How to ensure you get all nutrients from your diet?

People fall into a rut of eating without adequate nutrition, and turn to looking deeper only when they have a condition or are deficient in a nutrient. A good diet is a framework for life, making your journey in life a very healthy one.

How to ensure you get all nutrients from your diet?

Wednesday December 22, 2021,

5 min Read

Is there a way that you can get all your nutrients from your diet? This depends on a few things which we will go into below. A nutritious diet needs to be made as simple as possible in order to make it sustainable. It is not about adding specific foods for a specific problem, which is what happens many times.

Sometimes, people fall into a rut of eating without adequate nutrition, and turn to looking deeper only when they have a condition or are deficient in a nutrient. A good diet is a framework for life, making your journey in life a very healthy one. What can you do to ensure this?

1.   Restrictive versus diverse

There are two aspects to this. The first happens by default when you choose a specific diet where certain macronutrients are removed or when it is meant to be for a therapeutic reason. This can include diets like paleo, keto, low FODMAP or a plant based one. A therapeutic diet like a low FODMAP one is meant to be done only short term to allow the body to heal.

If your choice is a plant-based one for ethical reasons, this does not mean that you cannot do it in a way where you provide adequate nutrients. However, it needs some conscious effort, and many people fall short.

The second way happens when you get stuck to a few options for proteins, vegetables, and grains. Eating the same five vegetables out of habit is one way this happens. In this case, it helps to simply be mindful of a time for therapeutic diets and then moving away from them. It also helps to just changing your ingredients week on week.

Buddha bowl

Image: Shutterstock

2.   Balanced bowl

You might have heard of the Buddha bowl, which is very popular today. The concept of a balanced bowl has been a rich part of Ayurveda for a long time. Combining nourishing and cleansing food supports healthy digestion, and optimal digestion supports nutrient absorption. A balanced bowl becomes the framework for meals, helping your digestive fire and keeping your body in a state of constitutional balance.

A balanced bowl helps to prevent disease and promote vibrant energy. Nourishing foods help make you feel grounded, build tissues, and promote satiety.

These include grains, fruits, organic dairy, and vegetables like beets, carrots, avocados, sweet potatoes, yellow pumpkin, yams, and zucchini. Cleansing foods support the detoxification pathways and systems and are essential in breaking down healthy fats. These include legumes, animal proteins, nuts, seeds, and vegetables like leafy greens, cruciferous ones, okra, peas, and asparagus. Having a balance of these categories ensure a balanced bowl with diversity, supporting healthy digestion, blood sugar balance, and nutrient intake.

3.   Meal guidelines for nutrient diversity

Include the four base components of a balanced bowl at every meal:

·      Grain (Choose from oats, barley, millet, quinoa, ragi, bajra, jowar, buckwheat, amaranth, rice, and rye)

- About 1⁄4 cup (50 g) dry measure

·      Legume or meat (Choose from black eyed beans, peas, red kidney beans, brown lentils, black lentils, mung, green gram, chickpeas, tofu, fish, mutton, chicken or eggs)

- About 1⁄8 cup (25 g) dry measure. If you choose to have meat or fish, substitute it for the legume and keep it at 20% of the meal.

·      Nourishing vegetables (Choose from avocados, beets, carrots, cucumber, pumpkin, yams, and zucchini)

- About 1 cup cooked

·      Cleansing vegetables (Choose from any leafy green, asparagus, bitter gourd, cauliflower, cabbage, okra, peas and lettuce)

- About 1 cup cooked or 2 cups raw leafy greens

·       Add on nutrients

- About 8-12 nuts 4 times a week (Always use almonds without the skin)

- Buttermilk four times a week with a warm seasoning

- One date with some ghee after lunch 3 times a week

- One fruit eaten one hour before dinner


Image: Shutterstock

4.   How to increase nutrients?

In order to make sure that you get as much nutrient diversity as possible, go through the framework of a balanced bowl, but follow some guidelines.

·       Get your groceries as fresh as possible, buying them daily from a vendor who comes home, or buying them once a week.

·       Choose ten vegetables to buy each week, and avoid buying the same ones the following week. As your food lacks variety and creativity, so will your mind and energy.

To stay vibrant and creative, get creative with new vegetables, ones that you have not used in a while, ones that you have never used before, and as colourful as possible.

·       Think of the richness of colour. Try a new grocery store sometimes, to mix things up. Several stores fall into a rut themselves, stocking the same vegetables and fruits. Go somewhere you can be amazed by something you have not used.

·       Rotate ingredients within each category as much as possible. Health challenges and sensitivities occur when someone eats the same grain or the same protein all the time. Replacing rice with millet every single day thinking that it is a wonder food is just what the body does not need. The more variety, the more nutrients.

·       Always simmer spices in warm ghee or any healthy fat. This will help digestion, absorption and intake of nutrients.

Having a meal that is nutrient rich is not that challenging. There are only a few things to remember. The first is that no food is a super food. It is diversity that is the magic.

Maintain a framework to keep planning, sourcing, and cooking practical and stress free. Within the framework, always have some guidelines. Get creative and varied with ingredients. This will inspire you to get creative in the kitchen. Celebrate the art of food creation. The more joy there is in the process, the more you will send a signal to your body to stay nourished.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)