Looking for a quick way to improve your health and well-being? Creating a balanced diet chart and strictly following it can help to be healthy.
The balanced diet chart should include a wide variety of foods in the right proportion and consuming in the right amount can help to maintain a healthy life.
Eating a balanced diet will help
- To maintain a healthy weight
- To provide the necessary energy
- To maintain a healthy immune system
- In proper growth of the body
- To fight and resist chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart diseases
Role of Balanced Diet during Different Stages of Life
Adequate nutrition is essential for long term growth, body weight, immune system, and metabolism. For the first six months, infants exclusively breastfeed. Breast milk provides all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
At the age of 06 months, breast milk alone will no longer be sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements. To meet their nutritional requirements, they should feed with “Infant formulas”. Infant formulas have enough protein, calories, fat, vitamins, and minerals for optimal growth. 
Infants should feed with Infant formula while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years.
The growth at this age is steady and slow while children are physically more active. They like to eat a wide variety of foods and can eat 4 to 5 times a day.
Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, and fat become important for optimal growth and development. 
The eating pattern can be divided into three meals a day and two nutritious snacks and limiting the intake of high sugar and saturated and trans fat foods.
This is the transition phase between childhood and adulthood which lay the foundation of biological growth and major social role development.
Poor eating habits developed during adolescence are often carried into adulthood and can lead to long-term complications such as delayed sexual maturation, loss of final adult height, osteoporosis, hyperlipidemia, and obesity.
Energy (calories) and protein are essential at this stage of life. Adolescent females require approximately 2200 calories/day, whereas male adolescents require 2500-3000 calories/day. Additional intake requirements include fat, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamins, and fiber. 
The body goes through numerous physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy. So, it becomes utmost important to eat a balanced diet because what mother eats is the main source of nutrients for the baby.
Lack of adequate nutrition during pregnancy can affect the health of both the mother and the baby. Maternal malnutrition increases the risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension, miscarriages and fetal deaths during pregnancy.
So, a mother’s diet is very important for the long term health of her child.
Including protein, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), iron, iodine, calcium, folic acid, and vitamin D will provide the nutritional needs during pregnancy. 
As the body grows older, it becomes more susceptible to chronic health problems such as cancer, heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis. According to the WHO, the majority of these diseases are significantly affected by dietary factors.
At this age, people start losing muscle mass and are less active which reduces the need for calories. This, as a result, affects the appetite and causes the metabolism to slow down which further reduces the sense of hunger and thirst.
This increases the importance of nutrition-dense diet which should include 
- Omega -3 fatty acids
- Vitamin D, B6, B12 and E
- Dietary fiber
- Minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
What a Balanced Diet Chart should Include?
Minerals are important for the body to keep bones, muscles, heart, and brain work properly. Many essential minerals are needed to do different jobs and thus divided into macro-minerals and trace minerals.
Macro-minerals are needed in larger amounts which include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur.
Macro-minerals are responsible for the bone and bone mass formation, metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, maintaining an acid/base balance, the functioning of many enzyme systems and neuromuscular transmission. 
Whereas trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts and include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium.
Trace minerals on the other hand function primarily as catalysts in enzyme systems, participate in oxidation-reduction reactions in energy metabolism, transportation of oxygen, and act as a constituent of hemoglobin and myoglobin. 
All trace elements are needed in small amounts because if consumed at sufficiently high levels for long enough periods can be toxic to the body.
A balanced diet should include both types of minerals.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Adequate Intakes (AI) for selected minerals are 
|Gender||Age (Years)||Calcium (mg/day)||Phosphorus (mg/day)||Magnesium (mg/day)||Iron (mg/day)||Zinc (mg/day)|
Foods to Include:
Dairy Products, Green Vegetables, Beans and Peas, Nuts and Seeds, Seafood, Poultry, Whole Grain, Bread and Rolls, Soups, Citrus Foods, Table salts, and Sea Salts
Vitamins are essential micro-nutrients that help in proper growth and development of the body. Generally, most of the vitamins should come from food. This is because our body does not produce all of them or produce a few of them.
There are 13 vitamins which our body need to the proper functioning of its metabolism:
- Vitamins A,
- B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate),
- Vitamin C,
- Vitamin D,
- Vitamin E, and
- Vitamin K.
