A balanced diet is one which provides all the nutrients in required amounts and proper proportions. It can easily be achieved through a blend of the four basic food groups. The quantities of foods needed to meet the nutrient requirements vary with age, gender, physiological status and physical activity. A balanced diet should provide around 50-60% of total calories from carbohydrates, preferably from complex carbohydrates, about 10-15% from proteins and 20-30% from both visible and invisible fat.
In addition, a balanced diet should provide other non-nutrients such as dietary fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals which bestow positive health benefits. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, riboflavin and selenium protect the human body from free radical damage. Other phytochemicals such as
polyphenols, flavones, etc., also afford protection against oxidant damage. Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumin and cloves are rich in antioxidants. Balanced Diet for Adults – Sedentary/Moderate/Heavy Activity is given below. Also, sample menu plans for sedentary adult man and woman are given in below.
Foods are conventionally grouped as :
1.Cereals, millets and pulses
2.Vegetables and fruits
3.Milk and milk products, egg, meat and fish
4.Oils & fats and nuts & oilseeds
However, foods may also be classified according to their functions. Requirements are the quantities of nutrients that healthy individuals must obtain from food to meet their physiological needs. The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) are estimates of nutrients to be consumed daily to ensure the requirements of all individuals in a given population. The recommended level depends upon the bioavailability of nutrients from a given diet. The term bioavailability indicates what is absorbed and utilized by the body. In addition, RDA includes a margin of safety, to cover variation between individuals, dietary traditions and practices. The RDAs are What is a balanced diet?
Source: DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR INDIANS, National Institute of Nutrition , ICMR , Hyderabad