Food Guides

Dietary Guidelines 2021 by Ayur Times

Dietary Guidelines by Ayur Times are unbiased recommendations for healthy eating and advise a most favorable diet for us. My recommendations are based on evidence and research studies and my clinical experience with Ayur Times Healing Diets.

I tried to keep this guide very concise. Why do we recommend these food group? What are evidence and research studies that become the basis of our 2021 Dietary Guidelines? These are not covered in this guide to keep it concise. But you will find the answers in my future articles and videos.

Food Plate Method

There are 10 important food groups, which are important to keep you healthy.

  1. Fruits.
  2. Vegetables.
  3. Whole Grains.
  4. Legumes.
  5. Nuts.
  6. Seeds.
  7. Fresh Herbs.
  8. Spices.
  9. Water.
  10. Sunshine.
Food Guide
Food Plate Guide

The above picture displays a simple food plate principle.

Fruits¼ Plate
Vegetables¼ Plate
Grains¼ Plate
Legume, Nuts & Seeds¼ Plate

In addition to the plate, there are four circles, which represent:

  1. Fresh Herbs: Eat at least two fresh herbs – fresh leaves of coriander, parsley, dill, mint (all types), fenugreek and Basil (all types) daily.
  2. Spices: Eat turmeric, ginger, black pepper, long pepper, green cardamom seeds, cinnamon, and cumin seeds daily. Use Asafoetida (Hing) in legume recipes, especially for gas-forming beans. Take other spices occasionally.
  3. Water: Drink water when you feel thirsty. Take at least three glasses a day.
  4. Sunshine: Get sunshine for at least 30 minutes daily. It is treated as a food group because it helps in Vitamin D production. It also has some healing benefits.

Supplements: Check the bottom of the article.

Fruits

Recommendations:

  1. Include a variety of fruits.
  2. Eat at least 3 different fruits daily.

Standard Serving Size for Fruits

Fruits Type1 Serving Size equal to:
Fresh Fruits150 grams
Dried Fruits **30 grams

** Dried fruits include dried apricot, dates, prunes, figs, etc.

Recommended Fruits Servings:

Age Group (in years)Daily Recommended Servings
1-21 Serving (150 g)
2-31 ½ Serving (225 g)
4-82 Servings (300 g)
9-112 ½ Servings (375 g)
12-143 Servings (450 g)
15-184 Servings (600 g)
19-505 Servings (750 g)
51-705 Servings (750 g)
70+4 Servings (600 g)
Pregnant5 Servings (750 g)
Lactating5 Servings (750 g)

More Details: Fruit Guide

Vegetables

Recommendations:

  1. Include a variety of vegetables.
  2. Eat at least 3 different vegetables daily.
  3. Eat 60% Raw and 40% Cooked: 60% of total vegetable intake should be from non-starchy vegetables and raw uncooked form. 40% should be cooked form. Boiling is the best method to cook vegetables.
  4. Boil starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes, yam, butternut, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.), green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, beet greens, swiss chard, mustard green, etc.) and other vegetables with high oxalate content. Don’t eat these vegetables in raw form.

Standard Serving Size for Vegetables

Vegetable Type1 Serving Size equal to:
Fresh Vegetables150 grams
Cooked Vegetables75 grams

Recommended Vegetable Servings

The following table represents the serving size for fresh (raw uncooked) vegetables.

Age Group (in years)Daily Recommended Servings
1-21 Serving (150 g)
2-31 ½ Serving (225 g)
4-82 Servings (300 g)
9-112 ½ Servings (375 g)
12-143 Servings (450 g)
15-184 Servings (600 g)
19-505 Servings (750 g)
51-705 Servings (750 g)
70+4 Servings (600 g)
Pregnant5 Servings (750 g)
Lactating5 Servings (750 g)

For cooked vegetables, serving size reduces to half. For example, if raw vegetable serving size is 150 grams, for cooked vegetable, it will be 75 grams.