These 13 vitamins are further classified as Fat-soluble and Water-soluble Vitamins.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins and are stored in the body’s fatty tissues and the liver. Some are stored for a few days, some for up to 06 months or until the body needs them.
The other nine vitamins are water-soluble and therefore must be replenished regularly because they are not stored in the body. They travel through the bloodstream to be used by the body. If not used they are removed from the body through urine. Vitamin B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver.
Also, Vitamin B12 is needed as a supplement to people who eat a vegetarian diet. 
Vitamins are important for energy metabolism, keeping the nervous system, digestive system and skin healthy. Vitamins keep teeth and bones healthy, help to create DNA and new cells and are important for normal vision. 
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has defined Recommended Dietary Allowances or Adequate Intakes for 13 vitamins. 
|Vitamins||RDAs or AI for adults|
|Vitamin A||700–900 μg/d|
|Vitamin C||75–90 mg/d|
|Vitamin D||15–20 μg/d|
|Vitamin E||15 mg/d|
|Vitamin K||90–120 μg/d|
|Vitamin B 6||1.3–1.7 mg/d|
|Vitamin B 12||2.4 μg/d|
|Pantothenic acid||5 mg/d|
Foods to Include:
Fish, dark leafy greens, seeds, broccoli, pork, beef, lamb, mushrooms, nuts, eggs, legumes, avocados, peas, fortified milk, and fruits.
Proteins are macro-nutrients and consist of amino acids. They are building blocks for tissues and muscles of the body.
Proteins help to produce hormones, enzymes, and hemoglobin. 
The intake of protein is also associated with an increase in bone health, microarchitecture and strength thus reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture. 
Lack of intake of a minimum quantity of Protein can lead to stunting, anemia, physical weakness, edema, vascular dysfunction, and impaired immunity. 
Protein can supply energy to the body and contains 04 calories per gram, the same energy as carbohydrates. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, the body does not store protein. This means Proteins should be consumed every day.
The WHO sets the daily recommended intake of protein according to the age: 
- Infants: 2.5 g protein/kg body weight per day for age of 0 to under 1 month, 1.8 g protein/kg body weight per day for age of 1 to under 2 months, and 1.4 g protein/kg body weight per day for age of 2 to under 4 months.
- Children between 4 months and 12 months: 1.3 g protein/kg body weight per day.
- Children between 1 year and 4 years: 0.82 g protein/kg body weight per day.
- Adolescence: 0.70 g protein/kg body weight per day for males and 0.68 g protein/kg bodyweight for females.
- Adults < 65 years (Both Men and Women): 0.8 g protein/kg body weight per day or 55-57 g protein per day for men and 47-48 g protein per day for women.
- Adults ≥ 65 years (Both Men and Women): 1.0 g protein/kg body weight per day or 67 g protein per day for men and 57 g protein per day for women.
- Pregnant Women: 0.9 g protein/kg body weight/day in the second trimester and 1.0 g protein/kg body weight/day in the third trimester.
Foods to Include:
Eggs, milk, meat, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and soy.
Carbohydrates, also known as carbs, are sugars, starches, and fibers present in fruits, vegetables, grains, and milk products. Sugars and starches are the energy sources (glucose) for the organisms and help in the proper functioning of the body and physical activity.
Fibers are non-digestible forms of carbohydrates and do not supply glucose to the body. They provide satiety and promote healthy laxation which decreases the risk of certain chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
The primary function of Carbohydrates is to act as an energy source for the body. It contains about 4 kcal/ gram (17 kJ/g) of energy. These energies are used to fuel the brain, kidneys, heart muscles and central nervous system.
Carbohydrates also help to control blood glucose which metabolizes insulin. They also participate in cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism and help with fermentation. 
Although there are many health benefits of carbohydrates, consuming in large quantities can lead to high blood sugar and unwanted weight gain. Consuming an appropriate amount of carbohydrates can be helpful to meet daily nutritional needs.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) established a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for carbohydrates of 130 g/d for adults and children aged 1 year and above. The IOM also set an acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) of 45%–65% carbohydrates as part of the daily intake. 
