Secret to long life: Eat well

Friday April 12 2013

By SILVIA RUGINA Rwanda Today

You are what you eat. Unlike in the past, these words have become common in our day-to-day communication, because of how unhealthy people have become in the modern day.

When I was growing up, a chubby child or an adult was said to be the healthiest of the lot but it is no longer the case today because of the health effects of being overweight.

When you go to a restaurant, especially during lunch hours, try to observe how much and what people serve. You will be surprised what a pile one person eats.

Most of the time, three-quarters of the plate is full of unhealthy foods like red meat and French fries.

Healthy eating is all about balance. When the right types of food are served in balanced amounts, it can help you control weight while lowering the risk of chronic diseases.

A balanced diet is especially important if you want to lead a healthy lifestyle. Proper portions of carbohydrates, proteins, and other nutrients can help you manage your health and avoid complications.

One simple way is to know how to balance your plate. Nutritionists’ advise that filling half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as greens, broccoli, carrots, and French beans is the first step to eating right.

Serving food

When serving food, start by filling half your plate with vegetables. Fill half of the remaining space with starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods such as green bananas, bread, rice, potatoes, or beans. The remaining space, about one quarter of the total plate is the spot for protein-rich food such as red meat and chicken.

Have a bowl of fruit and a glass of milk on the side, and you will have eaten a complete, balanced meal. Balancing your plate is a great first step toward a healthier diet.

Diseases

A balanced diet keeps diseases at bay. When you eat balanced diet, you will protect yourself from chronic diseases among them diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Obesity

Many a time people associate obesity with overeating. However, being overweight can be a result of poor eating habits.
The wrong kind of foods end up being deposited as fat in the body.

Meeting your nutritional needs

Your daily food intake should include grain, fruit, milk, yoghurt or other low fat dairy products like cheese, vegetables, beans, oils and protein.

Healthy menu

Breakfast: Whole wheat bread, cereals, milk, fruit, low fat cheese and boiled eggs.

Lunch: Vegetables, rice, beans, boiled potatoes, a bowl of fruits, chicken/meat and fresh juice

Dinner: A bowl of mixed vegetables and whole wheat bread can serve as dinner to avoid feeling bloated at night.