More Details: Vegetable Guide

Whole Grains

Recommendations:

  1. Variety: Include a variety of whole grains in your diet.
  2. Intact Whole Grains: Eat more intact whole grains. We recommend eating 75% to 100% of the total grain’s servings in the form of intact whole grains. If it is not possible, eat more than 50% of total grain’s servings in the form of intact whole grains.
  3. Whole Grain Flour: Eat less food made of grain flour. Flour should contain bran, and it should be made of whole grains. We recommend eating 0 to 25% of total grain’s servings from whole grain flour. If it is not possible, eat less than 50% of total grain’s servings from the whole grain flour. Mix whole grain flour with 10% of bran. For example, mix 1 Kg of Wheat Bran in 10 Kg of whole wheat flour.
  4. Knead in Vegetable Puree: If you eat chapati, knead whole grain dough with seasonal vegetables (except spinach, swiss green, beet greens, and vegetables with high oxalate content) and their juice. Do not use water for kneading the flour.
  5. Avoid Refined Grains: Do not eat refined grains and food made of refined grain flour. For example, avoid white rice, white bread, white flatbread, chapati made of white flour etc.

Recommended Wholegrains: Read Here: Whole Grain Guide.

Standard Serving Size for Grains

Whole Grains1 Serving Size equal to:
Whole Grains (cooked) in general½ cup (approx. 75 g)
Millets (Cooked)½ cup (approx. 75 g)
Chapati or Flat Bread½ chapati (approx. 40 g)
Bread1 slice (approx. 40 g)
Brown Rice (Cooked)½ cup (approx. 75 g)
Barley (Cooked)½ cup (approx. 75 g)
Quinoa (Cooked)½ cup (approx. 75 g)
Semolina (Cooked)½ cup (approx. 75 g)
Buckwheat (Cooked)½ cup (approx. 75 g)
Pasta (boiled)½ cup (approx. 100 g)
Popped Popcorn3 cups
Porridge (boiled in water; thick)½ cup (approx. 100- 120 g)

Recommended Grains Servings

Age GroupMaleFemale
1-22 servings2 servings
2-33 servings3 servings
4-84 servings4 servings
9-115 servings4 servings
12-146 servings5 servings
15-186 servings6 servings
19-306 servings6 servings
31-505 servings5 servings
51-705 servings4 servings
70+4 servings3 servings
Pregnant7 servings
Lactating8 servings

More Details: Whole Grain Guide

Legumes

Recommendations:

  1. Variety: Include a variety of legumes in your diet. Do not eat the same type of legume daily.
  2. Preference: The preference should be given to mung (green gram), masoor (red lentil), fresh green beans, fresh green peas and edamame. Pigeon peas (including Toor/Arhar dal) is also a good option.
  3. Alternate: Legumes has 5 subtypes (Lentils, Beans, Peas, Chickpea and Soy). You should alternate each type. Do not consume same type of legume daily, especially beans.
  4. Soak: Soaking legumes is particularly important. Never miss soaking. Soak lentils overnight (6-8 hours) before cooking. Soak beans and chickpeas for 24 hours before cooking. In case of beans and chickpeas, change water after every 6 hours and wash 2-3 times. This process eliminates antinutrient compound in the beans and reduces the gas-forming effects.
  5. Spice up: Add antispasmodic and antiflatulent spices, especially for beans and chickpeas. For example, add cumin seeds, asafoetida, clove, mace, or nutmeg to the legume recipe to avoid gas-forming effects. Asafoetida and cumin seeds are more important than other spices in case of beans.

