A balanced diet is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and good health. It goes without saying that your body needs all the nutrients from food to function properly, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins. Therefore, a balanced diet contains foods of different varieties, amounts, and proportions to meet your body’s nutritional needs.
Although a balanced diet doesn’t discriminate between food groups, you need to have the right knowledge and advice when eating ‘energy-dense but nutrient-poor’ foods.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to a balanced diet. Since everyone has different nutritional needs, the right diet for good health varies from person to person. However, following a holistic diet that covers all essential food groups and is low in unhealthy nutrients is a great way to live a healthy life.
Note from The Fitness Freak
A balanced diet includes foods from all five food groups: fruits and vegetables, starchy carbohydrates, protein, dairy, and healthy fats. You’re unlikely to include all five at every meal, so the goal is to achieve a healthy balanced diet throughout the day. This balance can be achieved by following a well-planned balanced diet designed by a qualified nutritionist. Along with solid foods, be sure to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day as hydration is just as important.
Foods to eat and avoid in a balanced diet
Foods to eat
- The vegetable group should include leafy greens, legumes or beans, starches, and other colored vegetables.
- Nutritious protein choices include skinless poultry, lean beef and pork, fish, beans, peas and legumes.
- Eat low-fat dairy and soy products like ricotta or cottage cheese, yogurt, soy, or low-fat milk.
- Healthy whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, and buckwheat
- Fresh fruit, not juice, like apples, berries, bananas, stone fruits, kiwi fruit, melons, pomegranates, and other seasonal fruits you like
Foods to Avoid
Some of the food groups to avoid in a balanced diet include:
- processed foods
- Refined grains
- Added sugar and salt
- Fatty cuts of red meat and charcuterie
- Trans and saturated fats
- Packaged foods and beverages.
The plate method is an easy way to balance food groups:
- Half your plate with fruits and vegetables
- More than a quarter with grains
- Just under a quarter with protein
- Adding dairy or a non-dairy alternative on the side
Examples of Balanced Diet Charts to Try
Remember that the following plans are based on the standard weight and activity level of an average adult. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, be sure to follow the advice of your doctor or nutritionist.
A balanced vegetarian diet chart
With careful planning, a vegetarian diet can provide daily nutrient needs such as calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B12, healthy fats, and protein.
- Breakfast: Bowl of oatmeal with sliced fruit of your choice
- Lunch: 1 cup cooked brown rice with a bowl of dal, sabji and salad
- Having dinner: 1 cup of rajma + 1 cup of cucumber raita + 2 chapati
- Snacks: 1 cup buttermilk + 5 almonds + 3 walnuts/fat free multigrain khakra with tomato and onion salad as garnish.
- Breakfast: 2 Idlis with vegetable sambar + green tea without sugar or milk
- Lunch: low fat curry (3 pcs) + 2 roti or 1 bowl of rice + salad
- Having dinner: 2 medium stuffed roti (vegetables/dal) + 1/2 bowl of curd + salad
- Snacks: 1 cup watermelon + 5 almonds + dark chocolate (about six small pieces or two large squares)/sprout salad.
- Breakfast: 1 bowl of poha + 1 glass of fruit yogurt smoothie (sugar free)
- Lunch: Stir-fried vegetables with brown rice + roasted tofu
- Having dinner: Stuffed eggplant + 1 cup cooked quinoa
- Snacks: 1 glass buttermilk 1 cup chana chaat/mixed vegetable tikki with curd dip.
- Breakfast: 2 besan chilla + 1 cup coleslaw +
- Lunch: Vegetable rice with a bowl of soy curry
- Having dinner: Homemade Veggie Burger with Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Snacks: Steamed corn with black tea or coffee/ green salad with cottage cheese/ sliced apple
- Breakfast: Upma with chutney + bowl of cut fruit.
