Healthy Meal Plan: 15 common questions related to healthy eating

Healthy Meal Plan: 15 common questions related to healthy eating

Let’s just confess, we are so confused when choosing the food to eat, whether we should have dessert or avoid certain food. While writing useful articles for you, we come across many doubts our readers ask in their weight-loss journey. So, here we are in the ’15 Questions’ game. Because of being unsure about what to eat and what not to eat, your nutrition needs can suffer.

Here, Mad Bangles present the top 15 common questions we have been often asked, along with their answers. We hope they will help clear any doubts you have regarding balanced diet-related questions and answers about and what constitutes a healthy diet and also help you to improve your health.

1. How many vegetables should I be eating? Why should we eat more vegetables?

Nutrition USA says five serves of vegetables a day is best for optimum health. It doesn’t seem like much, but you may be surprised to know that 96% of people are not eating their recommended daily serve of veggies. 

Coming to the second doubts, we have all been told since childhood that vegetables are always good for us, but why? The answer is very boring, but simple – veggies are simply packed with minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. 

2. Are potato, corn, beans, and green peas good for one’s daily vegetable quota?

These vegetables are starches. Our utmost request to you people is to add vegetables to your daily meals. The more variety of color you add to your palate, the better the variety of vitamins and minerals you intake for your body. Red bell peppers, purple eggplant, green beans, yellow squash, cabbage, carrot, orange pumpkin—try them all. In a salad, soup, with your meat, in a stew, or even with your rice as a pillar.

3. Is sugar toxic?

Your body needs it for energy, says Suzanne Dixon, RD. She also added, “while sugar isn’t exactly toxic, it isn’t good for you in large amounts. If you eat large amounts of added sugar regularly, your body will pay the price”.

“The key to including some of the sweet stuff in a way that is healthy, not harmful,” Dixon says. She suggests focusing on getting sugars from natural sources, like fruit, jaggery, and squash. And limit added sugar (including using honey and maple syrup as sweeteners) to avoid going overboard.

4. Will cutting out rice from my diet help me lose weight?

You have to check for your calorie intake. The equation lies in – if your total calorie intake exceeds what your body can burn, then you gain weight. You will be surprised to know that 1/3 cup cooked rice has almost 100 calories – eventually, rice adds up fast in your calorie count. However, omitting rice may not be the only way that can help you reduce weight. Keep a food diary for a week, or check calorie count on the Google calorie count app and consult a nutritionist to help identify the hidden calories in your diet.

5 Is it okay to skip meals if I have a heavy breakfast?

It’s an old saying – “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”. However, our lifestyles have become much more sedentary since feudal times. It isn’t recommended to eat a large and heavy breakfast if you are just going to be sitting at your desk the entire day. Also, it doesn’t mean you can skip lunch if you’ve eaten a lot in the morning. Instead, spread your calorie intake throughout the day. Large gaps between meals might lead to hyperacidity.

6. I am a Vegetarian. Can beans and lentils alone fulfill my daily protein requirement?

Beans and lentils are good sources of protein. If you are a vegetarian, apart from lentils, there are many sources of protein that you can add to your diet. You can include paneer (cottage cheese), light tofu, yogurt, low-fat or skim milk, and soybeans. Just add grilled paneer to your salad, blend tofu with skim milk into soups to make thicker and creamier soups, and you can have buttermilk (chaas) as an afternoon snack.

7. Are green tea and biscuits good in-between meals snack options?

Green tea is known to be a great source of antioxidants and two cups a day is fine for your health. But, all you know with the liquids, it moves faster than solids, leaving you hungry again. And if you want to have green tea only for the anti-oxidants then there are many other sources for the same. Mind it, biscuits are a great source of starch, and high chances are that it only adds up to your calorie count, if you snack on them. So, if you have to eat biscuits, go for the whole wheat, multi-grain, or oat biscuits. You can also have a better version of snacks like fruits, nuts, seeds, and dry fruits than biscuits as your snack option. 

You can also read – How to loose weight in just 30 days!

8. What are some healthy “eat on the go” snack options?

Home-cooked foods are always the best option. Keep at least five small snacks in your bag that are a combination of protein and carbohydrates. While carbohydrates work as a main source of energy for the brain, the protein will help you keep your stomach full for some time. Having smoothies with whole fruits like strawberries, pomegranate, or peaches are some examples with no-added-sugar, or you can make a half a peanut butter sandwich made with whole wheat bread and half a tablespoon of natural peanut butter. 

9. What are good midnight snack food options?

Foods, nuts, dry fruits are the best options for midnight snacks. A cup of skim milk, two-thirds cup of probiotic plain yogurt, and even casein protein, which is a slow-release protein supplement are a few good options.

10. I eat healthy food and am still overweight, why?

Yes. You can be overweight even if you are on a home-cooked healthy diet plan. It depends on your portion sizes. Most healthy foods have calories, some contain more than others.

Therefore, if you are having large portions of those healthy foods that are higher in calories, consuming white rice, or lots of carbohydrates and you do not burn those extra calories, it is likely you will still gain weight, despite the “healthy diet”.

11. What are some good sources of fiber in foods to help reduce cholesterol levels?

Note down some easy ways to add extra fiber into your meal plan 

  • Ground flaxseed; add to Dosa or pancake batter.
  • About ¾ cup whole wheat bran flakes cereal with 200ml milk for breakfast.
  • Oatmeal; great morning breakfast option post morning walk/cardio.
  • A bowl of beans and veggie salad with dinner packs in a great amount of fiber.

Fiber without water is of no use; ensure you continue drinking enough water. Also, you have to minimize your intake of processed foods.

12. Is it okay to eat something immediately after exercise? If yes, what fruit juice should I eat?

Research says consuming a combination of protein supplements and carbohydrates [such as fruit, fruit juice, or a sports drink] within 20 minutes of your workout allows for the best use of the protein by your body. Protein is known to be the building blocks of muscle tissue, a whey protein supplement could be helpful to increase your strength, stamina, and endurance. 

13. Isn’t peanut butter fattening?

Peanut butter is mostly protein and fat, and most of which are heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It is advised that If had in small amounts, peanut butter is a good source of fiber. You will be surprised to know that it also contains vitamin B3 (niacin), which helps your body utilize energy out of foods; folate, which helps to form hemoglobin, and many other trace minerals. One serving of peanut butter is half a tablespoon.

14. Is it okay to cook food in extra virgin olive oil?

Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent choice when added in raw form on salads. However, please avoid using it for cooking as it has a low smoke point. So, this means that when you put in a hot pan, it smokes sooner than other cooking oils. When oil smokes, it no longer remains healthy and becomes potentially carcinogenic (cancer-causing).

15. Which is the healthiest cooking oil?

You can use all oils, except palm oils, which are healthy when used in small amounts. Use a variety of oils for cooking – vegetable oil, rice bran oil, groundnut oil, and soybean oil. Doctors advise you to keep changing your oil every month; so that way you can have both the heart-healthy fats which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—in your diet.

Diet is only half the story. Being in a good and healthy lifestyle will give you magic. Include some kind of exercise in your daily routine. This will multiply the goodness of your healthy diet. 

Archi Roy Choudhury

Archi Roy Choudhury

Archi is an avid reader, dreamer and a pollyanna by nature. Writing her heart out, she wants to paint the city with the colour of her thoughts. She loves to explore the famous food joints in Kolkata. Parents and friends all she needs to feel content. "Never Give Up" what boost her every day.

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