Q: Hi Dr. Ketch, I have a question for you. How can one eat a balance diet daily? In other words, what can we be eating on a daily basis that should be regarded as a balance diet morning, afternoon and evening/night.. Thanks
A: Diet should focus on what we eat, how we eat it, how we cook it and the portions we eat.
What should we eat?
All food groups: Don’t fall all those ‘don’t eat fats’, ‘don’t eat carbs’ diets. Every food group is important. Just ensure that you take only the right portions.
• Proteins: focus on white meats (fish, chicken), plant proteins like melon seeds
• Carbohydrates: focus on complex carbohydrates like whole grain wheat bread, oat meal (made as porridge or used as swallow food to go with local soups), beans etc. White carbs as found in pastries cause your blood sugar to yo yo (go up and down) because soon after you’ve eaten them, you feel hungry wanting to eat even more. Clearly, this cannot help any weight loss program 😀
• Fats and oils: Use healthy oils like Olive oil, Canola oil etc and use sparingly. Generally oils that are solid at room temperature are full of unsaturated fats which are not healthy for you.
• Vitamins and minerals: Load up on fruits and veggies and make sure you have them with every meal. They are full of vitamins, anti-oxidants and other nutrients that help your body fight diseases.
Sea salt is touted to have a lot of minerals that are good for you, but make no mistake about it…sea salt contains as much sodium chloride as common salt or table salt. For anyone to get the benefits of the extra minerals they contain, they must be taking a whole lot more salt that what they need in a day. Remember that excessive consumption of salt leads to high blood pressure.
• Water: Drink sufficient amounts of water daily to keep your joints supple, encourage proper excretion, prevent dehydration etc
How should we eat it?
Slowly. Make a conscious effort to chew your food properly and take your time. Don’t wolf it down…or inhale it :D. Chew intentionally so as to give your brain sufficient time to process the signal from your brain which says that you are full. Have you observed that when you rush your food, you move from being very hungry to being completely stuffed! There’s no in-between, where you realize that you’re full before you get to the stuffed part. That’s because your brain didn’t have enough time to process that info before you became ‘over-full’.
Cooking of food should be done bearing healthy cooking methods in mind. Poach, grill, steam, boil etc.
Portions: Even if you do all the above but we take excessive amounts, then we will pile on the weight. What are the right portions? First, reduce plate size and then ensure that half the plate is filled with fruits and veggies, a quarter is filled with carbs and the last quarter with protein. Remember the tips we’ve given above and focus on picking the right foods from the mentioned classes.
Now don’t go piling your plate high while staying within your portions 😀 That’s an absolute no!!! Even if a food is considered healthy, it doesn’t mean you should eat as much of it as you want. For instance, beams is healthy on so many levels but it also high in calories and so you still need to stick to the portion described. Moderation in everything!!
Breakfast: Remember to eat like a king’
• Wheat bread with peanut butter and a glass of fresh juice (or fruit slices)
• Or Oatmeal with fruit slices
• Or a slice of wheat bread with an egg and a glass of juice
• Or a smoothie
• Or A wrap of moi-moi with oats or pap and some fruits
Lunch: Eat like a prince
• Vegetable soup with fish and oatmeal (remember that the vegetable soup should be half the plate, the fish a quarter of the plate and the swallow should be normal height 😀
• Or local rice with stew (please no sign of floating oil should be seen :D), grilled chicken and veggies. Again I feel compelled to explain that the veggies should be half the plate, the rice and chicken should take up a quarter of the plate respectively
• Or Bean pottage with vegetables and fish. If you choose to have some plantain with it, just understand that the beans and plantains are struggling for a quarter of the plate which MUST NOT be crowded 😀
• Spaghetti (pasta) with sauce, salad and fish/chicken. Again, no mounds please!
Dinner: Eat like a pauper
• Boiled sweet potatoes with vegetable sauce and fish
• Or a (small) bowl of salad with a wheat bread roll
I have had cause to describe the ideal plate of food several times: Half the plate should be filled with vegetables, a quarter with complex carbohydrates like beans, local rice (like Ofada/Abakaliki/brown/wild rice), sweet potatoes, oatmeal etc and the last quarter with protein (fish, chicken etc). Remember that carbs are necessary to provide the energy needed for our daily activities. So, O do not ‘demonise’ (:D) them….however, not all carbs are created equal. Complex carbs are superior because they supply energy and fibre and some also supply minerals and vitamins.
I hope this helps.
Have a good night y’all 😀