Most people eat as much as they want. The amount of food eaten varies from person to person and can differ based on hunger levels, mood, taste of food, habit of eating (little vs overeating) etc. Most people stop eating when their stomachs are reasonably full. Most people don’t think much about what they eat and how much they eat. Food serves a very important function of keeping people happy on a daily basis.
Only those who have targets in terms of their body weight or shape or feel a need to adjust their diets because of certain diseases such as Diabetes would want to know about how they can design their meals. Planning your diet isn’t very difficult especially in this age of the internet. Google will give you all the information about, not only the calorie content of different components of foods but also of prepared dishes.
Therefore the things that you would need to design your diet would be
1. Weighing scale and a measuring tape.
2. A kitchen scale
3. An ability to use Google to get all the necessary information.
4. A doctor or a dietician who is willing to advice you.
How many calories do YOU need?
Step 1: To identify your ideal body weight (IBW) – this can be done in a few ways.
a.Height in Centimeters minus 100= Ideal Body weight
b. By using the BMI – Ideal BMI ranges from 20-23.5 for Indian males and 25-30 for females. The BMI is calculated by the formula weight in Kg/Ht) x (Ht) in metres
Therefore the IBW for a person who is 1.85cm in height would be 68.5-81.5Kg.
Step 2: To calculate the number of Calories that you would need based on your IBW: 25 X IBW in Kgs. While there are many formulae to calculate your daily calorie requirement/ Basal Metabolic Rate, the 25 X IBW formula is the simplest. Therefore a 80Kg (IBW)adult would need 25 X 80 = 2000 Kcal/Day.
Note: While we generally suggest 25Kcal per kg of weight for adults, children may need upto 30-33Kcal/Kg of body weight.
Step 3: To be honest and to admit if you need to reduce your weight or increase it. If you need to reduce your weight, you would need to reduce your calorie intake (e.g., 20 X IBW in Kg). Similarly, if you needed to increase your body weight, you would need to consume 20% more calories a day. (i.e., 30 X IBW in Kg)
Step 4: To adjust the calories that you might take depending on the amount of exercise that you may do.
For light to moderate exercise (45-60mins of moderate intensity of exercise per day 40Kcal/Kg of body weight of food per day would suffice.
For very active exercises (60-120min of moderate intensity exercise every day) you may need 50Kcal/kg of food per day.
For those who are extremely active (marathon training etc), they would need 60Kcal/Day of calories.
Now to start Googling……………………….(calorie content of south Indian food etc)
Different websites give different values to the same food. Remember your calculation is only an approximate value.
Start weighing your food to calculate how many calories you are taking in now.
How to plan your meals?
You have now got to divide the calories between 3 meals and include at least 2 snacks making sure that you don’t exceed the total daily calories.
You need to Breakfast like a King
Lunch like a Prince and
Dine like a Pauper to stay healthy!
You should have the calculated calories distributed in 3 meals as BF:Lunch: Dinner- 45%: 35%:20%. Therefore someone needing 2000Kcal of food a day would need to take 900 Kcal for Breakfast, 700Kcal for Lunch and 400Kcal at dinner time. 2/3rd could be taken at meal time and 1/3rd as an in between meal snack.
It is recommended that you get 45-55% of your calories from Carbohydrates. 15-35% of calories from Proteins and 20-35% of calories from Fats.
A vegetarian south India diet has predominantly carbohydrate (rice) as the source of calories and very little of Proteins and Fats. Such diets may need to be supplemented with Proteins in the form of Lentils, Soya or high concentration Protein powders (Soya or Whey). Good vegetable cooking oils can be added (raw) generously to food to make up the contribution from Fats. (Groundnut oil or Sesame oil, Olive oil etc).Fibre intake can be increased by having plenty of green salad.
A non-vegetarian diet on the other hand has an excess of fat and salt in it. Non-veg gravies tend to have all the salt and the invisible fats (released from meat on cooking) Non-vegetarians need to cut down the rice and the gravies and focus on taking more fruits and vegetables as salads.
Plan your meal on paper and then try to follow it.