No infant formula, no protein powder, less salt and sugar

The internet is flooded with nutrition wisdom, whether it’s weight loss diets, intermittent fasting, going vegan, giving up carbs or taking supplements. The truth is, it’s hard to get one balanced meal that works for you based on the information swirling around you. Therefore, the National Institute of Nutrition, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has released a comprehensive guideline on how Indians should eat clean with easily accessible resources and, most importantly, what suits their body type.

Complete with an ideal plate, meal plans, recipes and advice on how to cook and in what cookware, this is an essential handbook that we would all find useful to incorporate into our daily lives. Given the growing burden of non-communicable diseases in India, these guidelines are extremely important as they set the model for basic nutrition for children, starting with pregnant women. The report says that good nutrition for mother and child (from conception to about two years of age) is linked not only to good growth and development, but also to the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart attacks later in life.

More than 56 percent of all non-communicable diseases can be attributed to an unhealthy diet. As the report shows, a healthy diet, combined with physical activity, can prevent 80 percent of type 2 diabetes and significantly reduce the risk of diabetes. suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure and premature deaths. It has even warned against taking protein supplements to build body mass and recommended limiting salt intake, minimizing sugar and ultra-processed foods and reading the information on food labels correctly.


A woman must consume extra calories during pregnancy to meet her nutritional needs. Ideally, she should gain about 10 to 12 kg, less if she is already overweight. Women with a healthy body weight during pregnancy they are more likely to have a baby with the ideal birth weight and good organ development. Such newborns are then likely to be at lower risk of infection and death.

Per day, a pregnant woman should consume 240 grams of grains and millet, 80 grams of legumes, 40 grams of nuts and seeds, 20 ml of cooking oil, 300 grams of vegetables, roots and tubers such as carrots, cauliflower and peppers. 150 grams of leafy vegetables such as spinach or coriander, 150 grams of fruit and 400 ml of dairy products, including milk, cottage cheese, 80 grams of meat and lean meat such as chicken in a day or 250 to 300 grams in a week.

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The guideline recommends small, frequent meals for mothers who experience nausea and vomiting. It advocates exclusively breast milk for all babies up to six months of age, because it contains all the nutrients a baby needs. Babies should not be given anything but breast milk, not even water, for six months. They should certainly not be given honey, glucose or diluted milk formula before they are six months old. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take medications without consulting a doctor.


After six months, children need additional nutrition in addition to breast milk. Preparing it at home is better than buying formula, which usually has added sugars. You can prepare additional food at home by mixing 25 grams of pureed carrot, pumpkin, spinach, potato or apple with 15 grams of rice rawa, 15 grams of lentil rawa and 200 ml of water. The same can be done with pureed boiled egg or fish instead of vegetables or fruit. Children can eat green peas or lobia, mashed for children under one year old and boiled for the elderly. They can also be given fruits such as papaya and banana, cottage cheese, boiled egg or boiled and pureed fish.

The complementary food should be given two to three times a day for up to one year, together with breastfeeding. These children should be given complementary foods four times a day because they cannot eat a lot of food at one time.


Between the ages of 10 and 19, adolescents rapidly increase in height and weight, undergo hormonal changes and sexual maturation, and therefore require a high calorie intake. Their calcium requirements are also high and therefore they should be encouraged to consume milk and milk products. Nutritional care for adolescent girls is of particular importance for their own health and in preparation for future motherhood.

This is the age group in which the human body needs the highest number of calories, 2,490 kcal for girls and 3,300 kcal for boys. It’s just as important to make sure they don’t eat too much. Heavily processed and packaged foods should be avoided.


The guideline says that older people should consume foods rich in protein, calcium, micronutrients and fiber. In addition to legumes and cereals (of which at least a third are whole grains), they should consume at least 200-400 ml of skimmed milk or milk products, a fistful of nuts and oilseeds and 400-500 g of fruit and vegetables. . The guidelines prescribe a low salt and spice content. Older people need regular exercise to maintain bone density and muscle mass.


Proteins are not only necessary for building and maintaining good muscle mass, they are necessary for many functions in our body. Although an adult’s diet often contains sufficient protein, what type of protein is consumed is more important. Our body needs twenty amino acids – components of proteins – but nine of them are essential because they cannot be produced by our body. While animal protein eaters can easily get their quota from fish, poultry or lean meats, plant-based food eaters should consume grains and legumes.

There is a special guideline for vegans that says they should consume grains and legumes in a 3:1 ratio to get the essential amino acids. Vegetarians can add 250 ml of milk.

The guidelines talk about protein powders – made mainly from eggs, milk or whey (a by-product of cheese or paneer) – which are taken by many athletes. Arguing that protein requirements in humans are not as high as commonly believed, the calculator says that even athletes can meet their needs through food alone. “The long-term intake of a large amount of protein is associated with potential dangers such as loss of bone minerals and kidney damage,” the guideline says.


Because most foods already contain sodium, the added salt should be minimal. Salt intake should be limited to five grams per day. Data on Indian food intake shows that average salt consumption varies from 3 g to 10 g/day across states, with about 45 percent of the population consuming more than 5 g/day.

Oil intake should be minimized with a sharp focus on more plant-based sources as these do not contain cholesterol. One should avoid cooking products like ghee that contain saturated fats. Most importantly, the new rulebook argues against reusing and reheating oils, as they can produce harmful substances.

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