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Health Encylopedia

Balanced diet
Definition Intake of appropriate types and adequate amounts of foods and drinks to supply nutrition and energy for maintenance of body cells, tissues, and organs, and to support normal growth and development.
Alternative Names Well-balanced diet
Function A well-balanced diet acts to provide sources of energy and nutrition for optimal growth and development.
Food Sources Milk group (milk and milk products)
  • milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Meat group (meat and meat substitutes)
  • meat: chicken, fish, beef, pork, lamb
  • legumes: beans and peas
  • nuts and seeds
  • Fruit and vegetable group
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • Grain group (breads and cereals)
  • whole grain breads
  • enriched breads
  • rice
  • pasta
  • Side Effects An unbalanced diet can cause problems with maintenance of body tissues, growth and development, brain and nervous system function, as well as problems with bone and muscle systems.
    Recommendations The term "balanced" simply means that a diet adequately meets your nutritional needs while not providing any nutrients in excess. To achieve a balanced diet, you must consume a variety of foods from each of the food groups. There are several guidelines available to help a person plan their balanced diet. They include:
  • The
  • Food Guide Pyramid
  • The U.S. Dietary Guidelines (RDA guidelines)
  • RDA guidelines include:
  • eat at least 3 meals each day
  • do not skip breakfast
  • eat foods from each of the Four Food Groups at every meal
  • The most important step to eating a balanced diet is to educate yourself with what your body needs, and read the nutrition label and ingredients of all the food that you eat.