With a lot of information now available about nutrition and dieting, it can become quite a confusing topic. Well, one thing you need to keep in mind about nutrition is that it’s certainly not something you should just “google,” because it deals with your health; it’s a science.
So, of course, if it deals with your health, it’s best to seek or listen to professionals and not just fitness influencers or personal trainers. And, the best professional to listen to is a Nutritionist-Dietitian, a profession or title that is regulated in the Philippines. These are individuals who have obtained a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and have passed the licensure board exam. So, whenever you or your friends or family have any concerns about their diet, it is best to advise them to seek the help of a Nutritionist-Dietitian to ensure that their health is in the right hands.
Nutrition is the science that deals with how food interacts with or affects our bodies and our health. Although nutrition is quite technical, ideally personalized as there is no “one size fits all” diet, there are some basic points to keep in mind if you want to have a healthy diet.
The four basic principles of a healthy diet can be remembered with the acronym MOVABAL:
Healthy eating is not about restrictions, but rather moderation. No one wants to be deprived, right? “Everything in moderation” is a healthy mindset to have, so portion control is key. This involves familiarization with the standard servings of the different food groups i.e. for rice, ½ cup is 1 serving, 2 pieces of sliced bread is equivalent to ½ cup of rice, etc. It’s best to learn about this from a dietitian, but you can also search for “food exchange lists” on Google to have an idea. However, I promise you: seeing a dietitian can get you the right information and methods faster.
Healthy eating need not be boring given the wide variety of choices we have at hand. Even the colors of fruits and vegetables have a divine purpose–each color actually represents a unique set of antioxidants in addition to the vitamins and minerals we can get from them.
This is why there is now a campaign encouraging everyone to “Eat the rainbow!” because we need to eat as colorful as possible when it comes to fruits and vegetables so that we can get a wide variety of nutrients since there is no single food that contains all of the nutrients we need. Variety in our food choices, including our starchy carb and protein choices, is vital to getting as much of the nutrients we need each day.
Practical tip: Think of your fruits and vegetables by color. Make sure to choose at least 5 different colors of vegetables (e.g red, yellow, green, orange, violet) and 2-3 different kinds of fruits for the week when doing your groceries.
Eating healthy is not about eating as little as possible; it’s about eating right. If we don’t allow our gadgets to go low batt, we should treat our bodies the same way. We need to make sure we are getting enough energy from the food we eat. This is a matter of choosing the right kinds of food to fuel you well and knowing how much of each food you need each day—quality and quantity matter.
The Pinggang Pinoy is the healthy plate model created and promoted by the National Nutrition Council as an easy illustration and reminder of what we need to eat every meal—our Glow, Go, and Grow foods and their respective portions on our plates. We need to ensure that these 3 food groups are present in every meal to have a balanced diet. Having this triad provides satiety, which will most likely provide the energy and nutrients we need each day.
Nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated. Now, you are equipped with the basic knowledge of healthy eating, and this is something you can apply for the rest of your life and share with your family and friends as well. Wherever you go, whoever you’re with, you can’t go wrong when you bank on the basics. So, I hope this is something you will eagerly put into practice from here on out. Remember MOVABAL!