What to eat for a balanced diet: nutrients you need each day

By Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition

The 7 Essential Nutrients For Balanced Nutrition:

Here are the seven elements of a balanced diet to help you visualise your daily nutrition goals:

1. Protein

Protein is a macronutrient vital to virtually every cell in the body. You use protein to manufacture important molecules, such as hormones and enzymes, and to build and maintain muscle tissue. Protein is also great at satisfying hunger.

Your body is constantly assembling, breaking down and using protein, so it’s important to include enough protein in your diet every day to replace what you’ve used. We suggest that up to 30 percent of your daily calorie intake come from lean plant or animal protein.


2. Carbohydrates

Your body prefers another macronutrient, carbohydrates, for its fuel, so it’s important to get enough every day. We recommend that you get about 40 percent of your calories from whole grain, vegetable and fruit carbs—not the sugary, starchy kinds you find in baked goods, soda or candy.

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa or barley; whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers and pasta

3. Fat

Your body also requires small amounts of beneficial fats—but don’t go hog wild just yet; you’re probably getting enough. The typical American diet supplies more total fat and saturated fat than we need, and not enough healthy fats, such as fats from fish, nuts, olive oil and avocados. Fats are a very concentrated source of calories, which is why the Herbalife Nutrition Philosophy recommends that you limit your fats to 30 percent or less of your daily calorie intake.

  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Healthy oils such as olive, canola and sunflower
  • Avocados

4. Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are involved in many of the chemical reactions your body performs every day, and many minerals—calcium and magnesium, for example—have structural roles in the body. A well-balanced diet helps supply the vitamins and minerals you need, and taking a daily multiple vitamin and mineral supplement helps you get the proper amounts.

5. Phytonutrients

Plant foods produce a wide range of natural compounds called phytonutrients. They contain a number of benefits, such as preventing disease, enhancing immunity and repairing DNA damage. Their pigments give fruits and vegetables their beautiful colours. That’s why it’s important to eat colourful, plant-filled meals.

  • 4 ½ cups of colourful fruits and vegetables each day
  • At least 3 different colours at every meal
  • A wide variety throughout the week

6. Fibre

Fibre supports the digestive process, helps fill you up and promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. Whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are the best sources of dietary fibre, but if you can’t get the recommended 25 grams every day, you can work in fibre supplements.

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Beans

7. Water

The human body is 70 percent water, so it’s no surprise that we need to stay hydrated in order to remain healthy. Your body needs water to transport nutrients to cells and get rid of waste products. Water also helps control body temperature and lubricate joints, organs and tissues. The general recommendation for fluids is about eight 8-ounce (240 mil) glasses a day. Water should be the first choice, but other beverages can also count towards meeting your daily fluid needs. Such as: Herbal Beverage Tea and Coffee.

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