An Example of a Balanced Diet


The benefits of a balanced diet are endless. Weight loss, improved mood and overall better health are known results of eating well. These days, planning a balanced diet is easy, thanks to the availability of numerous sources of information on diet and nutrition. All that's needed is a little motivation.

Elements For Healthy Eating

Though everyone's nutritional needs are different, some core foods are necessary for a balanced diet. The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recommends a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products and lean protein (i.e. meats, poultry and nuts.) In addition, the center suggests limiting the intake of saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.

Meal Plans

A balanced diet includes three nutritional meals, as well as allowing for a healthy snack. Though it may seem tempting to skip a meal or two in order to reduce caloric intake, the risk is not worth the reward.

AOL, in partnership with Prevention magazine, suggests a breakfast of one cup of unsweetened high-fiber flakes with one cup of fat-free milk and one cup of sliced fresh strawberries, followed by a snack of fat-free yogurt; a tuna nicoise salad for lunch that includes chunk light tuna, romaine lettuce and tomato, followed by another snack of popcorn with canola oil; and dinner of broiled or grilled chicken kabob.

Diet Needs Vary

It is important to take into account the different nutritional needs of men and women. Women under 50 years old, for example, should consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day to prevent osteoporosis, while men of all ages need only 800 mg of calcium.

Other individual factors, such as weight and medical history, are also important to consider when planning a balanced diet. Work with your doctor or nutritionist to tailor a diet that takes into account your specific needs.

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