All systems of our body like brain, heart, lungs, and muscle require food.
If we don’t eat a balanced diet, our body will not work well. We should think of our body as a factory.
Each department of which will work well if it is provided with proper raw material. It is great fun to enjoy food but it is equally important that the food is balanced according to the needs of our body. That means a balanced diet.
It is very essential that the food we eat should be selected carefully. What does a good diet mean? A diet containing all the nutrients in right quantity required by the body is called a balanced diet.
The nutrients are: Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and salts.
Carbohydrates, as a class, are found in nature. They are produced by green plants and by bacteria using the process known as photosynthesis. They are known as energy giving foods, e.g. Rice, potato and wheat, bread, sugar.
Proteins are called body builders. They help to repair the wear and tear of the body. Milk, milk products, eggs, meat, fish, soyabeans, peas are growth promoting foodstuff. Growing children must have food that contains bodybuilding proteins.
Fats provide energy. e.g. nuts, ghee and oil.
They improve our appetite, help us to fight against diseases, keep our body fit. e.g. Green leafy vegetables, yellow vegetables, fresh fruits, are rich source of vitamins. Vitamin A in carrots is good for our eyes, Vitamin B in nuts helps us absorb energy from other foods, Vitamin C in oranges and lemons protects against cold. Exposure of body to sunlight is a good source of vitamin D.
Important minerals for our body are iron, calcium, zinc etc. They protect us against diseases. We get calcium from milk, cheese, and fish and get Iron from green leafy vegetables. Iron gives our blood more oxygen. Zinc is found in pulses, meat, seafood etc.
To increase the nutritive value of food we should eat sprouted and germinated grains, pulses, and cereals.
Here’s a fun filled activity for us
A small bowl, full of whole grains of green Moong.
A piece of wet muslin cloth
Green chillies 2-3
Salt to taste
Wash and soak Moong grains in water, tie them in a piece of muslin cloth and hang it in the kitchen overnight. After a day we will observe sprouts in the Moong. Transfer the sprouted Moong in a bowl, add chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies (if you like it), salt to taste, add the juice of a lemon and mix well, (take your mother’s help in chopping the onions etc.) Now the sprouted Moong salad is ready to eat. Isn’t it good and tasty? Encourage your friends to eat sprouted grains as a breakfast snack.
We can be sick if we only eat energy rich food or only protein rich food, so we must eat a variety of food. Always refuel and recharge your body with rice, wheat etc as they give lots of energy. One should eat plenty of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables which also provide fibres.
Eating spoilt food may make us fall sick. Do not over eat. As vegetables lose a lot of vitamins and minerals to the water in which it is boiled, we should use the left out water in preparing soup etc. Nutrients are lost when food is being overcooked. Also food like idli, dosa, dhokla etc. made of fermented batter is easy to digest and nutritious.
Children should not move out without fuelling up for the day or you will never catch up with the day’s nutrients. If you do not get enough nutrients how will you grow, be smart and get energy to play and study? Breakfast cereals, milk, fruits, toast, and juice make a healthy start.
So for a good health we must eat wholesome, simple and nutritious food.