Why do you like a meal plan

Balanced diet: what your body needs - and what doesn't

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When talking about a healthy diet, the term “balanced” is often used. You may also have wondered what exactly it means to eat a balanced diet. In order to shed light on the darkness, we will explain to you in a clear way how you can manage to supply yourself with all the important nutrients and the amount of energy you need.

This article is completed with a 1 week nutrition plan, which provides three delicious recipes per day with nutritional power including suitable snack suggestions. This will give you a feeling for a balanced diet and inspiration to create your own nutrition plan.

What does "balanced" mean?

A diet is balanced when it provides all of the macro and micronutrients - taking into account your individual calorie requirements - that you need.

While carbohydrates, fat and protein are among the macronutrients, vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances make up the micronutrients.

In order to avoid obesity, it is also important Food with a high nutrient density to be preferred with low or moderate energy density.

A high nutrient density means that a food has a high concentration of nutrients.

Why should a diet be balanced?

A balanced diet is so important because your body can only function optimally and remain healthy and productive if it has sufficient energy and all the important nutrients available.

A balanced diet is also optimized if you prefer seasonal, regional and organically produced products. This not only benefits the environment and animals, but also we humans, because regional seasonal goods - without transport routes and loss of vitamins - have a higher nutrient density.

How do you eat a balanced diet?

In order to have a balanced diet, you need healthy foods in sufficient quantities that provide you with nutrients and meet your energy needs.

As a guide: An adult woman with a low level of activity (office job, little sport) has an average energy requirement of 2000 kilocalories per day.

For the distribution of nutrients, the recommendation applies that the energy requirement increases 55 percent on carbohydrates, to 15 percent over protein and to 30 percent over fat should be covered.

In this context correspond 55 energy percent carbohydrates (with a daily energy requirement of 2000 kilocalories) an amount of 264 g. While 15 percent energy protein means that your body needs 72 g of protein per day 30 percent fat energy an amount of 66 g.

You need about 250 g of carbohydrates, 70 g of protein and 60 g of fat per day. Perhaps you are wondering why you should consume more protein than fat despite having less energy percentages? Since fat contains almost twice as much energy per gram as protein, you need less fat.

In order to have a balanced diet, you do not have to reach these recommended quantities exactly. These are averages that vary from day to day and from person to person.

Therefore, you don't have to meticulously plan your meal plan yourself using a calculator. You shouldn't either. It is only a matter of getting an understanding of why, for example, a strict "low-carb" diet that consistently contains less than 50 g of carbohydrates per day does not meet the guidelines of a balanced diet.

The same applies to a high protein menu that provides more than twice as much protein than is recommended for a balanced diet.

Does “balanced” mean the same thing for everyone?

The basics of a balanced diet are universal.

While the proportions of the individual food groups remain the same, only the amount of energy varies depending on age, activity and gender.

'Food groups' refers to the main nutrients carbohydrates, protein and fat.

There are only minor differences, so that, for example, growing children and athletes with intensive training have a slightly higher need for protein.

However, there are more pronounced differences in the micronutrientsso that, for example, a pregnant woman has an increased need for iron. There is also an increased need for special micronutrients during breastfeeding. In times of stress, the need for B vitamins and magnesium can increase.

In addition, there are certain differences between men and women, with micronutrient needs usually met by following general recommendations for a healthy, plant-rich diet.
About it it can become a varying need for vitamins and minerals due to illness (e.g. autoimmune disease) or from taking certain medications.

While vegans largely cover their protein needs with legumes, whole grains and nuts, vegetarians with dairy products and legumes and flexitarians also with meat, the amount of protein required does not change despite different diets.

How do I find the right mix for myself?

In order for you to find a nutrition plan that suits you and your needs, it is important that you put your favorite dishes together in the respective food groups.

Despite multiple attempts, you just can't get used to the taste of whole grain pasta? Then continue to prepare your favorite pasta in the classic variant, but swap your morning croissant for a wholemeal bread roll. You can then enjoy your beloved croissant on the weekend.

The same applies to rice, which you simply like in the white version: When buying, watch out for the label "parboiled", as the rice grains then contain valuable ingredients despite being processed. And try something new as a side dish, such as millet, bulgur, quinoa or spelled.

