What is a balanced diet?
A balanced diet can meet all the nutritional needs of a person. People need a certain amount of calories and nutrients to stay healthy.
A balanced diet can provide all the nutrients a person needs without exceeding the recommended daily caloric intake.
By eating a balanced diet, people can get the nutrients and calories they need, avoiding junk food or foods without nutritional value.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) once recommended following the food pyramid. However, with the changes in the science of nutrition, they now recommend eating five food groups and building a balanced plate.
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According to the USDA, half of a person’s plate should be fruits and vegetables.
The other half should be cereal and protein. They recommend a low-fat serving of dairy or other nutrient sources in dairy with each meal.
A healthy, balanced diet includes the following five food groups:
The vegetable group consisted of five subgroups:
green leafy vegetables
red or orange vegetables
Beans and peas
other vegetables, such as eggplant or zucchini
To get proper nutrition and to avoid food boredom, people should choose a variety of vegetables.
In addition, the USDA recommends that people eat each of the five vegetable subgroups each week.
People may prefer vegetables eaten raw or cooked. However, it is important to remember that cooking vegetables eliminates some of their nutritional value. Also, some methods such as frying can add unhealthy fats to dishes.
A balanced diet also includes plenty of fruit. Nutrition experts recommend that you do not get the fruit from the juice, but we recommend that you eat the whole fruit.
There are fewer nutrients in fruit juice. Also, the manufacturing process often adds empty calories due to the added sugar. People should choose fresh or frozen fruit or canned fruit with water instead of syrup.
There are two subgroups of whole grains and refined grains.
Whole grains include all three parts of the grain, bran and endosperm. The body slowly breaks down whole grains so that they have a lesser impact on a person’s blood sugar.
Whole grains also tend to contain more fiber and protein than refined grains.
The refined cereals are processed and do not contain three original ingredients. Refined cereals also tend to have less protein and fiber, which can cause high blood sugar levels.
Cereals were the basis of the government-approved food pyramid, which meant that most of a person’s daily calorie intake came from cereals. However, the updated guidelines recommend that cereals make up only a quarter of a person’s plate.
At least half of the grains a person eats each day should be whole grains. Healthy whole grains include: