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Indian Loves India » cooking » Balanced Diet Food Groups and Their Nutritive Contribution

Balanced Diet Food Groups and Their Nutritive Contribution

BALANCED DIET: A balanced diet is defined as one which contains different types of foods in such quantities and proportions that the need for calories, minerals, vitamins and other nutrients is adequately met.A small provision has to be made for extra nutrients to withstand short duration of leanesss. A balanced diet is based on various items of food derived from each of food groups and also on the basic dietary pattern laid down for an individual.


GROUP I: Cereals, Roots and Tubers – All these primary supply energy or calories.Examples of food of this group are rice, wheat, jowar, bajra, ragi and other cereals, tapioca, potato, sweet-potato, colocasia, yam-roots and tubers. A significant contribution towards calories, proteins, iron and vitamins is made by this group (flours and cereals).These food are cheap and are taken in large amounts hence their importance in low income group. This food ranks as an important source of thiamine, niacin and iron.

GROUP II: Protein Giving Foods – The food stuffs in this group are primarly sources of protein, though cereals also furnish proteins. Daals, grains, peas, beans, groundnuts, cashewnuts, almonds, coconut, milk, curd, Butter-milk, paneer, khoya, eggs, fish, mutton, chicken, pork and other flesh foods make up this group. It provides protein both from vegetable and animal kingdom. Milk and dairy products are important sources of calcium and riboflavin.They are second only to meat group for their protein contribution. Meat, fish, eggs rank first for their protein, iron and niacin content.

GROUP III: Fats/Oils, Sugar/Jaggery – All these food stuff supply energy or calories – ghee, butter, sugar, vegetable oil, vanaspati, jaggery.This group consits of 1/6th of the energy value of the diet, but doesnot add appreciably to the protein, mineral or vitamin levels. Although oils should be used sparingly in the diet they add taste and flavour to the food.In India, commonly available cooking oils include mustard oil, coconut oil, til oil, groundnut oil and sunflower oil.


GROUP IV: Protective Vegetables and Fruits – Following are mainly suppliers of minerals and vitamins

Class A: Green leafy vegetables, palak (spinach).methi (fenugreek), arvi (colocasia) leaves and other similar greens

Class B: Yellow or Orange fruits and vegetables-papaya, mango, carrots, yellow pumpkin.

Class C: Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C-amla, guava, and lemon, orange.

They are the only important sources of ascorbic acid, contribute half to the vitamin A requirement, supply 1/5th of the iron required, making them just below the meat and the flour cereal groups in importance.

GROUP V: Other Vegetables – These provide variety in taste and texture and furnish roughage in the diet, e.g., Fruits, stems, leaves and flowers of plants, lady’s fingers, brinjals, bitter gourds and other gourds, cabbage, cauliflower, drumsticks.

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