Doesn’t a hearty, wholesome meal leave you revitalised and lift your spirits? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this feeling every day? A well-balanced diet can help us achieve that, as our physical well-being is dependent on it, along with an active lifestyle. A nourishing diet that includes all the food groups is vital for good health. Akshaya Patra’s menu ensures that the meals we provide to school children as part of our Mid-Day Meal Programme, which includes dal, vegetables, herbs, spices and food grains, includes all the seven components that a meal must have to ensure a truly healthy diet. Which are these seven components:
Proteins are rightfully called the ‘building blocks of the body’. They aid the development, maintenance and repair of body tissues, including skin, muscles and internal organs, along with hair. Dals – served regularly as part of our meals – are rich in proteins, along with beans and legumes.
Vitamins are organic compounds that our body needs in small quantities to regulate different bodily functions, including catalysis and metabolism. Some of them also act as antioxidants.
Leafy vegetables and fresh foods are a good source of vitamins, the deficiency of which in the body, can lead to diseases and complications.
Carbohydrates – sugars, fibres and starches – are an important source of glucose, which is converted to energy that fuels the body. They are also known to facilitate fat metabolism, along with affecting the functioning of the brain. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates.
Minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, calcium and others are essential for healthy bones and teeth, well-functioning nerves and muscles and strong immunity. Beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, whole grains are good sources of minerals, along with dairy products.
Fats in nutrition refer to fatty acids. A high intake of certain types of fats can be harmful to the body, but the ‘good’ fats are essential for a strong body composition, good skin and healthy eyes. They are instrumental in the health of cell membranes. Nuts, coconut, coconut oil, ghee are good sources of dietary fats.
Dietary fibres are essential for a good digestive system. They help us feel full, thereby keeping us from overeating and help maintain body weight. They also help regularise bowel movements and keep the bowels healthy. Wholegrain cereals, beans, pulses, lentils legumes are good sources of fibres.
Water sustains life on the planet, so it is no surprise then that up to 60% of the human body is made up of water. Drinking ample water throughout the day is necessary for survival, as water is a major component of all the body parts and helps in regulating its temperature, along with maintaining other body functions.
The seven components stated above are all a part of the nutritious meals served by Akshaya Patra to school children across India. They keep classroom hunger at bay and nourish their health and dreams for the future. Help us fulfil our vision that no child in India be deprived of hunger by making a wholesome meal available to them every day.
Do you have any tips for making meals healthier and more nutritious? Share them in the comments section below!
Read more about Akshaya Patra here.