Home/What you need to know about balanced meals

In this time of pandemic, having a strong and healthy body is essential since our bodies serve as the first line of defense against sickness from viruses, like COVID-19. Putting a premium on your health and nutrition will always do well to your body and overall wellness. However, it is an alarming fact that seven out of 10 Filipino Adults do not achieve the recommended energy and nutrient daily. This is probably caused by improper food intake and poor food choices.

Knowing what to eat and how much do you need can be a taxing task for most working adults. People generally neglect their food intake and food choices. This can be solved by various tools developed by experts in order to address the need of awareness for proper eating habits.

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology developed Pinggang Pinoy®: Healthy Food Plate for Filipinos. The plate model developed in 2015 serves as a guide in choosing the types of food to eat and the proper portioning of the food groups in order to achieve enough calories for energy while simultaneously receiving a balanced amount of nutrients. Pinggang Pinoy® comes in different versions for different age groups – kids, teens, adults, elderly, pregnant, and lactating women.

Pinggang Pinoy® (for Adults) suggests Filipinos to have the half of their plate (50%) filled with vitamin-and-mineral-packed fruits and vegetables or Glow Foods, 33% for Go Foods such as rice, bread, pasta, and root crops that are rich in carbohydrates, and 17% for protein-rich foods such as chicken, pork, egg, fish, and seafood most commonly known as Grow foods. There are recommendations as well for daily water intake.

To further help you in remembering the essentials of proper food intake, just remember Ta-Ma-Sa.

Tamang Dami

Eat in moderation to obtain adequate food suited to your needs.

                Under or over consumption of food can lead to malnourishment, which could put your health at risk in the long-run. Not being mindful of the amount of food we eat like when we are stress-eating or if we are in front of our favourite food, could lead to habitual overconsumption of food. This may pose serious health risks so that it needs to be addressed before it causes serious illness. Lack of food intake equally puts hazard on the body. This could be happen when we eat less than what is required by our body like for people who are in an extreme weight loss regimen or people who skip meals and eat in unacceptably small portions since your body runs on the nutrients provided by food.

Mag-balanse

Eat a balanced meal across all food groups to ensure adequate macronutrient intake.

                As mentioned, Pinggang Pinoy® can greatly help you in achieving a balanced meal. Applying the basic portioning of Pinggang Pinoy® across all food groups in your daily meals can lead to adequate calorie and nutrient intake. These food groups have their own functions that’s why when you omit or lack in one of the food groups and nutrients, your overall nutrition and wellness is compromised.

  • When you omit Go foods in your diet, you will generally run low on energy since carbohydrates are the main fuel source of your body.
  • When you lack in protein or Grow foods, your muscles will go weak since these proteins are made for building and repairing muscle tissues.
  • When you cut down your fruits and vegetable intake, you are depriving your body of the essential vitamins and minerals that are used for regulating body functions as well as strengthening your body’s defenses to illnesses.

Filipinos, having rice as a staple, often pile up their plate with rice paired to a fried meat or fish. Sometimes, that pile of rice is paired with instant noodles as viand. This shows significant imbalance of the macronutrients and any imbalance may lead to illness.

Sari-sari

Eat a varied and colorful meal with different ingredients and cooking techniques.

                When your application of Pinggang Pinoy® becomes a habit, you will probably see a varied set of food groups on your plate. A colorful plate tells you that you are taking in varied nutrients from different food groups. Aside from the ingredients, you must also learn various cooking methods in order to widen your food choices. Try to cook soupy dishes thru boiling, saucy dishes thru stewing or braising, as well as, roasted and grilled dishes.

Many are hesitant to switch to healthier food choices. They have this misconception that healthy food is expensive. But actually, Pinggang Pinoy® is really simple and affordable too. Try this easy to cook Meatball Rice Bowl recipe made with Sarsaya® Oyster Sauce. It’s easy-to-do, budget-friendly, and delicious. You can follow this pattern and experiment different dishes and combinations that will perfectly suit your taste, budget, and preference.

Always remember, having a strong and healthy body is essential and in order to achieve this, proper food intake and food choices are needed. Pinggang Pinoy® is a guide that will help you prepare and eat food in the right amount and right balance across all food groups. Remember Ta-Ma-Sa: Tamang Dami, Mag-balanse, Sari-sari.

Aside from Pinggang Pinoy®, there are other guides that can help you have a strong and healthy body. The National Nutrition Council developed the Nutritional Guide for Filipinos also known as "10 Kumainments." This guide comes with the reminder to be active, maintaining the right weight, as well as moderation in terms of intake of salty and fatty dishes since this is a factor of developing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like hypertension. You can learn more about hypertension on the next blog.

Stay safe and always remember to eat right.

ChristianJosephBaluyot_AjinomotoCulinaryNutritionist

Christian Joseph S. Baluyot, RND is AJINOMOTO PHILIPPINES CORPORATION’s Junior Specialist for Culinary Nutrition. He develops recipe, conducts nutrition research and provides nutrition information as a licensed nutritionist-dietitian. Jhay graduated at the Manila Tytana Colleges with a Bachelor’s Degree in Holistic Nutrition with Culinary Arts. 

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