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Are your meals well-balanced? Here’s what you need to know

It needs no retelling that ones diet plays a major role in helping maintain health and overall well-being. Which is why experts often stress the need to consume a well-balanced meal. But what all does a balanced meal include?

Here’s nutritionist Pooja Bohra explaining the same with a simple lunch plate.

What’s a balanced diet?

According to the expert, a balanced diet is one that fulfills all of a person’s nutritional needs. “Humans need a certain amount of calories and nutrients to stay healthy. A balanced diet provides all the nutrients a person requires, without going over the recommended daily calorie intake,” she mentioned.

How does a balanced meal help?

Healthy eating increases energy, improves the way your body functions, strengthens immune system and prevents weight gain, mentioned Bohra. It will also help you feel energetic, manage weight and assist to fight stress, she added.

Most of all, it helps provides the nutrients you need to avoid nutritional deficiencies.

But what all does it include?

“A balanced meal is a snapshot of a diet that covers three core food groups. As seen on the above portion plate, the balance is a the quarter protein, a quarter carbohydrates and half of vegetables,” she said.

According to a United Nations’ paper Healthy diet: A definition for the United Nations Food Systems Summit, healthy diet is health-promoting and disease-preventing. “It provides adequacy without excess, of nutrients and health promoting substances from nutritious foods and avoids the consumption of health-harming substances.”

While conceptually simple, there is “no straightforward, universally accepted approach to classifying individual foods as more or less nutritious”. Similarly, some context specificity is required in the categorisation of individual foods as nutritious. The same food, for example, whole fat milk, may provide much-needed energy and other nutrients to one population group (e.g., underweight 3-year-old children), but be less “healthy” for another due to high energy (calories) and fat content (e.g., obese adults), it noted.