As a vegan, it is important to you to get enough essential amino acids, but you can't make friends with tofu? Then you can alternatively eat red lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas and other legumes, whole grains, mushrooms, nuts and potatoes to get enough protein.

You don't like the slightly bitter taste of linseed oil? As a vegetarian, however, you want to consume enough omega-3 fatty acids? Then replace sunflower or olive oil for hot meals with rapeseed oil and use walnut oil for salads or cold dishes. And spice up muesli and salads with walnuts.

Balanced thanks to a colorful mix of colors Fruit, salad and vegetables in particular play a major role when it comes to a healthy, wholesome and balanced diet. The selection is also about your personal preferences.

For example, if you don't like broccoli, no matter how healthy it is, you shouldn't eat it either. Because psychological aspects play an important role in nutrition and food should always mean enjoyment, avoid foods that you do not like.

Since it is important in a balanced diet, however, you have a colorful mix of fruit, vegetables and salad choose other green vegetables like spinach and kale or lamb's lettuce.

Sometimes, however, taste preferences change over time, so that it is worth trying again. Maybe you just didn't like broccoli when you tried it overcooked in the school canteen. However, if the cabbage is Tagliatelle with broccoli and walnut cream - or cut into small pieces as a raw vegetable salad with a fruity orange marinade and sliced ​​almonds - broccoli may have the potential to become your new favorite vegetable.

You don't like blackberries? Then put together a berry mix of blueberries, raspberries and black currants.

You don't like carrots cooked, fried or raw? Then "hide" them in a smoothie or switch to orange fruits and vegetables such as apricots, sweet potatoes or mango.

If you mix all the colors of nature, you will take in numerous micronutrients with a high health potential.

When buying fruit, salads and vegetables, orientate yourself on the season and prefer regional varieties. In autumn and winter, when there is little fresh, vitamin-rich fruit available, you can simply supplement your menu with frozen berries.

You can also use healthy vegetables such as kale, asparagus, peas or Brussels sprouts out of season to complement the seasonal offer.

Balanced nutrition at a glance

Energy supply:

  • Ø approx. 2000 kcal for an adult woman
  • approx. 55 percent energy from carbohydrates (carbohydrates) (approx. 250 g carbohydrates per day)
  • approx. 15 percent energy from protein (EW) (approx. 70 g EW per day)
  • approx. 30 percent energy from fat (approx. 60 g fat per day)

The basis of nutrition:

  • at least 1.5 liters of water
  • Vegetables, salad & fruit: at least "5 a day"
  • Prefer regional seasonal goods
  • a colorful mix of fruit and vegetables
  • Eat vegetables raw more often

Suitable sources of carbohydrates:

  • Whole grain instead of starchy white flour products & sugar
  • Pseudograins like amaranth, buckwheat & quinoa
  • high fiber legumes
  • at least 30 grams of fiber per day

Suitable protein sources:

  • Prefer legumes as a valuable source of protein
  • Buy organic low-fat dairy products
  • Whole grain products & pseudo grains
  • Mushrooms, nuts, almonds, kernels & seeds
  • Meat, fish & eggs in organic quality in moderation

Suitable sources of fat:

  • Use rapeseed oil for warm meals
  • Use linseed or walnut oil for cold dishes
  • Nuts, almonds, seeds & kernels for muesli & salads
  • avocado
  • Fatty sea fish in organic quality from sustainable fisheries

More tips for a balanced diet:

  • Prefer little processed foods
  • Eat low in fat and sugar
  • Salt sparingly & season with fresh herbs
  • Avoid finished products and fried foods
  • Cooking in a nutritious way (short cooking times; prefer stewing and steaming)

Which foods can I safely do without?

In order to mobilize energy, your body depends on sugar or glucose (grape sugar). However, you could Eat completely sugar-free, because your body produces the glucose itself and can thus use the energy of the food.

Accordingly, you do not need any starchy foods such as baguette, peeled rice or light pasta, since starch is made up of sugar molecules. In order to still consume enough carbohydrates for a balanced diet, you are spot on with fiber-rich whole grain products, pseudo-grains such as quinoa or amaranth, and legumes, which also provide high-quality protein.

