How to Eat a Balanced Diet: 12 Steps (With Pictures)

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How to Eat a Balanced Diet: 12 Steps (With Pictures)
How to Eat a Balanced Diet: 12 Steps (With Pictures)

A balanced diet is a way of eating that allows you to consume all the nutrients your body needs from a wide range of foods. Eating a balanced diet is important for your health: the tissues and organs of your body require adequate nutrition to work and function effectively. Without a proper diet, you could be at increased risk for a variety of chronic health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure. As our lives get busier and busier, eating a healthy, balanced diet can be difficult.


Part 1 of 3: Planning a Balanced Diet

Meal Plan Step 2
Meal Plan Step 2

Step 1. Write a meal plan

Writing a weekly meal plan can help ensure that you eat a well-balanced diet. Plan the meals and snacks you will eat throughout the day so that you consume each food group every day.

  • Take an hour or two of your free time and write down your ideas for all meals and snacks.
  • Try calculating all the food groups for each daily meal plan. Did you include dairy every day? And enough fruits and vegetables?
  • If you're busy or on the go, plan meals that are quick, require little cooking, or recipes that you can freeze for easy meals to prepare.
  • Look online for sample meal plans for inspiration.
Save Lots of Money when at the Supermarket Step 2
Save Lots of Money when at the Supermarket Step 2

Step 2. Go shopping

Stocking your kitchen with healthy foods from each food group will help make it easy to prepare balanced meals and eat a balanced diet. After writing your meal plan, make time to go to the grocery store to stock up on a variety of your favorite healthy items.

  • A well-stocked pantry can be a great tool for maintaining a balanced diet. Stock up on non-refrigerated items for quick and easy balanced meals: canned beans, canned unsalted vegetables, canned tuna or chicken, 100% whole grain products (like quinoa, 100% whole wheat pasta, or brown rice), and nut butters.
  • Stock up on frozen items like vegetables (no sauces or seasonings), fruits, precooked grains (like brown rice or quinoa), low-calorie dinners (for busy nights), and protein (chicken or fish).
  • Keep a supply of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy (such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese), and lean protein (chicken, fish, pork, or lean beef).
Maintain a Diet Journal for Life Step 8
Maintain a Diet Journal for Life Step 8

Step 3. Start a food diary

Keeping a food journal can help you eat a balanced diet in two ways. First, it can help you review your current diet and allow you to see where your diet is deficient. And secondly, it's a great way to stay on track in the long run.

  • Buy a diary or download an app to keep a diary on your smartphone. Monitor as many days as you can. Pay attention to the 5 food groups. Do you consume all of them every day?
  • We are often not aware of whether we eat too much or too little of something. A food diary can bring this information to light.
  • When you're just starting out, take note of where you think you can improve or make better decisions (for example, if you're not a big fan of vegetables and usually skimp on this group, or if you eat a lot of the same foods each week without much variety).
Describe Medical Symptoms to Your Doctor Step 3
Describe Medical Symptoms to Your Doctor Step 3

Step 4. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist

Talking to a doctor or nutritionist can help you tailor your balanced diet to your health and medical history. They could also provide you with additional guidance or recommendations to improve or maintain your current health.

  • Talk to your GP. Chances are, your doctor is aware of your health and medical problems and could give you general recommendations for certain foods or a dietary pattern that can help you eat not only a balanced diet but also a diet that could improve your overall health. They may also refer you to a local nutritionist for additional help.
  • A nutritionist is a nutrition expert who can give you a great deal of guidance on balanced diets and healthy eating. They can educate you on the benefits of a balanced diet, show you where your diet is deficient, and give you an eating plan and tips to help you eat a more balanced diet.
  • Look online to find a nutritionist in your area.

Part 2 of 3: Preparing Balanced Meals

Cope After a Food Binge Step 17
Cope After a Food Binge Step 17

Step 1. Eat foods from all 5 food groups

One of the pillars of eating a balanced diet is consuming foods from each of the 5 food groups: proteins, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and grains. Each food group offers different vital nutrients that your body needs. Aim to consume something from each group every day.

  • Proteins are essential for all cells and processes in your body; anything from building and repairing tissues to producing enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals. Ideally, choose foods with lean protein, such as poultry, lean beef, shellfish, nuts, and beans.
  • Dairy also contains protein but is known to be rich in calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. Choose low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt, milk, cheese, or kefir.
  • It can be beneficial to buy a food scale to find out exactly how many grams of meat you are consuming. You can also learn little tricks by searching online. For example, 3 ounces (85 g) of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
  • Fruits and vegetables are two food groups that offer a large number of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They are also low in calories, which makes them an essential component of a balanced diet. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • The grain group can be divided into two separate groups: whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa, or oatmeal) and refined or processed grains (such as white bread, white rice, or plain pasta). Aim for at least half of the grain products you choose to be 100% whole. These types of grains are rich in fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients.
  • It can be difficult for all 5 food groups to be present at every meal. Aim to eat foods from each group throughout the day. It is not necessary to consume all 5 groups at each meal.
Gain Weight As a Vegetarian Step 13
Gain Weight As a Vegetarian Step 13

Step 2. Eat healthy fats

Some types of fats are known to be "good for the heart" or omega 3 and monounsaturated fats. These fats have been shown to have some health benefits, including maintaining or improving blood lipid levels or supporting brain development in young children.

