What is a balanced meal? We have all heard the term before, but does anyone really know what it means? Depending on who you ask, you will get different answers, and in a lot of ways that is because doctors keep changing their opinions about what constitutes a balanced diet, let alone a meal. That being said, there are a few guidelines that you can use to ensure that you are having what could accurately be described as a balanced meal.
- Understand the food pyramid. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed something called the Food Pyramid, which is supposed to help people understand what they recommend that everyone eat on a daily basis so that they can remain healthy. On the average, this food pyramid recommends that an adult's daily diet (and by comparison their average meals) be 30 to 35 percent protein, 30 to 35 percent complex carbohydrates, and under 35 percent fat. Ideally, this food pyramid will recommend that if you need to consume fats, that it be an unsaturated fat.
- Calories are subjective, not objective. Contrary to what many fad diets may say, there is no real hard and fast rule about the number of calories that you should be taking in each day. This basically means that without a doctor or nutritionist's guidance, counting calories will do absolutely nothing for you.
- Know your health level. The best way to go about determining what types of foods that you should be focusing on, and where you need to begin cutting back (if in fact you do) is by determining your current health level. This is another instance where the help of a doctor, nutritionists, or even a dietician can be of immense help. Get a complete checkup, and if at all possible get a copy of those results, and discuss them with a healthy food expert to help you plan a tailor made balanced meal, rather than trying to fit yourself into one of those cookie cutter diets that dictate exactly how much calories that everyone should be eating.
- Avoid fads. One of the most dangerous things that a person could do, and a good way to not enjoy a balanced meal is to take part in a fad diet, or some type of fad nutritional craze. For example, there has been a lot of media attention on gluten free foods recently. While this is good in a specific sense (i.e., you are allergic to gluten) it does no real good to most everyone in the world.