September is National Nutrition Month in India, and this year’s theme is ‘healthy diet going affordable for all’. It is a reminder that holistic nutrition is an integral part of your well-being.
A healthy and affordable diet is a must and can be easier than you think, if you keep certain principles of food in mind. The important aspect of affordability and accessibility of food comes from choosing local produce and picking seasonal fruits and vegetables. It is important that the means are affordable; it is not important to opt for costlier alternatives, as there is no correlation between health and expense. Staple items, such as various local and seasonal fruits and vegetables are highly rich in micronutrients and serve as abundant sources of antioxidants and fluids, which are essential at both the cellular and systemic levels. Millets are the best source of fibre and minerals that are crucial for gut health and bone strength. Planning your meals in advance, buying your staples in bulk, and choosing local produce, especially for fresh produce, can be pocket-friendly. Batch cooking and incorporating plant-based proteins can also contribute to a healthy and affordable diet.
While recklessly eating packaged foods is unfair to your system, you can make smart switches and choices to ensure you get your macros and micros. If you can’t make breakfast on a busy morning, grabbing a granola bar and some fruit is better than skipping breakfast altogether or eating junk. It’s important to ensure that your daily food intake consists of a variety of vegetables, fruits, proteins, cereals, and grains. This formula can help support your healing and overcome health conditions. For a normal and healthy lifestyle, with a hyperactive routine, you can allocate a certain percentage of your diet to each food group.
Eating healthy is the core to good health, but at the same time, it should be sustainable and practical. Incorporating all food groups ensures that you get both macro and micronutrients. In a country like India, which is highly deficient in protein and healthy fats, incorporating a handful of almonds can provide healthy protein and heart-friendly fats. The theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month recognizes that a healthy diet is fundamental to overall well-being and aims to break down barriers that prevent people from obtaining nutritious food.
Implementing an affordable, healthy diet faces several challenges. The cost of fresh produce and lean proteins can be higher than processed alternatives. Limited access to affordable, nutritious food in some areas, known as food deserts, is another hurdle. Time constraints and hectic schedules make fast food seem like a convenient choice. Cultural preferences, limited cooking skills, and knowledge about nutrition can also hinder progress. Policy and economic factors can influence the affordability of healthy options. Overcoming these challenges requires a combination of education, advocacy, policy changes, and community support to make nutritious diets accessible to all.
To ensure you make the right choices for nutrition, here are some tips:
– Choose whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean proteins.
– Avoid sugary drinks or sodas and choose water instead.
– Compare nutrition labels and choose products with minimal additives and sugars.
– Practice 12-14 hours of intermittent fasting.
– Incorporate fruits and proteins as breakfast options alternatively.
– Do not mix cereal and fruits.
– Steer clear of unplanned, expensive purchases.
– Pay attention to unit prices and choose the most economical options.
By following these tips and being mindful of your choices, you can implement the National Nutrition Month in your daily diet. Remember, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, and it is essential for your overall well-being.