Our body is our permanent home. What ensures that our house is a healthy one is a combination of exercise and a wholesome diet. We all are aware of the fact that our diet plays a significant role in our overall well-being and health. A healthy, nutrient-filled diet ensures that we have great immunity and can fight diseases easily. Every day, we hear people say that a balanced diet is a key to a healthy and long life. However, what strikes us next is the question of what is a balanced diet? What should be my ideal calorie intake? Let us help you clear all the doubts about a balanced diet in your mind. 

The importance of a balanced diet cannot be stressed enough as amongst a plethora of benefits, it reduces your chances of getting cancer and heart diseases. Most importantly, a balanced diet plays a vital role in providing adequate amounts of the nutrients necessary for good health. 

Here is your guide to know what a balanced diet is.

Table of Contents

  • What is a balanced diet?
  • Components of a balanced diet
  • Balanced diet chart for weight loss
  • Importance of a balanced diet
  • FAQs

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What is a balanced diet?

Your body needs nutrients to function properly. In the absence or lack of these vitamins and minerals, you might suffer from a variety of diseases and poor overall health. A balanced diet ensures that you remain in the pink of health! It consists of proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fibre and fats. It provides us with all the energy that we need to perform our day-to-day tasks.All calories that we consume in a balanced diet come from fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts. However, the quantity in which you should consume these foods depends on your body type, weight and age.

Let us now have a look at the various components of a balanced diet in detail.

Components of a balanced diet

An average adult needs about 2,200-2,500 calories in a day. The various components of a balanced or wholesome diet easily meet your calorie requirement.Your diet should include a healthy combination of dairy, proteins, vitamins and minerals. However, you should ensure that you avoid eating foods that are very high in calories but bad for your health. These include canned juices, processed meat, trans fats and alcohol. Let us look at the components that should be a part of our daily diet:

• Vegetables:

Vegetables are absolute must-haves in your balanced diet. They meet the vitamin and mineral requirements of your body.Thus, they aid you in preventing anaemia, scurvy and several other conditions. The green leafy vegetables are a delight for your palate as well as your body! Many of you might feel that healthy vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and kale are bland to eat. However, they don’t have to be! You can incorporate them into your diet in an interesting way! 

Prepare a salad with veggies, dressings and cottage cheese. You can also use them as an ingredient for your salsa, puree and soup. Some diced up veggies go well as a side to your choice of protein.

• Fruits:

Fruits are extremely rich in fibre along with vitamins and minerals. They prevent and control diabetes as well as your blood pressure. They are a great and natural source of instant energy too! TBH, who doesn’t love fruits! There are about a zillion of them to choose from! However, certain fruits satisfy your calorie needs and are low in sugar at the same time. These fruits include lemons and strawberries. Lemons are sour but very high in vitamin C. Strawberries, you might be surprised to know, contain very little sugar and are high in fibre.

Fresh fruits like bananas are also high in carbohydrates. In case you ever feel hungry between your meals, snack on fruit instead of potato chips. They are an excellent source of antioxidants that cleanse your body inside out!

• Whole Grains:

Whole grains retain the entire seed i.e. they are eaten in their original or wholesome form.Whole grains include barley, millet etc. They are very nutritious as compared to white flour. It offers vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Dieticians recommend that you reduce the consumption of white bread in your diet. Try to replace them with whole-grain or multigrain bread. Even brown bread is a good alternative. Include whole grains in your diet today!

• Dairy:

Dairy products are high in fats, proteins and calcium. You get a three in one combo! A balanced diet must include dairy products like cottage cheese, yoghurt, ghee etc. The proteins and fats that we absorb from these products help in building muscles. However, you need to make sure that you keep your fat consumption in control. Excessive unsaturated fats are bad for the body as they increase your cholesterol levels. Butter, cheese and whipped cream are some products with unsaturated fats that harm your body. Some people develop a taste for soy milk. It contains unsaturated fats that are good for your cardiovascular health.

In addition, limit your consumption of trans fats and switch your oil to olive oil. Fish oil is a healthy choice too.