- Lunch: 2 chapatis with a bowl of soy chunks curry + sabji + salad or 1 bowl of vegetable khichdi + 1/2 cup yogurt + sautéed soy chunks
- Having dinner: 1 cup quinoa with grilled vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, broccoli and peppers
- Snacks: Fruit salad/ Boiled chickpea salad
- Breakfast: A glass of lemon water + 2 uttapam with coconut chutney
- Lunch: A burrito bowl with brown rice, chickpeas, salsa, flax seeds and other seasonings of your choice
- Having dinner: Bean soup with Greek yogurt
- Snacks: Brown Bread Sandwich with Paneer Topping/Unsweetened Fruit Smoothie
- Breakfast: 2 medium dosa with chutney + sambar
- Lunch: 2 whole wheat chapatis + mixed vegetable curry + grilled mushrooms or paneer
- Having dinner: Mixed Vegetable Rice with Bean Sprout Salad + Mixed Soy Chunks
- Snacks: Tea reduced in sugar and milk + 2 digestive biscuits/ whole wheat toast + mixed fruit salad
A balanced non-vegetarian diet chart
- Breakfast: Egg vegetable omelet (2 eggs) + 2 slices of white bread
- Lunch: 2 roti + chicken curry with less oil + mixed vegetable salad
- Having dinner: 1/2 cup chana palak curry + 1/2 cup brown rice + cucumber and carrot salad
- Snacks: Tea/Coffee/Green Tea (1 Cup) + 4 almonds + 2 walnuts / Bowl of cut fruit
- Breakfast: 1 cup of poha + 1 glass of Tulsi tea + soaked almond overnight (5-6 pieces)
- Lunch: A bowl of mixed vegetable rice + 1/2 cup of bean sprouts + 3-4 pieces of pan-fried chicken
- Having dinner: 2 roti + 1/2 cup dal (lentil/mung/chana)+ salad/sabji
- Snacks: 2-3 whole grain crackers with a slice of low fat cheese slush/sugar free crushed fruit
- Breakfast: 1 glass of skimmed milk + 2 boiled eggs + 2 pieces of multigrain bread
- Lunch: Roti/Rice + sabji + chicken (sauce/dry)
- Having dinner: 2 medium stuffed roti (vegetable/dal) + 1 bowl of raita
- Snacks: Frozen fruit (bananas, berries, or mangoes) mixed with peanut butter and Greek yogurt
- Breakfast: Fruit and granola parfait
- Lunch: Fish curry (2-3pcs) + rice (1 bowl) + sabji or salad
- Having dinner: sautéed chicken (3 pcs) with mixed vegetable soup
- Snacks: A banana drizzled with two teaspoons of melted dark chocolate
- Breakfast: Peanut butter multigrain bread + 1 portion of seasonal fruit + 1 glass of milk
- Lunch: Grilled salmon or mackerel + 1 cup brown rice + 1 cup vegetable curry
- Having dinner: 1 cup quinoa rice with grilled vegetables and baked sweet potato wedges
- Snacks: 1 cup fruit salad/ Chicken salad with peppers (1 quarter plate)
- Breakfast: 2 large eggs (poached or boiled) on whole grain bread with 1 tbsp. spread of your choice + 1 cup of black coffee
- Lunch: Whole grain pasta with a tomato and chicken sauce
- Having dinner: 2 tuna/chicken/turkey sandwiches
- Snacks: A handful of nuts (30g) + 1 cup of green tea/bowl of mixed fruit with chia seeds and yoghurt.
- Breakfast: Oat flakes with milk + fresh fruit
- Lunch: Roasted vegetable, chicken and quinoa salad
- Having dinner: Grilled chicken (in olive oil) with mashed sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables
- Snacks: 1 cup yogurt topped with 1 tablespoon mixed seed/sprout chaat
A Balanced Vegan Diet Chart
Many people opt for vegan diets for a variety of reasons, such as health, environment, or other personal preferences. A vegan diet excludes all animal products from the diet, including milk and dairy products.
Instead, it focuses on plant-based foods and beverages. Tracking your body’s response when transitioning to a new diet, especially a vegan diet, is key to ensuring you’re getting the right mix of macro and micronutrients.