Recommended Daily Amount

According to age group, the recommended daily amount for legumes varies. Here is a details:

Standard Serving Size for Legumes

Type1 Serving Size equal to:
Cooked Legumes (Lentils, Beans, Chickpea)½ cup
Fresh Green Pea1 cup
Cooked Fresh Green Pea½ cup
Fresh Green Beans1 cup
Cooked Fresh Green Beans½ cup
Hummus (Mashed cooked legumes)¼ cup
Sprouts1 cup
Edamame1 cup
Tofu½ cup

Recommended Daily Servings

Age Group (in years)Recommended Servings per Day
1-2½ serving
2-3¾ serving
4-81 serving
9-111 ½ servings
12-141 ½ servings
15-181 ½ servings
19-501 ½ servings
51-701 ½ servings
70+1 serving
Pregnant1 ¾ servings
Lactating1 ½ servings

Alternating Legumes

Day 1Mung (Green Beans) + Masoor (Red Lentils)
Day 2Fresh Green Beans or Edamame
Day 3Chickpeas
Day 4Mung (Green Beans) + Masoor (Red Lentils)
Day 5Tofu
Day 6Fresh Green Peas
Day 7Beans (choose one e.g. kidney beans, or black beans)

More Details: Legume Guide

Nuts

Recommendations:

  1. Soak nuts for at least 6 hours before eating.
  2. Choose at least 4 types of different nuts every day.
  3. Optional: Eat at least 5 Brazil Nuts every month (if available in your country).
  4. Almonds and walnuts should be an essential part of your diet.

Recommended Daily Amount

Standard Serving Size for Nuts

The standard serving size for nuts is 30 grams.

Recommended Servings for Nuts

Age GroupRecommended Daily Servings
1-2¼ serving (7.5 grams)
2-31/3 serving (10 grams)
4-8½ serving (15 grams)
9-11¾ serving (22.5 grams)
12-131 serving (30 grams)
14-181 ½ serving (45 grams)
19-501 ½ serving (45 grams)
51-701 serving (30 grams)
70+¾ serving (22.5 grams)
Pregnant1 ½ serving (45 grams)
Lactating1 ½ serving (45 grams)

Seeds

Recommendations:

  1. Soak seeds for around 6 hours before eating.
  2. Choose at least 2 types of different seeds every day.
  3. Sesame seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds should be an important part of your weekly diet.
  4. Do not take the same seeds daily. Alternate them with other seeds.

Recommended Amount for Seeds

Age GroupRecommended Daily Amount
1-22.5 g
2-33.3 g
4-85 g
9-118 g
12-1410 g
15-1813 g
19-5015 g (2 tablespoons)
51-7015 g (2 tablespoons)
70+12 g
Pregnant15 g (2 tablespoons)
Lactating15 g (2 tablespoons)

Recommended Seeds

  • Flax seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds or pepitas
  • Chia seeds
  • Cantaloupe seeds
  • Cucumber seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Watermelon seeds

Fresh Herbs

Recommendations:

  1. Eat green leaves of fresh herbs with every meal.
  2. Choose at least 2 types of different herbs every day.

Recommended Fresh Herbs

You should eat any 2 herbs from the following list:

  • Basil (all types).
  • Coriander or Cilantro.
  • Mint (all types).
    • Apple mint.
    • Orange mint.
    • Peppermint.
    • Pineapple Mint.
    • Spearmint.
  • Parsley.
  • Curry leaves.
  • Dill leaves.
  • Fennel (green).
  • Giloy.
  • Hyssop.
  • Oregano.
  • Moringa.
  • Rosemary.

Recommended Amount for Fresh Herbs

Age Group (In Year)Recommended Daily Amount
1-22.5 g
2-35 g
4-87.5 g
9-1110 g
12-1415 g
15-1820 g
19-5025 g
51-7020 g
70+15 g
Pregnant20 g
Lactating25 g

Note: Pregnant woman should take coriander, fennel green, dill leaves, giloy leaves, mint, or moringa. During pregnancy, preference should be given to coriander as the main herb.

Spices

Recommendations:

  1. Eat Daily: Turmeric, Black Pepper, Long Pepper, Ginger, Cumin Seeds, Green Cardamon and Cinnamon.
  2. Eat Weekly: Any two of Asafoetida, Carom Seeds, Clove, Fenugreek seeds, Mace, Nutmeg, Saffron and Fennel Seeds.

