What Does A Balanced Diet Mean?
A balanced diet signifies your eating habits. A platter full of delicious meals is a dream to indulge. Switching to healthy foods and eating a balanced meal filled with nutrients is an important part of embracing a healthy lifestyle.
So start a balanced diet today which can work wonders in improving your health and lifestyle. Eating a healthy balanced diet is the most important thing to protect your health. A balanced meal can help benefit you the right way.
Know your balanced diet on the platter
Before we talk about the benefits of a balanced meal, let us know what exactly is a balanced meal. Just eating healthy is not enough. Eating the right foods in the right quantity and at the right time is very important. This makes your meal balanced.
There are many misconceptions about balanced meals. When someone talk about balanced meals, they think about a weight loss diet. However, a balanced meal is all about healthy meals and not just weight loss.
The balanced meal must contain all the nutrients
Our food is a combination of all essential nutrients which are important for a healthy body.
The two types of nutrients for a balanced diet are:
- Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Carbohydrates are your main source of energy and should make up about 45-55% of your daily calories. Proteins are needed for tissue growth and maintenance and should provide 10-35% of your calories. Fats are nutrients that contribute to the storage of energy and should ideally make up 20-30% of your calories.
- Micronutrients which includes vitamins and minerals
It is important to indulge in the correct foods in the right quantity at regular intervals of 2 -3 hours. One must try to include all essential nutrients in every meal which can be absorbed by the body.
What should your plate look like?
Now that we understand that a balanced meal must contain all the essential nutrients, it is important to note that it must also contain these nutrients in the right proportions. This might get you thinking, what should a balanced meal look like? Here is a sample for your reference:
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables
- Fill just over one quarter with grains
- Fill just under one quarter with protein foods
- Add dairy on the side(choose low-fat dairy or non-dairy substitutes)
Plan out your balanced diet
Planning your diet to achieve a balance for good health is very important. Include all forms of healthy foods in your diet which can help in achieving good health.
1. A balanced meal with the right foods
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats must be coupled up with good vitamins and minerals which are easy to digest or absorb by the body. Home-cooked meals are a better option which is prepared traditionally. Opting for well-cooked meals and less oily foods is a better choice to balance your meals. Include more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins, etc in your diet.
2. Balanced meals in the right quantity
A correct portion of food is a very important factor for a healthy balanced diet. Just having salads day in and out is not a solution. You need to include the correct proportion of foods to make it a completely balanced meal.
Energy intake (calories) should be in balance with energy expenditure. To avoid unhealthy weight gain, total fat should not exceed 30% of total energy intake. Limit intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake. These are some ways you can ensure the energy you consume comes from the right source in the right quantities.
3. Balanced meals at the right time
Time management for your meals is very important. Eating meals at regular timings and at the same time every day can help in setting the rhythm of the body.
4. Drink up and catch up
It is important to understand if you are hydrated enough throughout the day. Water is essential for good health and digestion. It helps break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Water also softens stool, which helps prevent constipation. This is why we need to ensure that we consume at least 8 glasses of water in a day.
5. Variety is the key to good health
Adding versatility to your food can help you stick to healthy food for a long time. Do not turn monotonously which can cause hunger pangs and cravings. A healthy and balanced diet is usually one that contains plenty of fresh, plant-based foods, and limits the intake of processed foods. Carve your path to fitness with a balanced diet!
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- Skerrett PJ, Willett WC. Essentials of healthy eating: a guide. J Midwifery Women's Health. 2010 Nov-Dec;55(6):492-501.
- The Best Diet: Quality Counts Available at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/best-diet-quality-counts/ Accessed on 18 August 2021
- Healthy diet Available at https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet Accessed on 18 August 2021
- Balanced Diet: What Is It and How to Achieve It Available at https://www.healthline.com/health/balanced-diet Accessed on 18 August 2021