In addition, you can safely do without meat, fish, eggs and dairy products without risking a deficiency.

Since all macro and micronutrients - with the exception of vitamin B12 - from meat, fish, milk and eggs are also contained in plant foods, a balanced vegan diet be. Provided you take heed of the basics of a healthy, varied diet.

If you follow our tips from the vegan food pyramid for a balanced diet, you are on the safe side and do not risk a nutritional deficiency.

Example: A balanced meal plan for a week

How to use our balanced weekly plan:

  • Our 3 main meals provide an average of 1800 kcal per day
  • In addition, you can choose a snack (approx. 200 kcal) per day. This will give you the recommended average 2000 kilocalories for an adult woman
  • On days when you are very physically active or exercising, you can choose two snacks per day
  • Make sure you drink enough water and unsweetened herbal tea. In addition, moderate amounts of green and black tea and coffee are okay
  • The individual recipe suggestions can be flexibly adapted to your requirements and exchanged according to your taste preferences. However, a certain variety is useful in order to have a balanced diet
  • You can also swap lunch and dinner. Depending on the situation, you can replace individual dishes with a balanced meal in the canteen or restaurant if you wish
  • Most of the lunch dishes can be taken to the office and prepared the evening before as a second serving of dinner. You can also opt for a salad or a sandwich if your office doesn't have the opportunity to warm up
  • Vegetables, fruit and salad can be swapped out seasonally, depending on the season, or replaced with frozen products (e.g. berries, broccoli or peas)
  • You can replace the oil in the recipes - for example sunflower oil - with rapeseed oil for the warm kitchen and with linseed or walnut oil for salads and the like

1 week balanced diet nutrition plan

Monday

Breakfast:Raspberry and coconut porridge in a balanced recipe with currants, wholesome oat flakes and coconut for an exotic start to the day. You can enjoy 1.5 servings and serve 1 glass (250 ml) of freshly squeezed orange juice with an extra serving of vitamin C.

Having lunch:Fruity carrot-ginger soup with coconut, curry and antioxidants thanks to garlic, orange and onion. There is also 1 whole grain roll and 1 pectin-rich apple with a satiety factor as a dessert.

Dinner:Summer rolls with a nutritious filling made from red cabbage, paprika, protein-rich smoked tofu and carrot. You can prepare 8 pieces - 4 pieces for tomorrow lunchtime - and 2 servings of our creamy-spicy peanut dip. As a dessert, there is our delicious mango quark dessert in a vegan recipe.

Warms from within: fruity carrot and ginger soup. Photo: SevenCooks

Tuesday

Breakfast:Sugar-free muesli made from almonds, flax seeds, coconut and sunflower seeds with essential amino acids. You can prepare 2 servings right away - 1 serving for Friday morning. There is also 1 low-fat organic yoghurt (150 g), a diced apple and 5 chopped walnut kernel halves.

Having lunch:Summer rolls with peanut dip the second for envious looks in the office. There is 1 orange as a vitamin-rich dessert.

Dinner:Eggplant and sweet potato curry with tomatoes, almonds and a spicy mix of spices thanks to antioxidant turmeric, cumin and co. For dessert there is our delicious frozen banana, which you can prepare several of the same as snacks for the week.

A wonderfully spicy stew, served with rice: eggplant and sweet potato curry. Photo: SevenCooks

Wednesday

Breakfast:Quick hummus made from protein-rich chickpeas, lemon and spicy spices for a hearty start to the day. There is also a fiber-rich wholemeal bread roll and 5 radishes as well as sticks of 1 carrot and 1 yellow pepper.

Having lunch:Fresh Mie soup to go with broccoli, carrot and root parsley, which you can also replace with a little celery. Just add boiling water before serving and enjoy hot. For dessert there is 1 apple and 3 walnut kernel halves.

Dinner:Potato salad with radishes with Dijon mustard, arugula and chives. You can prepare 4 servings right away - 2 servings for tomorrow noon. For dessert there is an iron-rich blueberry and spinach smoothie, which you can refine with 1 teaspoon of linseed or walnut oil for sufficient omega-3 fatty acids.