- Breakfast: 1 cup coleslaw + 2 stuffed paratha
- Lunch: 1 cup vegetable fried rice + grilled soy chunks
- Having dinner: 2 tofu and vegetable sandwiches
- Snacks: 1/2 cup of roasted chickpeas + 1 glass of coconut water
- Breakfast: 1 cup steel cut oats with vegetables + 1 cup almond milk
- Lunch: 1 cup bean salad + 1 cup buddha bowl quinoa
- Having dinner: 1 1/2 cup Moong dal khichdi + mixed vegetable salad
- Snacks: 1 cup edamame pods or a medium apple
- Breakfast: 1 glass of strawberry pineapple smoothie + 1 bowl of overnight oats
- Lunch: 2 chapati + 1/2 cup moong dal + sautéed mushrooms
- Having dinner: 1 cup vegetable vermicelli + Boiled chana salad
- Snacks: 1/2 cup dry-roasted nuts and seeds of your choice
- Breakfast: Vegetable or vegetable milk tea + 2 idli/ uttapam with sambar
- Lunch: 2 medium vegetable wraps with mint chutney
- Having dinner: 2-3 stuffed besan cheela + vegan yogurt + salad
- Snacks: 1 medium orange/steamed sprouts
- Breakfast: 1 glass of banana berry smoothie made with unsweetened soy milk + 2 vegan pancakes
- Lunch: 2 avocado toasts with fried tomatoes
- Having dinner: 2 cups mesclun + 1/2 cup sautéed tofu + 1/2 cup rice
- Snacks: 2 cups air-popped popcorn/stir-fried boiled chana salad
- Breakfast: 2 slices of peanut butter and banana toast + 1 glass of lemon water / besan cheela with mint chutney
- Lunch: 1 cup quinoa + 1/2 cup chickpea/brown rice curry with dal + sabji/salad
- Having dinner: 1/2 cup roasted cauliflower + 2 small slices of wholemeal bread + 1/3 cup hummus
- Snacks: 1/2 cup boiled corn and carrots + 1 cup green tea
- Breakfast: 2 aloo paratha + mint coriander chutney + mixed fruit cup
- Lunch: 1 cup brown rice + 1 cup soy curry + 1/2 cup salad
- Having dinner: 2 chapatis + 1 cup mixed vegetable curry + coleslaw
- Snacks: 1/2 cup chana chaat + 1 cup black tea or black coffee
Pro Steps for Better Health
If you’re struggling to adjust to a new diet or want to change your diet to a balanced diet, HealthifyMe coaches can advise you on a satisfying diet. .
Professional coaches will help you find the right foods based on your unique needs and personal qualities, such as your age, gender, lifestyle and health status.
HealthifyPro also comes with a smart scale to help you achieve your desired weight through proven weight management approaches.
Ria, the interactive AI, can guide you through the weight loss/maintenance process. And based on your metabolic parameters and Smart Scale readings, your health coach will make the most appropriate and long-lasting changes to your diet.
These changes may include improvements in your eating habits, changes in the types or amounts of food, or adjustments in your level of physical activity.
Here are some pro tips for having a balanced diet on a daily basis:
- Limit the consumption of refined and processed foods and reduce excess sugar and salt.
- Pay attention to what you eat. Refraining from mindless eating or while doing other activities like watching TV, playing video games, etc.
- Set meal times and stick to them.
- Choose whole grain bread instead of fancy bread.
- Increase your protein intake, but don’t overdo it
- Drink enough water
- Bake, boil, steam or roast instead of frying
- Try at least one healthy recipe a day
The benefits of a balanced diet go beyond weight management. It improves your physical, emotional and mental well-being. Conversely, if you eat an unbalanced diet or are deprived of healthy foods, you are likely to face chronic illnesses, infections, and fatigue. With HealthifyMe, find what works for you and infuse your diet with nutritious, healthy options.