Also, adults with diabetes should not take more than 200 carbohydrate grams per day. Pregnant women need at least 175 grams of carbohydrates each day. 
Foods to Include:
Fruits, Vegetables, Milk Products, Nuts, Grains, Seeds, and Legumes
Fiber, also known as roughage or bulk is a plant part that the body can’t digest or absorb. It is a type of carbohydrate that cannot break down into sugar molecules. Therefore, it passes through the stomach, small intestine and colon relatively intact keeping the digestive system clean and healthy, and easing bowel movements.
It is mainly classified as soluble and insoluble fiber
- Soluble fiber dissolves in water and becomes a gel-like material. It provides many health benefits including lowering cholesterol and blood sugar level. It is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and barley.
- Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It passes through the digestive tract relatively intact. It adds bulk to stool which helps food to pass through the intestine easily. Found in whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans, and vegetables.
Dietary fibers are important in preventing the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colon cancer. 
The Institute of Medicine sets a Daily Recommended Intake for Fiber.
|Daily Recommended Intake
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) also set an Adequate Intake (AI) for fiber of 14 g of fiber per 1000 kcal.
Foods to Include:
Whole grains, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Beans, Legumes, and Nuts.
Fats are one of the three main macro-nutrients, along with carbohydrates and proteins. Fats are used as an energy source by the body along with carbohydrates and proteins.
Although fats are needed for good health, all fats are not healthy. Saturated and trans fats are considered bad fats and can increase bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the body. Whereas monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are categorized as good fats and can lower the bad cholesterol levels in the body.
Fats are important from reducing the risks of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and stroke, to insulate and protect vital organs.
They act as messengers, helping proteins to do their jobs. They also start chemical reactions involved in growth, immune function, reproduction and other aspects of basic metabolism. 
The FDA recommended Dietary guidelines of total fat intake
- Adults ages >= 19 years: 20%-35% of calories from fat
- Children and adolescents ages between 4 and 18 years: 25%-35% of calories from fat
- Children ages between 1 and 3 years: 30%-40% of calories from fat
Foods to Include:
Cashews, Peanuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Avocado, Soybean oil, Sunflower oil, Rapeseed oil, Olive oil, Cod liver oil, Fish oil.
The most important ingredient to include in a balanced diet. Water helps the body to keep hydrated which helps all the cells and organs of the body function properly.
Drinking enough water every day is important for the health and crucial for many important functions of the body, including:
- Flushing out waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
- Regulating body temperature
- Lubricating and cushioning joints
- Protecting organs and tissue
- Aids indigestion
- Helping the brain function
Although, it is recommended to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. But the amount of water needed each day varies from person to person, depending on the activeness, how much they sweat, and place of living.
According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the average recommended daily intake of water
- For men: Around 3.7 litres or 125 ounces
- For women: Around 2.7 litres or 91 ounces
Also Read: Green Juice Benefits for Health
How to Achieve a Balanced Diet?
Eat Plenty of Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an important component of a balanced diet. This is because they are rich sources of vitamins and minerals that are good for health. These include vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and folic acid.
They are also low in fat, salt and sugar and a good source of dietary fiber.
Consumption of abundant amounts of fruits and vegetables is useful for preventing or treating many health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, some form of cancers, hypertension, osteoporosis, and other diet-related diseases.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), consuming 05 to 08 portions (400 – 600 g) of fruits and vegetables daily will be useful for preventing many health-related diseases. 
Fruits to Include:
Grapefruit, Oranges, Avocado, Berries (Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), Apple, Banana, Watermelon
Vegetables to Include:
Leafy Green Vegetables, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Pumpkin, Potato, Sweet Potato, Cucumber, Onion, Garlic
Include Milk/Dairy Products
Milk or dairy products have long been associated with good health. They are a nutrient-rich food that is recommended to meet the many essential nutritional requirements.
Milk is an excellent source of Protein, Fat, Vitamins, and Minerals which include Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B12, Potassium, Phosphorus and Selenium. 
Whereas dairy products are rich in calcium, protein, potassium, and phosphorus. They contribute around 52–65 % of the dietary reference intake (DRI) of calcium and 20–28 % of the protein requirement. 
