The food that we eat is a major factor in our overall health and wellness. This is why we need to eat a well-balanced diet. Start to go, grow and glow by always having foods from these categories on your plate, each time you eat.
If we are not eating healthy, our bodies will not function properly and we will be unable to engage in the activities that we need to do. The health of our mind and body are connected to our emotional health too.
Let us refresh our knowledge of the different food groups that we need to maintain our health. These are the Go, Grow and Glow food groups. Each food group helps the body in different ways.
Go foods give you the energy to go through the day. Carbohydrate-rich foods are under this category. These include, potatoes, sweet potato, cassava, pasta, noodles, rice and other grains, oatmeal, corn, and bread.
Eating these foods can give you energy for longer through the day as they are made up of complex carbohydrates that takes longer to break down during digestion.
Fatty foods like margarine, butter and oils are also in this category. Sweet foods usually go in this category as well, such as cakes, jam, jellies, molasses, honey and ice cream. Both of these can give you an energy boost for a short period of time so they are better paired with complex carbohydrates.
You will notice that these are mostly starchy foods, oily foods and foods with a lot of sugar in them. Starchy food also have a lot of sugar when digested. So these foods should be eaten in smaller amounts, throughout the day.
Grow foods help our bodies grow by helping to repair our body cells and tissues, and developing our bones and muscles. These are foods that are rich in protein. These include meat, fish, poultry, dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt), beans, nuts, and soy products.
Protein is harder to break down during digestion so they also make you feel full, longer.
These foods should also be eaten in moderation and in combination with the other food groups. However, if you are trying to build muscle, then it is recommended to include more of these types of food in your diet.
Glow foods are full of vitamins and minerals that nourish the body. These vitamins and minerals strengthen the immune system, help fight infections and nourish the body for optimum health, resulting in glowing skin, hair and bright eyes.
You can easily incorporate these foods in your meal by having a salad or adding more of these in the dishes that you cook.
Most fruits and vegetables go under this category and should be a major part of every meal. These include mango, banana, papaya, orange, green leafy vegetables, okra, cauliflower, and many other fruits and vegetables.
Ideally, for each meal, your plate should consist of 1/2 vegetables (like a salad), 1/4 protein, and 1/4 complex carbohydrates. This is what a balanced meal should have so you can start to go, glow and grow.
Your challenge is to incorporate foods from the 3 food groups in each of your meals. Make sure that you eat a variety of them and not just the same ones so you can maximize their benefits. As much as possible, try to eat a rainbow of the different foods, in every meal.
Also, keep in mind these baby steps to optimal nutrition to guide you in this challenge. If you’re into meal-prepping, check out this guide on how you can stretch your food budget so you can save money on your groceries.