Healthy eating principles are essential guidelines which help bring about general growth, maintenance, and development of the body. The basic principle of a balanced meal is to ensure that all the food requirements of the body are met in a regulated manner. A healthy meal plan avoids excess consumption of refined sugars, and fats in general and saturated fat in particular.
Whole grains, cereals, (like wheat, rice, ragi, maize, bajra,) and whole wheat bread should form the largest part of the meal. They are healthier than processed and refined cereals like white bread, biscuits, cakes, naan etc. Restrict foods made from maida like white bread, naan, biscuit, cake etc.
Beans, legumes and pulses
All types of beans, legumes are good, provided they are cooked with less oil or ghee. Grams, peas, beans, whole and/or, dehusked and split dals and gram flour (besan), rajmah, soybeans are all healthy choice. They are a good source of protein for vegetarians.
Vegetables constitute the next important part of the meal. Most vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, as well as high in fibre.
Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, as well as high in fibre. Most fruits can be taken in moderate amounts (about 2-3 servings).
Milk or milk products
Double toned or skimmed milk is preferable to whole or buffalo milk, as the latter is rich in fat. Milk products such as cottage cheese, cheese and curd prepared from skimmed or double toned milk maybe taken in moderation.
Fish, chicken, white of eggs are healthier choices amongst the non-vegetarian foods. Red meat, sausage, bacon, ham, liver, kidney, egg yolk, fish or chicken cooked in rich gravies/curries like butter chicken, mutton kormas are not healthy choices as they are rich in fat.
Fats must be taken in restricted amounts only as it has a high calorific value. Too much fat, especially saturated fat like butter oil (ghee), butter, cream, hydrogenated fat (vanaspati) can be harmful. Olive oil, rapeseed oil, mustard oil, gingelly oil, and groundnut oil are the healthier oils, and are preferred as the cooking medium.