The intake of milk and dairy products has been associated with a reduced risk of childhood obesity. Intake of dairy products also proved to improve body composition and help weight loss during energy restriction in adults. Besides, the intake of milk and dairy products is also associated with a neutral or reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, like stroke. 
The intake of up to 03 servings of dairy products per day is considered safe.
Common Source of Milk:
Cows, Sheep and Goats
Dairy Products to Include:
Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Buttermilk
Nuts are high in terms of calories and fats. But, eating in moderation can help to reduce many cardiovascular risk factors.
Although nuts are high in fats, they contain healthy fats such as monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain saturated fatty acid (SFA), however, the content is very low.
They are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 
The American Heart Association recommends eating about four servings of unsalted nuts per week. 
Most Healthful Nuts:
Peanuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Cashews, Walnuts, Hazelnuts
Include Whole Grains
Whole Grains have long been used as part of the diet to get healthy nutrients. They are rich in nutrients which include protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). They also contain plant components such as stanols and sterols. 
Whole grains are associated to reduce the risk of obesity or weight gain, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as coronary heart disease (CHD), hypertension, and stroke. They also improve gut health and decrease the risk of some forms of cancer such as the upper gut and colorectal cancer. 
The USDA recommends a total of 6 ounces intake of whole grains per day in a 2,000 calorie diet. 
Grains to Include:
Oatmeal, Popcorn, Millet, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Buckwheat, Barley
Despite being small in size, seeds contain many healthy nutrients that are beneficial for health.
From healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids, they also contain many important vitamins, minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium and antioxidants.
Seeds are important sources of slow-release carbohydrate, dietary fiber, and protein. 
Seeds are beneficial in reducing the risk of high cholesterol, constipation, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
General guideline to intake seeds is to aim for a 200-calorie serving, around 2 tablespoons per day.
Seeds to Include:
Flaxseeds, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds
Legumes belong to the legume family and are edible seeds or pods of the plants.
They provide many health benefits which include reducing cholesterol, decreasing blood sugar levels and increasing healthy gut bacteria and are very economical food to include as part of a balanced diet.
They are also a great replacement for meat for vegetarians as a source of protein.
Legumes provide fiber, protein, carbohydrate, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorous.
They are also cholesterol and saturated fat-free and are naturally low in fat.
A one-half cup serving of legumes provides about 115 calories, 20 g of carbohydrate, 7–9 g of fiber, 8 g of protein, and 1 g of fat. 
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet recommends the consumption of 5 to 6 servings of legumes per week. 
Foods to Include:
Lentils, Peas, Chickpeas, Beans, Soybeans, Kidney Beans, and Peanuts.
Balanced Diet Chart for Adults
|Men||2,500||5.5 - 6.5||2||2.5||6 - 8||3|
|women||2,000||5 - 5.5||1.5 – 2||2 - 3||5 - 6||3|
The above Balanced Diet Chart is as per the USDA Choose My Plate.
Balanced Diet Chart for Kids
|Ages: 2 -3 years||1,000 - 1,400||2 - 4||1 - 1.5||1 - 1.5||3 - 5||2|
|Ages: 4 -8 years (Girls)||1,200 - 1,800||3 - 5||1 - 1.5||1.5 - 2.5||4 - 6||2.5|
|Ages: 4 -8 years (Boys)||1,200 - 2,000||3 - 5.5||1 - 2||1.5 - 2.5||4 - 6||2.5|
|Ages: 9 -13 years (Girls)||1,400 - 2,200||4 - 6||1.5 - 2||1.5 - 3||5 - 7||3|
|Ages: 9 -13 years (Boys)||1,600 - 2,600||5 - 6.5||1.5 - 2||2 - 3.5||5 - 9||3|
|Ages: 14 -18 years (Girls)||1,800 - 2,400||5 - 6.5||1.5 - 2||2.5 - 3||6 - 8||3|
|Ages: 14 -18 years (Boys)||2,000 - 3,200||5.5 - 7||2 - 2.5||2.5 - 4||6 - 10||3|
The above Balanced Diet Chart for Kids is as per MayoClinic.org
Note: Refer to a specialist doctor or a registered dietitian, if you have any specific concerns about your diet.