How to plan a healthy diet? Follow this food timetable

Representative image: Shutterstock/Dmitry Galaganov

Health and nutrition experts say that following a proper food timetable could help you lead a healthy life. The number of women who are diagnosed with thyroid and anaemia are going up on an alarming rate. Merina Elizabeth Alex, senior dietician at the Madras Medical Mission hospital says that women who reside in urban areas are prone to obesity and other diseases due to unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. She was replying to the readers’ questions and doubts in a phone – in session ‘Healthy Food Habits’ organised by Malayala Manorama recently. Merina gave proper instructions about the significance of healthy eating and diet planning too.

What should be the diet to control diabetes?

Food items that are loaded with starch and sugar should be strictly avoided. Reduce rice intake; instead, include food items that are cooked in steam. Tapioca and other tubers are store houses of starch.

Try to include lots of veggies in regular diet. Diabetic patients can eat a fruit in a day. Make sure to eat nutrient rich food at right intervals. Do not skip exercises. If you suffer from sudden drop in sugar levels, then drink a glass of milk and half cup fruits in the night to prevent exhaustion next morning.

How can you prevent obesity?

Some people complain that their body weight isn’t proportionate to their height (body mass index) while others are worried how to reduce the body weight. Eating nutritious food at right intervals and exercise are the key to reducing body weight.

Late night dinners could do more harm than good. It is better to eat the dinner before 9 pm. Besides, do not overeat in the night.

Do not skip your daily exercise. Walking for an hour in the morning could help in reducing the body weight. No one can reduce body weight in one go. It should be done slowly in stages. You have to be patient until you see results.

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Heathy diet

Cashews, almonds and sprouts are excellent to maintain health. Munching on deep fried food could be harmful. As much as 500 grams of veggies are required for the human body everyday. Besides, 100 gm fruits too should be eaten. Meanwhile, grains and pulses would ensure nutrition. Instead of snacking on fried food or junk food, you could try fruits, nuts or boiled chickpeas.

Eating at the right time is as vital as eating nutritious food. A lighter dinner, eaten at least two hours before you hit the bed, would ensure a good night’s sleep.

Make exercising a habit in your daily life.

Healthy chicken salad to include in your weight-loss diet


Lack of veggies in the diet is a major reason for the various health issues faced by people living in the urban area. This is one of the reasons for anaemia too as the body doesn’t have enough iron. Leafy vegetables and spinach should be made part of regular diet. Spinach are storehouses of iron that keep away diseases. Try to increase the amount of vegetable intake by reducing the amount of rice in your meal.

Hair fall and iron

Iron deficiency is a major reason for hair fall. Pomegranates, gooseberries, nuts and dates should be included in the diet. Those who have anaemia should strictly include pomegranates in their regular diet. Besides, lemon and gooseberries that contain vitamin C too are excellent.

Diet plan

Breakfast (between 7 am – 9 am)

Suggestion: Steamed food items like idli with mint chutney and sambar.

Lunch (between 10 am – 1 pm)

Suggestion: Rice (up to 250 gms) with vegetable dishes, fish curry and dal curry

Evening (between 3 pm – 4 pm)

Suggestion: Vegetable sandwich, sundal

Dinner (between 7 pm – 8 pm)

Suggestion: Steam cooked food

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