group led by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) encourages eating a variety of foods everyday. No single food can give you all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. A well-balanced diet can also help you fight off colds, daily stressors and disease.

Go back to the basics to reach optimum health and nutrition!