Most of us have a general idea of what a healthy, well-balanced meal looks like. The ratio of ½ vegetables, ¼ lean protein, and ¼ healthy grains on your plate comes to mind. But as we celebrate National Nutrition Month, we also want to take an international look at well-balanced meals. Here’s a peek into what’s considered healthy around the world.
Being an island nation, it’s natural for fresh fish to be a big part of a healthy diet in Japan. Hundreds of years ago, people in Japan mostly ate fish and vegetables. And while there are more meat options available now, it’s no surprise that fish tops the list as it is full of protein and omega-3s. Along with fish or other proteins, Japanese people also eat meals that are balanced by carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruit.
In Israel, a healthy meal has vegetables, whole grains, fish, and very little red meat or poultry. While meals are typically low in fat, they do have healthy fats from olives, nuts, and avocados. There is also a variety of spices that not only add complex flavor but also offer different health benefits.
This nation is famous for their food, so it’s easy to immediately think of rich and indulgent foods. But France keeps meals healthy by centering their diet around quality ingredients and fresh produce while avoiding processed and fast foods. Portion sizes also tend to be more conservative.
A typical well-balanced meal in India would have millet flatbread, vegetables, and curry. There are many different curries available, but most are made with beans, vegetables, and a variety of spices with different health benefits. And when it comes to meats and oils, they make up a small part of the meal and are consumed moderately.
While there are typically less fruit and vegetable options than other countries, Sweden enjoys local and seasonal product that can be grown in colder climates. Along with greens, Swedish people eat a lot of fatty fish, quality meats, root vegetables, and whole grains. This selection helps keep meals low in carbs and high in healthy fats.
Locally grown ingredients like papayas, yams, black beans, and acai berries fill a healthy plate in Brazil. But what might surprise you is the simplicity (and popularity) of Brazil’s nutritional guidelines. These guidelines encourage the people of Brazil to eat local & natural foods and to avoid processed foods. Oils, fats, salts, and sugar is recommended to be consumed in moderate amounts. The guidelines even touch upon how quiet and comfortable places can encourage mindful eating and decrease overeating.
What does your healthy plate look like?
We hope that you can take inspiration from these various countries and continue to eat well-balanced meals.