Hopefully you are among the confused majority asking what is a healthy meal plan? or you are wondering what kind of healthy foods to include in your diet, well you are lucky to have found this post as we have carefully given in details, a concrete answer to the question.
Obviously, the human body inevitably functions properly only on balanced diets, it is therefore necessary to add the required food items to your meal plans if you must stay healthy. Since this is the case, knowing what makes up a healthy meal plan should be a top priority to your dieting.
What is a healthy meal plan?
Generalizing, it can be said that a healthy meal is one that provides the nutrients the body needs to maintain the proper functioning of the organism, preserve or restore health, minimize the risk of diseases, guarantee reproduction, gestation, lactation, development and adequate growth.
To achieve this, daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, milk, meat, fish, poultry and vegetable oil in adequate and varied quantities. If we do so, we can say that we have a healthy diet.
Component Nutrients of a Healthy meal plan
How do you know which food contributes to the proper functioning of the organism? To get our meal plan right, we must have in mind that the nutrients provided by food are classified into two groups: macronutrients, which include fats, carbohydrates and proteins; and micronutrients composed of minerals and vitamins.
Macro Nutrients; what is a healthy meal plan ?
These nutrients are needed in greater amount in the body and include:
Carbohydrates: they are the main source of energy in our diet; they are the fuel for carrying out daily activities, maintaining body temperature and the proper functioning of the body’s vital organs. They can be simple or complex.
Simple carbohydrates are found naturally in sugar cane, beets and honey or are added in the form of sugars, such as industrialized products or pastries, while complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as rice 🍚, potatoes, cassavas, yams and bananas🍌, among others.
They should be consumed in moderation, because in excess they can cause overweight, obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases, while low consumption would lead to malnutrition or underweight.
Proteins: are responsible for the formation of cells, tissues and organs, as well as for building muscles, part of hormones, enzymes that transport certain molecules (such as fat) and transmit signals. They are also present in a large number of bodily functions.
During periods of growth, pregnancy, lactation and recovery from illness, it is necessary to consume more protein source foods.
Protein sources include egg, fish🐟, milk🥛, lean meats, turkey🦃, and chicken🐔; or of vegetable origin such as legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas), nuts and dried fruits, quinoa, among others.
Fats: they are one of the main sources of energy for the organism, which when consumed in the right amounts become a primordial element that helps growth, development and maintaining good health. It should be taken into account that fats can be found in three presentations: solid (butter), semisolid (butters or margarines) or liquid (oils); each one of them has different effects on the metabolism.
Not all fats are favorable; one such case is that of trans fats, a specific type that is formed when liquid oils are converted into solid fats such as shortening or stick margarine.
This process is called hydrogenation, in which hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to increase shelf life and flavor stability.
Trans fats can be found in shortenings, some margarines, vegetable fats, cookies 🍪, candies🍬, fried foods, baked and processed foods. It can also be found naturally in small amounts in milk🥛, dairy products and some meats.
Their continued consumption results in an increase in ‘bad’ cholesterol, which increases the risk of coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, respiratory disease and some types of cancer, and in pregnant women they can influence the weight of the baby at birth.
According to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eliminating these fats from the daily diet could prevent some 20,000 cases of coronary heart disease and up to 7,000 deaths per year.
Micro Nutrients; what is a healthy meal plan?
Micronutrients consist majorly of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients needed in smaller quantities in the body.
Iron: it is one of the components found in hemoglobin (present in red blood cells) and myoglobin (present in muscle), which are responsible for transporting oxygen. Foods containing iron are meats, liver, offal, milk🥛, eggs and plant foods.
The combined consumption of foods that are rich in iron with those that are rich in vitamin C (guava, orange🍊, citrus fruits) significantly increases its absorption.
Calcium: it is present in different tissues of the body such as neurons and blood, the liquid between cells, muscles, among others. It is necessary to maintain and develop healthy bones and teeth🦷, to relax muscles, vessels and blood arteries, to secrete hormones and enzymes.
The sources of calcium that are best absorbed are dairy products such as milk🥛, cheese🧀, kumis and yogurts.
For greater effect, it is recommended to combined foods rich in calcuim with foods rich in vitamin D, such as tuna fish🐟, beef, liver oil or salmons.
Iodine: it is part of the thyroid hormones that control the proper functioning of the body’s metabolism. It is important for the development of the brain and nervous system of the fetus and is found in iodized salt and marine products such as fish🐟 and shellfish.
Zinc: essential for normal growth and development, reproduction and the functioning of the immune system, wound healing, and the improvement of the senses of taste and smell. Some healthy sources of zinc are beef, chicken🐔, pork, oysters, milk🥛, cheese 🧀, nuts and legumes.
Vitamin A: the benefits of vitamin A include the following.
It facilitates the proper functioning of the immune system and skin.
It enhances the functionality of the eyes and improves vision.
It contributes to the repair of intestinal villi and lung tissue. Adequate consumption of Vitamin A helps the body to fight against infections.
Good sources of vitamin A include: meat, liver and viscera, orange🍊 and yellow fruits, vegetables such as pumpkin, papaya, melon🍈 and tomato🍅, among others.
Vitamin B complex: vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamine and folic acid are part of this group.
This vitamins help in the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.
Folic acid stands out for its function and necessity and is sufficiently needed because when they are in low levels in the body, the red blood cells and intestinal cells are affected and anemia develops.
Folic acids are recommended in greater quantity during pregnancy to avoid problems in the formation of the nervous system in the fetus and some good sources include legumes such as beans, lentils and peas, green and dark leafy vegetables as well as fruits.
Vitamin C: found mostly in fruits and vegetables, helps in the production and maintenance of the body’s connective tissue (bones, teeth🦷, skin, and tendons), in wound healing and has antioxidant functions.
Cholesterol: it is important to note that there are both good and bad cholesterols.
70% of the cholesterol that circulates in our body is produced by the liver, the other 30% must be provided by our diet, but higher intakes cause damage to our health. There are 2 types of cholesterol:
HDL cholesterol: commonly called good cholesterol, it has a protective effect against heart disease and prevents the increase of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
LDL cholesterol: known as bad cholesterol, it has a harmful effect on the body as it increases the risk of obstruction of the heart arteries, predisposing people to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke.
Foods that are good sources of cholesterol include: egg yolk, beef liver, kidneys, poultry skin, cracklings, sausages, ham, blood sausage, lard, chorizo, creamy cheeses 🧀, milk cream, mayonnaise and butter, among other foods of animal origin.
In conclusion, a healthy meal plan commonly incorporates vegetables, natural products, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts and low-fat dairy items. It is a meal plan carefully drafted to give your body the supplements it needs each day while remaining in your daily calorie objective for weight reduction. It will additionally bring down your danger for coronary illness and other medical issue.
Bonus: always stick to balanced diets if you must stay healthy.
A balance diet is a meal which contain the six classes of food in their right proportion.
Having answered your question: what is a healthy meal plan, for further guidance, check out our recommended tips on how to make your healthy month meal plan.