Medically reviewed on Aug 7, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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When you think of a balanced diet, you might imagine the food pyramid you were shown in school. But depending on your overall health, where you live, your lifestyle, and numerous other factors, what’s inside that pyramid could look different.
To that end, you may find it easier to conceptualize balance by looking at what isn’t considered health-supporting, like intaking lots of added sugars or highly processed foods. Although you don’t necessarily need to eliminate these foods from your diet completely, it’s typically best to eat them on limited occasions, in small amounts.
Regardless of how you look at it or what your exact needs are, establishing a balanced diet is important for overall health and well-being. So, let’s explore what a balanced diet may entail for you and how to achieve it for optimal health.
Let’s answer the question once and for all: “what is a balanced diet?” Generally speaking, a balanced diet provides your body with all the essential nutrients it needs to function and includes three critical macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.  The recommended ratio according the the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is :
Your body needs each of these macronutrients to build the foundations for physical and psychological health. However, some people need different amounts for each category. For instance, if you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, your healthcare provider may recommend you try a low-carbohydrate diet. This can help stabilize your blood glucose levels. 
Determining what balance means in your diet may take some trial and error. It can also take some practice to establish proper eating habits. Learning your body’s unique nutritional or metabolic needs may be an excellent starting place for designing a diet that works for you.
Different foods serve different purposes. For that reason, it's important to be mindful of your eating habits to create a healthy diet full of vitamin and nutrient dense foods. Developing a healthy diet and food mindset is one of the most fundamental elements of human health. Doing so can support :
People who maintain a healthy, balanced diet tend to be more capable of achieving more optimal physical and emotional health than people who don’t provide their bodies with proper nutrition. An imbalanced diet has been linked to a:
Although it’s not necessary to eat a perfectly balanced diet at every meal (unless your healthcare provider prescribes a strict diet for a health condition), making proper nutrition a cornerstone of your eating habits can help you prevent serious health consequences and lay the foundation for better health overall.
While balance may look different for each individual’s specific health needs and goals, some basic principles for maintaining a balanced diet can include :
Determining a sustainable, nourishing diet plan is a unique journey for every person. It may require learning your body’s food sensitivities, identifying your health and weight goals, and learning to manage health concerns with the care and guidance of a healthcare provider.
Remember, no matter what factors you’re taking into account, dedication, patience, and a positive mindset can help you find your unique version of a balanced, nourishing plate.
Achieving a balanced diet isn’t about perfection. It’s about navigating the daily fluctuations of appetite, health, and nutritional needs while maintaining a sustainable outlook on food and your long-term nutritional health goals.
With the Everlywell online weight management program, you can achieve your goals for well-being with the support of telehealth experts in weight loss. You’ll get access to one-on-one support, dietary advice, and even prescription services for glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) products if you qualify.
To find out more, and start your journey toward better nutrition and overall well-being, visit Everlywell online today.