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BALANCED DIET

A balanced diet is a key element for a long and healthy life, but selecting the right diet plan can be an intimidating task. A diet is considered to be balanced if it consists of the right proportions of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and also meets the calorie requirements of our body. However, following a balanced diet chart doesn't mean one has to starve or eat tasteless and bland food. Therefore, to lose weight and to stay fit, you need not have to try tons of fad diets Rather,you should follow a balanced diet plan and eat everything in moderation.


For maintaining the optimal body weight, one must keep a track of the daily calorie intake, which should neither be too low, nor too high. Hence, the healthiest combination for a balanced diet is low fat, low refined carb + healthy carbs + moderate protein i.e. approximately 50 percent of calories should come from complex carbohydrates, 20 percent from protein and remaining 30 percent from fat. Since most of us are unaware of the correct proportions of nutrients and minerals required in the body, our bodies consequently lack them. This eventually leads to various health related problems and debilitating diseases like cardiovascular ailments, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke. Following are some balanced diet charts containing the correct amount and variety of food items which provide the sufficient amount of nutrients for health and weight management. Read more on diet tips and meal planning.

Balanced Diet Chart for Adults

The chart contains a good combination of food items for a healthy diet, and hence it's a balanced diet chart for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians.




Food Group

Number of Servings Each Day

Example of One Serving

Grains

Breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, bread, and noodles. Emphasize on whole grains.

1 ounce equivalent equals: 1 slice of bread or small muffin, 1 cup of dry cereal and ½ cup cooked cereal, rice, pasta

6-8 ounce equivalents (the lower number is the serving for a 2000 calorie diet, the higher number for 2400 calorie diet>

Vegetables

Tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, green peas, squash, broccoli, spinach, green beans, sweet potatoes.

1 cup raw leafy vegetables = ½ cup

2.5 - 3.5 cups

Fruits

Apricots, bananas, dates, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, orange juice, mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, plums, berries

1.5 - 2 cups

Dairy

Milk, yogurt, and cheese

The following count as 1 cup: 1½ ounces of natural cheese and 2 ounces of processed cheese

3 cups

Meat, eggs, nuts, and beans

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dry beans, and nuts.

1 ounce equivalent equals: 1 ounce of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish, 1 egg, ½ oz. of nuts or seeds, 1 tbsp peanut butter, ¼ cup cooked dried beans or tofu

5.5 - 6.5 ounce equivalents

Oils

Soft margarine, low-fat mayonnaise, light salad dressing, vegetable oil (olive, canola, safflower, corn)

27 - 31 grams

Discretionary Calorie Allowance

After selecting nutrient dense foods from the above list, there is still room for a few more calories. Fat and added sugar are always counted as discretionary calories

267 - 362 calories



Balanced Diet Chart for Children

Food Group

Number of Servings Each Day

Example of One Serving

Bread & Cereal Group

At least 4 servings for 2-5 year olds.

At least 5 servings for school children

1 medium sliced bread or 1 small bread roll or muffin or 2 large or 3 small crackers

½ cup cooked cereal or ¾ cup ready to eat breakfast cereal

½ cup cooked rice, pasta or noodles

Fruits & Vegetables

At least 2 vegetable & 2 servings of fruit for 2-5 year olds

At least 3 vegetable & 2 servings of fruit for school children

A serving is what fits into the palm of your child’s hand. Could be raw or cooked.

Meat, fish, eggs, chicken, dried beans & lentils

At least 1 serving every day for 2-5 year olds & school children

2 slices cooked meat (approx 100 g)

¾ cup mince or casserole 1 egg or 1 medium fillet of fish or 2 drumsticks or 1 chicken leg

¾ cup cooked or canned beans, peas or lentil

Dairy products or alternative (e.g. Soy milk fortified with calcium)

At least 2 - 3 servings each day for 2-5 year olds and school children

250 ml milk

1 pottle yogurt or buttermilk (150 g)

40 g (2 slices) hard cheese 200 g cottage cheese or ricotta cheese


Healthy Diet Tips

  • Having a balanced diet comprising of enough fiber, pulses, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoiding food items containing oil or sugar as they do no health benefit, and actually increase the cholesterol level and calorie intake in the body.
  • Controlling salt intake, as excessive intake proves to be harmful for the body.
  • Restricting the consumption of processed food, which comprises of calories, saturated fats, added sugar, refined cereal grains, and artificial additives.
  • Limiting consumption of aerated drinks and alcoholic beverages and more of water, juices and soups.

These balanced diet charts cover the nutrients and calories required by people of all age groups. However, since the nutritional requirements differs from person to person, it's recommended to consult a dietitian who can make a personalized balanced diet chart according to the age, weight, sex and physical activity of the person.

 




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