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Eating Healthy: Daily Nutrition Guidelines

Medikoe Wellness Expert

Medikoe Wellness Expert

  80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru     May 31, 2019

   6 min     

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Overview

A nutritious and healthy diet is one of the most natural and the best ways to remain healthy, fit and active. Nutrition is the science of interpretation of the interaction of nutrients with health, growth, disease, maintenance, reproduction, etc. Eating nutritious and healthy food in ideal proportions can boost one's physical as well as mental health and prevent malnutrition and various ailments. Hence, it is important to educate oneself and be aware of nutritional guidelines.

Nutritional guidelines

Every individual requires different types of nutrients in different amounts, depending on various factors like gender, age, level of physical activity, etc. However, the basic principles of nutrition and the basic guidelines regarding a healthy diet remain the same. Based on years of research, experts have devised daily nutrition guidelines, which an individual should consume for optimal growth and development.

Nutritional guidelines for adults

The nutritional guidelines that adults should follow, on average, is as follows:

  • Energy intake should be about 8700kJ

  • Protein: 50gm

  • Fat: 70gm

  • Carbohydrates: 310gm

  • Dietary fibre: 30gm

  • Sugars: 90gm

  • Salt: 2.3gm

Based on the above figures, the daily nutrition percentages are as follows:

  • Proteins: 20% of total calorie intake

  • Fats: 30% of total calorie intake

  • Carbohydrates: 50% of total calorie intake

A diet packed with vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, etc., will provide all the requires vitamins, minerals, and fibre as well. Therefore, you do not have to be troubled much with it.

Nutritional guidelines for kids

Nutrition for kids and adolescents is based on the very principle of nutrition for adults. Everybody needs the same kinds of nutrients — such as carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. Children, however, require different quantities of particular nutrients at varying ages.

Ages 2 to 4: Daily intake guidelines for girls

Calories: 1,000-1,400, depending on growth and activity level

Protein: 55-115 gms

Fruits: 1-1.5 cups

Vegetables: 1-1.5 cups

Grains: 85-140 gm

Dairy: 56-70 gm

Ages 2 to 4: Daily intake guidelines for boys

Calories: 1,000-1,600, based on activity level and growth

Protein: 56-140 gm 

Fruits: 1-1.5 cups

Vegetables: 1-2 cups

Grains: 85-140 gm 

Dairy: 56-70 gm 

Ages 5 to 8: Daily intake guidelines for girls

Calories: 1,200-1,800, based on activity level and growth

Protein: 85-140 gm 

Fruits: 1-1.5 cups

Vegetables: 1.5-2.5 cups

Grains: 113-170 gm 

Dairy: 2.5 cups

Ages 5 to 8: Daily intake guidelines for boys

Calories: 1,200-2,000, based on activity level and growth

Protein: 85- 155 gm

Fruits: 1-2 cups

Vegetables: 1.5-2.5 cups

Grains: 115-170 gm

Dairy: 2.5 cups

Ages 9 to 13: Daily intake guidelines for girls

Calories: 1,400-2,200, based on activity level and growth

Protein: 115-170 gm

Fruits: 1.5-2 cups

Vegetables: 1.5-3 cups

Grains: 140-200 gm 

Dairy: 3 cups

Ages 9 to 13: Daily intake guidelines for boys

Calories: 1,600-2,600, based on activity level and growth

Protein: 140-185 gm

Fruits: 1.5-2 cups

Vegetables: 2-3.5 cups

Grains: 140-255 gm

Dairy: 3 cups

Ages 14 to 18: Daily intake guidelines for girls

Calories: 1,800-2,400, based on activity level and growth

Protein: 140-185 gm

Fruits: 1.5-2 cups

Vegetables: 2.5-3 cups

Grains: 170-225 gm

Dairy: 3 cups

Ages 14 to 18: Daily intake guidelines for boys

Calories: 2,000-3,200, based on activity level and growth

Protein: 155-200 ounces

Fruits: 2-2.5 cups

Vegetables: 2.5-4 cups

Grains: 170-285 ounces

Dairy: 3 cups

Daily nutrition calculator

The daily nutrition or the amount of calories required depends on age, gender, or if the person is looking to lose or gain weight. A simple way to calculate the daily calorie requirement for weight maintenance is by multiplying the weight (in kilograms) by 25. So roughly speaking, an 80kg individual will need 2000 calories per day to maintain weight. It is a rough approximation, and the actual values may depend on the gender of the individual or the levels of physical activity.

Women's daily nutritional requirements are generally lower as compared to men. However, in certain conditions or illnesses, or if the woman is pregnant, the daily requirement may vary greatly, and one must consult a dietitian.

Tips

Stick to whole foods

These are nutritious, whole foods. You want to keep everything in your diet as fresh, organic and minimally processed as possible (i.e., foods in their original state, such as a banana over a bottled fruit banana smoothie).

Balance you palate

Protein, fibre, healthy fats, and colour – these are four areas you need to be able to check off in each meal. You should try to eat at least two or more servings of colour and fibre, and 0.5 – 1 serving of proteins as your main meals (one food item can mark off various boxes, i.e. vegetables such as carrots check both fibres as well as colour, and eggs can check both healthy fats as well as protein). Portion size should be proportionate to a person's size. As a common rule, the size of your closed fist is one serving for you.

Stay hydrated

Sufficient hydration supports your body in performing all essential functions, restricts overconsumption at meals, and snacking in between those meals. The body can seldom mistake thirst for hunger. Water is also the most excellent natural detoxifier. It carries nutrients throughout your body and helps in removing waste products from your cells. Try drinking half a gram of fluid per kg of body weight.

Eat when you're hungry

As evolved and smart as we are, our bodies are created for survival. Our bodies are not intended for purposeful constraints for weight loss. They are meant to reserve energy for moments of necessity (such as famine). We want you to feel fulfilled and fueled as it raises your success rate!

Stay prepared

Healthy food options are simpler to be made when they are convenient. Having healthy food on hand and ready to go helps to choose your health plan comfortably than getting fast food at drive-thrus.

Other guidelines

Besides the above-mentioned daily requirements of various nutrients, one must also keep the following points while planning a diet:

  • One must consume at least 400g of fruits and vegetables per day (excluding starchy items like potatoes, cassava, etc.).

  • Intake of free sugars should not be more than 10% of daily energy intake.

  • Similarly, the intake of saturated fats should also be less than 10% of daily energy intake, and intake of trans-fats should be lower than 1% of daily energy intake.

  • Infants should be excessively breastfed until six months of age. Thereafter, it should be complemented with nutrient-dense food items (devoid of salt and sugar).

As already mentioned, these are only general guidelines, and the actual figures may vary from person to person. There are various online daily nutrition calculators that one may use to know the daily nutritional requirement. Moreover, it is highly advised to reach out to a professional dietitian to assess your nutritional needs.

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