  • It is recommended to consume a serving of these healthy fats at least 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Foods that contain omega 3 fats include salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
  • Monounsaturated fats come from foods like olive oil, avocado, olives, and hazelnuts.
Digest Food Faster Step 6
Digest Food Faster Step 6

Step 3. Eat at least three meals a day

A balanced diet goes beyond just the foods in your meals. You also have to balance the amount of food you eat throughout the day. Consuming regular and frequent meals throughout the day is beneficial.

  • Eating three or more meals a day or including snacks makes it easier for you to get all the recommended amounts of essential nutrients you need each day. Skipping meals puts you at risk of not being able to consume what you need.
  • Regular and frequent meals and snacks provide a constant flow of energy to your brain. The fairly even level of sugar in the blood helps your brain work well.
  • Skipping meals regularly is not recommended. You don't necessarily need to eat "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" on a daily basis. However, it is advisable to eat every three to five hours.
  • An example of a balanced eating day might look like this: scrambled eggs with vegetables and cheese for breakfast, a whole grain wrap with lean turkey and cheese and a cup of miniature carrots for lunch, a small apple and a cheese stick for a mid-afternoon snack and a large spinach salad with raw vegetables and a 4 oz (115 g) grilled salmon for dinner.
Cope After a Food Binge Step 19
Cope After a Food Binge Step 19

Step 4. Drink 1.8 liters (64 ounces) of clear liquids daily

A minimum of eight glasses or 1.8 liters of clear, sugar-free liquids is essential for a balanced diet. Just because liquids don't necessarily qualify in a food group doesn't mean they don't play an essential role in your diet.

  • Choose liquids like water, iced tea, decaf coffee, or calorie-free flavored waters.
  • Buy a bottle of water to help you monitor the volume of fluids you consume throughout the day.
Lose Fast on 5 Bites Diet Step 3
Lose Fast on 5 Bites Diet Step 3

Step 5. Measure your portion sizes

Eating adequate portions of all foods is important for a balanced diet. This will ensure that you get enough of certain food groups and also that you don't eat too much of others.

  • In general, serving sizes for fruits and vegetables can and should be larger compared to serving sizes for products such as grains. These low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods should make up about 50% of your meals and snacks.
  • Foods from the grain group, such as pasta, rice, or bread, should be monitored. It can be easy to go overboard with this group, which can throw off the balance of your diet. Half a cup of grains like rice or pasta makes up a serving, and 30 g (1 oz) of products like bread also makes up a serving.
  • Dairy and protein-based products offer a lot of nutrition and should be eaten with most meals and snacks. 3-4 oz (85-115 g) of protein and 1 oz (1 cup) or 30 ml of dairy are good serving sizes.

Part 3 of 3: Treat yourself in moderation

Eat Less Sugar Step 1
Eat Less Sugar Step 1

Step 1. Limit your intake of sugar and saturated fat

Foods that are high in sugar and fat are generally also high in calories. Also, they are generally not very rich in nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Eating too many of these types of foods can make it difficult to eat a balanced diet.

  • Eating a balanced diet does not mean avoiding your favorite products, such as sweets or high-fat products, such as macaroni and cheese.
  • Choose these foods in moderation and enjoy them occasionally and in controlled portions.
  • Decide what kind of moderation is for you. This may mean sharing dessert every Friday or going to your favorite burger joint twice a month.
724980 1
724980 1

Step 2. Limit alcohol and other liquid calories

Drinking liquid calories is a common way to quickly throw off a balanced diet. These types of products are high in calories and sugar and can quickly increase your total sugar intake. Monitor how often you consume products such as beer, wine, mixed alcoholic beverages, sodas, sweetened tea, or juice and how many of them you consume.

  • Although 100% fruit juice has some nutritional benefits, it still contains a relatively high amount of sugar and should be consumed in moderation. Drink 4 to 6 ounces (115 to 170 ml) occasionally.
  • Skip soda and sugary drinks. If you still need caffeine, consider coffee or tea with skim milk and a limited amount of sweetener.
  • Also limit alcoholic beverages: one drink or less a day for women and two drinks or less a day for men.
  • An occasional glass of sweetened wine or tea is fine. Again, it is important to enjoy these products in moderation.
Beat Drug Addiction Step 22
Beat Drug Addiction Step 22

Step 3. Get physically active

Exercise is an important part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Although it does not necessarily affect your diet, regular physical activity can help maintain your weight and your health when you occasionally indulge in your favorite foods.

  • Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity each week. Exercises like jogging, cycling, and swimming are good options.
  • Aim to participate in strength training at least twice a week. Lifting weights or attending a Pilates class are good options.


  • Don't eat in front of the television. You will not realize how much you have eaten.
  • Don't avoid entire food groups unless you have a diagnosed food allergy or your doctor tells you to.
  • Make sure you don't diagnose yourself or avoid foods based on a passing fad. For example, unless you have celiac disease, whole grain products that contain gluten are allowed.
  • Avoid diet programs that suggest avoiding entire food groups or large varieties of foods to induce weight loss or get any other health benefits.
  • Being healthy is not necessarily the same as being slim.
  • Combine a balanced diet with physical activity. This can help increase the health benefits of your lifestyle.

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