Recommended Amount for Spices

SpicesRecommended Amount
Turmeric50 mg of Kg Body Weight
Black Pepper5 mg of Kg Body Weight
Long Pepper5 mg of Kg Body Weight
Ginger5 mg of Kg Body Weight
Green Cardamon25 mg of Kg Body Weight
Cinnamon25 mg of Kg Body Weight
Asafoetida5 mg of Kg Body Weight
Carom Seeds25 mg of Kg Body Weight
Clove25 mg of Kg Body Weight
Fenugreek seeds50 mg of Kg Body Weight
Mace25 mg of Kg Body Weight
Nutmeg10 mg of Kg Body Weight
Saffron10 mg of Kg Body Weight
Fennel Seeds100 mg of Kg Body Weight

Water

Recommendations:

  1. Drink water whenever you feel thirsty.
  2. Drink lukewarm water during winters.
  3. Drink water kept in an earthen pot during summers.
  4. Drink water sip by sip. Do not gulp water in a hurry.

Sunshine

Recommendations:

  1. Take sunbath daily for at least 30 minutes.
  2. You can take sunbath any time during the day whenever the sun is tolerable to the skin. Cover the head if taking a sunbath in mid-day.
  3. Avoid taking sunshine during intense heat.
  4. Mornings and evenings are the best time to sunbathe but require a longer duration.

More Details: Sunbath – How to Take Sunbath & Recommended Duration

Limited Food

You can take the following food in a limited amount, as recommended below:

Limited Salt

Recommendation: You should avoid a high salt diet. You can take up to 2.5 grams (a half teaspoon) of salt daily. It is equal to 1 gram of sodium.

  • Recommended Salt Type: Himalayan Pink Salt or Sendha Namak (Rock Salt).
  • Acceptable Salt Type: Iodised salt 50% + Himalayan Pink Salt 50% (if you are not taking sea vegetables). But we recommend sea vegetables for iodine instead of iodised salt.

Limited Extracted Fats and Oils

We encourage 100% oil-free diet and take nuts and seeds as an alternative. You should take nuts and seeds daily in the recommended amount. These will help to fulfil the daily requirement of healthy fats. Besides, you can also take fresh avocado and coconut 2-3 times a week.

If it is not possible, then we recommend using oil in a limited amount. You should choose oils extracted from seeds. These should be easy to extract, cold-pressed and extra virgin varieties.

How to Take Oil

  • Do not Cook in Oil: You should not cook your food in oil.
  • How to Use Oil: You can add oil in your food after cooking.

Recommended Oils

We recommend cold-pressed and extra virgin varieties of the following oils:

  1. Avocado oil.
  2. Flaxseed oil.
  3. Olive oil.
  4. Peanut oil.
  5. Sesame oil.
  6. Sunflower oil.

You should not take other oils that are not listed above. You should choose native seed oil. If olives are not grown in your country, you should not take olive oil. If avocado is not grown in your country, do not take avocado or avocado oil.

In terms of ayurveda, sesame oil is the best among other oils.

Acceptable Oil Amount

ConditionAllowable per Week
No exercise/physical workNil
30 minutes of exercise/physical work daily35 ml per week
60 minutes of exercise/physical work daily70 ml per week
90 minutes of exercise/physical work daily105 ml per week

The simple rule if you have abdominal fat or overweight or obese, you should not take oil regardless your physical work.

The total intake of oil should not exceed 105 ml per week.

Limited Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables are important for getting iodine. However, each sea vegetable contains a different amount of iodine content and can also be toxic if taken in excess. For example, kelp contains a huge amount of iodine, which can have damaging effects.

Recommended: Nori, Horsetail tangle, Wakame, Mekabu and Dulse.

