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My Healthy Plate For The Day

The plate, designed by the ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, recommends sourcing of macronutrients and micronutrients from minimum of 8 food groups per day to achieve a balanced diet that would fulfil the required calorie or energy needs of Indians.

No food or nutrition supplement can provide as many micronutrients, bioactive compounds, antioxidants together as the diversified food items depicted in the model plate. The plate typically illustrates proportion of foods from different food groups to be sourced for a 2000 Kcal Indian diet.

The plate, designed by the ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, recommends sourcing of macronutrients and micronutrients from minimum of 8 food groups per day with vegetables, fruits, green leafy vegetables forming essentially half the plate of the recommended foods per day. The other major portion is occupied by cereals and millets, followed by pulses and milk/curd. The amount of pulses and milk in the menu provides good quality protein and supply of all essential amino acids. Milk and milk products represented in a glass as a part of the model plate help to achieve the required protein, calcium, and are the sole source of Vitamin B12 in a vegetarian diet.

A balanced diet should provide around 50-60% of total calories from carbohydrates, preferably from complex carbohydrates, about 20-30% from total fats/oils and a minimum of 10-15% from proteins. ‘My Plate for the Day’ provides typically 13.5% calories or energy (E) from protein, 29 %E from fat and 56%E from carbohydrates required to meet the 2000 calories need in a day.

The plate has been designed on the basis of Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) guidelines for Indians, and actual dietary consumption patterns of Indians with the goal to guide people to achieve a balanced diet sourcing E from different food groups. The per cent of calories and protein that are derived from different food groups is given in the table below. The visible fat from the fats and oils and invisible fat from different food groups meet the RDAs of fat. This also abides by the recommendation of WHO/ FAO, which suggest not more than 10% of total calories from SFA. In case of non-vegetarian diet, the pulses can be substituted with proportionate amount of fish, flesh foods or eggs.

For estimating nutrient content of different foods, average of most commonly consumed items in their raw forms from each food group was considered and the values were calculated from ‘Nutritive Value of Indian Foods’ and IFCT. Wherever Indian data was not available, USDA values were considered. Based on these estimations it was found that sourcing energy and protein from food groups as indicated in the plate provides essentially all the macronutrients and micronutrients required for a healthy life. The content of all essential amino acids, especially methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine and tyrosine have been found to be within the recommended values of WHO/FAO/UNU 2007. Added sugar has not been prescribed as a part of the model plate. However, restriction of the same has been mentioned as a measure to follow.

The cost of the ‘My plate for the day’ has been estimated based on commonly consumed foods. The cost of each food group has been estimated taking into consideration the different types of foodsconsumed in a particular food group from different parts of the country as on December, 2019 (agmarknet.in/priceTrends). For non-vegetarian menu, pulses are replaced with meat/chicken for estimating the price. Fuel and spices required for cooking have also been considered for estimating the total day’s menu cost. The cost of non-vegetarian menu works out to approximately Rs.78 and vegetarian menu is Rs.66 per person per day (table 2 & 3).

Though this model plate is not a representation of any therapeutic diet, regular consumption of foods in the mentioned proportion, coupled with regular physical activity has the potential to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, cancer, arthritis, etc.

Table: Calories(energy) and protein from different food groups

Food groups

Foods to be consumed / day (weight of raw foods in grams)

Percent of total calories / day from each food group

Total calories / day (kcal) from each food group

Total protein / day (grams) from each food group

Cereals

(incl. Nutricereals)

270

45

900

20

Pulses*

90

17

340

21

Milk/ Curd

300

10

200

10

Vegetables+

And green leafy vegetable (GLV)

300

5

100

4

Fruits#

100

3

67

1

Nuts & Seeds

20

8

150

4

Fats & Oils$

27

12

243

-

* Eggs/fish/meat can substitute pulses

+ Prescribed amount of vegetables may be consumed either in cooked form/ salad

# Prefer fresh fruits (avoid juices)

$ Use different varieties of cooking oils, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc., to obtain a variety of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds.

Recommended Minimum Amount of food and price (2000 K calories, Vegetarian Indian Balanced diet)

Name of the food

Raw amount of food (g)

Per Kg price in January 2020

Cost for minimum required amount in rupees

Milk (toned)

300

44.00

13.20

Rice (white) /wheat or bajra/Jowar/ragi

270

25.40

6.86

Pulses (tur/chana/urad/mung)

90

65.20

5.87

Nuts (Ground nuts, almond, walnuts)

20

112.40

2.25

Cooking vegetable oil

27

125.20

3.38

Fruits apple, banana, orange)

100

36.40

3.64

All variety vegetables

100

25.50

2.55

Onion

100

43.60

4.36

Potato/carrot /beetroot/Raddish

100

17.25

1.72

Green leafy vegetables

100

17.40

1.74

Daily recommended minimum amount of money for food per person

45.57

Fuel and transport charges and manpower cost

20.13

Total cost per person per day

65.70

Monthly recommended minimum amount of money for food per person
(assuming 30days per month)

1971

Note: Cost calculated using wholesale prices provided for January 2020 on the website www.agmarknet.in/priceTrends/SA_Pri_MonthRep.aspx

Cooking cost calculated based on MDM charges( Cooking Cost per upper primary child per day: Rs. 6.71 multiplied by 3)

Recommended Minimum Amount of food and price (2000 K calories, Non-vegetarian Indian Balanced diet)

Name of the food

Raw amount of food (g)

Per Kg price in January 2020

Cost for minimum required amount in rupees

Milk (toned)

300

44.00

13.20

Rice (white) /wheat or bajra/Jowar/ragi

270

25.40

6.86

Pulses (tur/chana/urad/mung)

60

65.20

3.91

Nuts (Ground nuts, almond, walnuts)

20

112.40

2.25

Cooking vegetable oil

27

125.20

3.38

Fruits (apple, banana, orange)

100

36.40

3.64

All variety vegetables

100

25.50

2.55

Onion

100

43.60

4.36

Potato/carrot /beetroot

100

17.25

1.72

Green leafy vegetables

100

17.40

1.74

Chicken ( Skinless), or meat*

30

478.50

14.40

Daily recommended minimum amount of money for food per person

58.01

Fuel and transport charges and manpower cost

20.13

Total cost per person per day

78.14

Monthly recommended minimum amount of money for food per person
(assuming 30 days per month)

2340

Note: Cost calculated using wholesale prices provided for January 2020 on the website www.agmarknet.in/priceTrends/SA_Pri_MonthRep.aspx

Cooking cost calculated based on MDM charges (Cooking Cost per upper primary child per day: Rs. 6.71 multiplied by 3)

*Replaced 30g Pulses in the vegetarian diet with 30g of non-vegetarian (meat/chicken) food

(**Dr. Hemalatha R. is Director, ICMR-NIN, and Dr. K. Damayanti is a Senior Scientist at ICMR-NIN)

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