Balanced nutrition means eating so as to achieve the ideal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as a range of nutrients needed for good health. In general, it's recommended that 50 to 60 percent of a person's daily calories come from carbohydrates, no more than 30 percent from fat, and 12 to 20 percent from protein. This balance is reflected in the government's Food Guide Pyramid, which includes five food groups. According to the Pyramid, breads, cereal, rice, and pasta should account for most of your diet, followed by vegetables, then fruits. You're encouraged to have two to three servings of meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, or nuts, and the same amount from the milk, yogurt, and cheese group. Fats, oils, and sweets form the tip of the Pyramid and should be used sparingly. In addition, it's important to obtain the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals by varying your diet as much as possible. Achieving a nutritional balance can be especially challenging when you're on a restricted-calorie diet. If you're in doubt, have a doctor or dietician analyze your menus for nutritional content.
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