Great to take away: Mie vegetable soup. Photo: SevenCooks

Thursday

Breakfast:Mango smoothie bowl with antioxidants, iron-rich chia seeds and filling carrot. You can enjoy 2 servings and also serve 150 soy yogurt - for an extra serving of protein. If desired, omit the cocoa nibs and replace the goji berries with other dried berries if necessary.

Having lunch:Potato salad with radishes is the second for a nutritious lunch break in the office. For dessert there is 1 apple and 3 walnut kernel halves.

Dinner:Spinach maki with zen salad for a delicious evening after work with a colorful mix of spinach, red cabbage, sesame and lime. You can prepare 2 servings each - 1 serving for tomorrow noon. Then there is a warming evening tea in Ayurvedic recipe, which you can also enjoy on the other evenings.

You're sure to get full: Potato salad with radishes. Photo: Monika Schürle and Maria Grossmann

Friday

Breakfast:Sugar-free muesli mixed with 150 g of low-fat organic yogurt including essential amino acids, 1 diced apple, 150 g of blueberries and 5 chopped walnut halves.

Having lunch:Spinach Maki with Zen Salad the second for enjoyment And nutrient power at the desk or in the park.

Dinner:Spaghetti Verdure in a balanced recipe from wholesome pasta with zucchini, mushrooms, carrot and spring onions. For dessert there is 150 g soy yogurt with 1 sliced ​​banana and 100 g blueberries.

Soul food for all pasta lovers: Spaghetti Verdure. Photo: SevenCooks

Saturday

Breakfast:High protein breakfast bowl for a delicious start to the weekend with a colorful mix of nutrients from avocado, protein thanks to chickpeas and cottage cheese and antioxidant grapes. There is also 1 glass (250 ml) of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Having lunch:Rocket feta soup with spicy garlic, onions, rocket and pepper. You can also serve 1 high-fiber wholemeal bread roll.

Dinner:Fried egg sandwich with essential amino acids thanks to organic egg and wholemeal bread. For an extra helping of micronutrients and fiber, there is a delicious carrot and almond salad with spring onions, lemon and parsley.

Provides your body with an extra helping of protein: high protein breakfast bowl. Photo: SevenCooks

Sunday

Breakfast:Grilled mushroom sandwich with essential amino acids thanks to egg white toast and mushrooms, avocado and parsley. You can also serve a vitamin-rich fruit salad made from 1 orange and 1 kiwi.

Having lunch:Potato rösti with chive dip and our spicy cucumber salad with dill and red onion for an extra helping of pleasure and nutrients.

Dinner:Two kinds of mini pizzas with protein-rich mozzarella, red onion, fruity tomato sauce and olives. A vitamin-rich dessert is a lightning-fast frozen yogurt with frozen raspberries.

A simple recipe for young and old: potato rösti with chive dip. Photo: SevenCooks

Balanced snack suggestions

Depending on your preference, you can enjoy our snack inspirations in between - or as a starter or dessert for lunch or dinner. Since your immune and digestive systems benefit particularly if you regularly plan meal breaks of at least four hours, I would recommend that you serve the snacks directly with the main course more often.

While consciously avoiding food, make sure you drink enough water in the form of water and unsweetened herbal teas.

Let's start with our nutritious snack suggestions:

  • Frozen yogurt for a delicious break with an extra helping of antioxidants thanks to raspberries.
  • Pizza chickpeas for a protein-rich crunchy treat. You can also nibble 5 radishes and 1 carrot.
  • Blueberry shake with banana and essential amino acids thanks to soy milk. Alternatively, you can use low-fat organic milk.
  • Herbal quark with high-fiber raw food sticks made from 1 kohlrabi and 1 carrot.
  • Green smoothie with baby spinach and vegetable iron. There is also the rest of the apple.
  • Amaranth muesli bars with sesame and oat flakes for a wholesome indulgence in between meals.
  • Frozen banana with chocolate coating and pieces of 1 walnut (2 walnut kernel halves).

Perfect for a healthy snack in front of the TV: Pizza chickpeas. Photo: SevenCooks

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Cover picture: SevenCooks