A balanced diet means choosing a wide variety of foods and drinks from all of the food groups. The goal is to consume the nutrients at the recommended levels.
A balanced diet must be planned according to individual calorie levels. Depending on the portion size, one must optimize the amount of nutrients taken in for the amount of calories consumed. These types of foods are referred to as nutrient-dense. Nutrient-dense foods provide a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals despite relatively few calories. Examples of nutrient-dense foods are fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat and fish, and whole grains and beans. Low nutrient-dense foods include candy bars, soda, donuts and onion rings.