• Seafood, Poultry and Meat:

Seafood, poultry and meat are quality sources of proteins for you. Lamb, pork, beef, mutton and fish are all great in taste and have several health benefits too. Chicken doesn’t contain any trans fatty acids and is a source of excellent, lean protein. Fish, especially tuna, is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, it enhances your cardiovascular health like never before! Eggs are incredibly nutritious and increase your good or LDL cholesterol. Don’t forget to include poultry in your balanced diet! Lamb is also a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids and offers quality protein while having a very low content of saturated fats. Beef is red meat that offers vitamin B-12. Beef liver is a famous source of iron and vitamin A.

However, you should avoid eating all types of processed meat. Go to your nearest supermarket and buy fresh and healthy meat!

Balanced diet chart for weight loss

A balanced diet contains an ideal amount of nutrients that our body needs to function properly. It helps you in reducing weight and staying healthy. The calorie and energy requirement varies from person to person. It depends on your body type, gender, age, weight and the kind of lifestyle that you lead- sedentary or active. You can seek the help of a dietician in figuring out a diet plan. Your balanced diet is also affected by any health condition or allergies that you might be suffering from. In case you have a dairy allergy, your planner will suggest non-dairy alternatives. Let’s have a look at a 3-day diet plan suitable for an average adult:

DAY 1:

  • Two to three slices of bacon
  • A cup of soy milk
  • Half a cup of oatmeal
  • Some almonds, cashews and half a cup of blueberries
  • A six-ounce pan-seared or baked chicken breast
  • A slice of wholegrain bread with fat-free butter
  • A baked sweet potato
  • A salad consisting of green vegetables, tomatoes and onions. Can add some food dressing.
  • A cup of brown rice
  • Green, leafy salad
  • 4 ounce grilled salmon
  • A cup of brown rice 
  • A small cup of yoghurt

DAY 2:

  • Two whole poached eggs. Don’t eat the yellow portion if your cholesterol is high.
  • A cup of low-fat milk
  • Two slices of wholegrain toast with some butter
  • A grapefruit
  • 6-8 ounce chicken breast that can be baked or roasted
  • A small green salad with olives
  • Some yams
  • Sautéed veggies with a pinch of lime, salt and spice
  • A large salad with onions, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. You can add a bit of seasoning as per your taste.
  • Green vegetable puree
  • Four-ounce pork loin
  • A cup of brown rice
  • If you consume alcohol, include a glass of white wine too.

DAY 3:

  • A hard-boiled egg
  • A banana
  • A bowl of cornflakes with nonfat milk
  • A cup of black coffee
  • One slice of avocado
  • Lentil salad with some seasoning
  • Whole wheat pasta with red sauce
  • Pureed veggies
  • A serving of lasagna made with fat-free cheese
  • A garden salad with some salad dressing
  • A glass of white wine
  • A light chicken roll

Importance of a balanced diet

A balanced diet coupled with daily exercise keeps you healthy in mind and body. It builds your resilience against stress and diseases.In addition, it aids in the proper and healthy growth of your body muscles. Let us look at some of the importance of a balanced diet in detail:

  • It reduces your chances of developing lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes.
  • A healthy combination of food products reduces your risk of developing cancers, heart conditions and strokes.
  • A balanced diet ensures that children don’t develop any developmental problems due to the lack of nutrient intake. They may be unable to concentrate, have poor retention and may be more vulnerable to obesity and diabetes.
  • You wouldn’t develop any diseases due to nutritional deficiencies like scurvy, rickets, anaemia etc.
  • A balanced diet also enhances your immunity against common viral infections.
  • A wholesome diet improves the working of your heart and lungs.
  • Finally, a balanced diet can aid you in reducing and maintaining healthy body weight.

Start eating a well-balanced diet today!

FAQs or Frequently Asked Questions

• Is a balanced diet equal for everyone?

No, a balanced diet is not equal for everyone. Your diet and the number of calories you need in a day depend on some factors.
These factors include your age, gender, weight and lifestyle. However, an average adult needs about 2000 calories in a day.

• What does a balanced diet depend on?

A balanced diet depends upon a healthy combination of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Eating a balanced diet with all these components keeps you fit and healthy.

• What is a balanced diet for kids?

A balanced diet for kids includes dairy, fruits and vegetables, grains and meat.
All these components ensure that your kid is mentally and physically healthy. Regulating your kid’s diet from the start can go a long way.

Begin your journey of a healthy, long and happy life with a balanced diet today!

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