Definition A balanced diet is one that includes the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for all the essential nutrients including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. A balanced diet supports normal growth and development and good health.
Information All foods, when chosen wisely, can be part of a balanced diet. For example, some fat is needed in the diet to support life. But too much fat can increase the risk of heart disease. A balanced diet provides an adequate amount of energy (kilojoules), protein, fibre, and vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and iron, but not too many kilojoules, saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, or refined sugars.
In a balanced diet, 50 - 60 percent of the kilojoules consumed each day should come from carbohydrates. The emphasis should be on unrefined complex carbohydrates. Less than 30 percent of the day's kilojoules should come from fat, with less than 10 percent of that type of kilojoule derived from saturated fat. The remainder of the day's kilojoules should come from protein.
Refer to the Australian Guide To Healthy Eating for your healthy eating guide. In general:
Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods
Eat plenty of breads and cereals (preferably wholegrain), vegetables (including legumes) and fruits
Eat a diet low in fat and, in particular low in saturated fat
Maintain a healthy body weight by balancing food intake and regular physical activity
If you drink alcohol, limit your intake
Eat only a moderate amount of sugars and foods containing added sugar
Choose low-salt foods and use salt sparingly
Encourage and support breastfeeding
Eat foods containing calcium. This is particularly important for girls and women
Eat foods containing iron. This is particularly important for girls, women, vegetarians and athletes
Author: Clare Armstrong, MS, RD Reviewer: eknowhow Medical Review Panel Editor: Dr John Hearne
Last Updated: 27/11/2004 Contributors Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request
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