Age GroupRecommended Amount per WEEK
1-21.5 grams per week
2-33 grams per week
4-84.5 grams per week
9-116 grams per week
12-149 grams per week
15-1810 grams per week
19-5010 grams per week
51-7010 grams per week
70+10 grams per week
Pregnant10 grams per week
Lactating10 grams per week

The above-recommended amount applies to Wakame, Dulse and Nori and it is weekly recommended amount.

Acceptable: A pinch of Kelp, twice a week.

Restricted: Hijiki and seaweeds containing arsenic in excess.

Note: Before taking sea vegetables, always check iodine and arsenic content.

Alternative to Sea Vegetables: Iodised Salt, as accepted under the limited salt section above.

Supplements

Recommendations:

  1. Vitamin B12: Take at least 50 mcg of Cyanocobalamin daily. The optimum recommended dosage is 50 mcg daily or 2000 mcg weekly. Check Vitamin B12 Guide for more details.
  2. Vitamin D: If you do not get sufficient sunshine, take Vitamin D 1000 IU daily or 7000 IU weekly.
  3. Ashwagandha + Long Pepper: Take at least 400 mg of Ashwagandha powder and 100 mg of Long Pepper powder daily if you are underweight or have a normal weight (and if no abdominal fat).
  4. Amla + Long Pepper: Take at least 1000 mg of Amla powder and 100 mg of Long Pepper powder daily if you are overweight or obese or have abdominal fat.

You should not take any other supplements for proteins, multivitamins, and minerals.

Exercise

However, exercise is not part of the food. But its inclusion is necessary here to stay healthy.

Recommendations:

  1. Do exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.
  2. Involve in physical activities at least for 120 minutes daily.

Thirty minutes of exercise and 120 minutes of daily involvement in physical activities (e.g. playing) are mandatory. In total, you should be physically active for about 2.5 hours daily.

For more details, Check Healthy Lifestyle Guidelines.

Restricted Food List

You must avoid the following food groups:

  1. Milk and Dairy Products: Milk, Butter, Ghee, Cheese, Buttermilk, Yogurt, etc.
  2. Animal Foods: Eggs, Fish, Meat, Honey, etc.
  3. Added Sugar and Sweeteners: All type of sugars and sweeteners except sugar naturally present in food. The alternative to added sugar are fruits – dates, bananas, apples, etc.
  4. Alcohol: Avoid Alcohol.
  5. Beverages: All beverages, including packed fruit juice.
  6. Processed Food: Processed food means food is not in its natural form and not cooked at home. It includes foods high in salt and fats, overcooked foods, fried foods, packed snacks, factory-made foods, ready to eat or comfort foods.
  7. Refined Carbs: Refined carbs are simple carbohydrates from sugars and refined grains. It includes refined flour, white flour, white rice, refined pasta, breakfast cereals, desserts, sweets, sugar, syrups, etc.

Incompatible Foods

  1. Avoid fruits (except tomatoes) with grains and legumes.
  2. Avoid citrus fruits with sweet fruits, melons, and vegetables.
  3. Avoid lemon with cucumber and tomatoes.
  4. Avoid melons with starchy vegetables and grains. Melons are best to eat alone.

Note: The recommended serving sizes are just a general reference. You should eat according to your appetite and digestive capacity. Therefore, you can take more or less than the recommended amounts. But the ratio of food group should remain the same. Follow the food plate principle described in this article above – 25% fruits, 25% vegetables, 25% whole grains and 25% Legumes, seeds and nuts.

Subscribe to Ayur Times

Get notification for new articles in your inbox

Dr. Jagdev Singh

Dr. Jagdev Singh (B.A.M.S., M. Sc. in Medicinal Plants) is an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Herbalist. He has successfully treated thousands of patients with Ayurveda (including Herbal Ayurvedic Medicine and Ayurvedic Diet). Ayur Times is an initiative of his efforts to bring quality information on Indian Medicine with the highest level of relevancy and scientific evidence.
Back to top button