Must-have nutrients for breakfast, lunch and dinner; nutritionist suggests


Which is the most important meal of the day – is it breakfast, lunch or dinner? While this can be a matter of debate, the best answer to this is “all.” It is not just breakfast or lunch that one must plan with care, but also the snacks that must be eaten mindfully keeping in mind how they are going to affect us in longer run. All of our meals should be balanced and have essential nutrients that are important not only to energise us for the day ahead but also to build holistic health as we grow older and at increased risk of many ailments. However, depending on the time of your meal, you can divide these nutrients for reaping best health benefits. (Also read: 5 amazing nutrients to support your mental health)

Delnaz Chanduwadia, Chief Dietician & Nutritionist, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre talks about the must-have nutrients for the three major meals of your day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“Each food is packed with macro and micro nutrients. Looking at food as just Kcals is being very myopic. Food is more than just calories. Each meal should be balanced and must contain nutrients that help in bodily functions,” says Chanduwadia.

She suggests adding the following nutrients to your meals every day

BREAKFAST

Breakfast should be packed with protein, fats and fibre.

* Carbs: If you do indulge in high intensity activities – one can consume carbohydrates in the form of fruits in the morning on empty stomach. Carbohydrates help to give that surge of energy and jump start the day. Fruits are also loaded with essential vitamins and minerals which help to regulate many functions in the body.

* Proteins: They work towards repair of wear and tear. This is an ongoing process and most recovery occurs at night. Protein acts as raw material in this recovery process and needs to be consumed in every meal.

* Fats: They have a plethora of functions and also aid in long term satiety along with fibre which aids in gut health.

Breakfast: Consuming fruit on an empty stomach could be helpful(YouTube)
Breakfast: Consuming fruit on an empty stomach could be helpful(YouTube)

LUNCH AND DINNER

* Good quality carbs and protein: Lunch must be a balanced meal of good quality carbohydrates, high biological value protein, good fats and fibre. Proteins are an integral part of every single meal; they cannot be stored in the body the way fat and carbohydrates can be stored. Hence protein in every single meal is most important.

*Essential fats: They work towards increasing the metabolic rate, fat burn, lubrication and to maintain integrity of the nerve cells etc. 1 gram of fat gives 9 kcals as against 1 gram of carbohydrate that gives 4 kcals. Keeping this in mind, a small amount of fat helps in satiety. Fat is also the base of many hormones and must be consumed in regulated amounts.

*Fibre: It helps to maintain gut health; it also works as a prebiotic. Due to our increased intake or processed foods- a lot of metabolic issues arise due to the lack of fibre intake. It is important to ensure that we consume at least 15-200g of salad for lunch and dinner.

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