What is a Balanced Diet ?

Do you ever think about what you ate this week and ask yourself – did I eat well this week?

Have you every tried to google – What should I eat and how much of it?…and felt even more confused?

I’ve started this page to hopefully help you make some sense of the questions we’ve all asked at some point or another. These recommendations are based on an average individual, aged 30-50, and living a moderately active life. For athletes, or individual living a more sedentary life the recommendations may fluctuate from those listed below. See the bottom of the page for reference sources.

Here is the link to a cool tool that can calculate nutritional value and calories of a food. CLICK HERE


Protein : 10-30% of your total daily calories

For a woman who consumes 1800 calories a day 20% of that would be 360 calories of protein or 90 gm of protein daily.*


Beef Proteins

  • Hamburger 4oz = 28 gm protein
  • Steak 6 oz = 42 gram protein

Chicken Proteins

  • Chicken Breats 3.5 oz = 30 gm protein
  • Drumstick = 11 gm protein
  • Chicken Meat 4 oz = 35 gm protein

Fish Protein

  • Most fish fillets or steakd 3.5oz = 22 gm of protein
  • Tuna 6 oz can = 40 gm protein

Pork Proteins

  • Pork Chop = 22 gm protein
  • Pork tenderloin 4 oz = 29 gm protein
  • Ham 3oz = 19 gm protein
  • Bacon 1 slice = 3 gm protein

Dairy and Egg Protein

  • Large Egg = 6 gm protein
  • Milk 1 cup = 8 gm protein
  • Yogurt 1 cup = 8-12 gm of protein (but check label)

Nuts and Seeds

  • Peanut Butter 2 tbs = 8 gm protein
  • Almonds 1/4 cup = 8 gm protein
  • Peanuts 1/4 cup = 9 gm protein
  • Cashews 1/4 cup = 5 gm protein
  • Pecans 1/4 cup = 2.5 gm protein
  • Flax seed 1/4c up = 8 gm protein
  • Hemp Hearts 3 tbs = 9.5 gm protein

Plant Based Proteins – Remember 90 gm/day*

which includes the above noted nuts and seed

Plant Based Proteins

  • Tofu 1/2 cup = 20 gm protein
  • Tempeh 3 oz = 15 gm protein
  • Edamame Beans 1 cup = 19 gm protein
  • Lentils 1 cup cooked = 18 gm protein
  • Bean and rice 1 cup cooked = 10-15 gm protein
  • Chia Seeds 2 tbs = 5 gm protein
  • Quinoa 1 cup = 8 gm protein
  • Chickpeas 1 cup = 15 gm protein
  • Potatoes 1 medium = 4.5 gm protein
  • Brussel Sprouts 1 cup = 5 gm protein
  • Broccoli 1 cup = 3 gm protein
  • Mung Beans 1 cup = 14 gm protein
  • Fava Beans 1 cup = 13 gm protein
  • Lima Beans 1 cup = 12 gm protein
  • Green Peas 1 cup = 9 gm protein
  • Dark Chocolate (70-85% Cocoa) = 8 gm protein 1, 2

Where to get IRON

  • Lentils (1 cup = 37% RDI)
  • Tofu, Tempeh, Natto, Soybeans
  • Cashews
  • Hemp Hearts (2tbs = 20%RDI)
  • Quinoa ( 1 cup cooked = 16% RDI)
  • Pumpkin, Sesame, and Flax Seeds (2tbs = 7-23% RDI)
  • Milled Flax (2tbs = 4% RDI)
  • Molasses (2 tbs = 10% RDI)
  • Tahini
  • Humus (1/2 Cup = 17%RDI)
  • Kidney Bean, Black Beans Chickpeas (1 cup =25-35% RDI)
  • Leafy Greens, Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard ( 1cup cooked = 14-36% RDI)
  • Mushrooms (1cup cooked = 15% RDI)
  • Coconut Milk (1/2 cup = 21% RDI)
  • Dried thyme (1 tsp = 7% RDI)
  • Dark Chocolate (70-85% Cocoa) (1oz = 18% RDI)
  • Follow this link for more info 4, 5

RDI = Recommended Daily Intake 3 – above quoted RDI based on an average intake of 18mg/day

Carbohydrates : 55-65% of your total daily calories

For a woman who consumes 1800 calories a day 60% of that would be 1080 calories of protein or 270 gm of carbs daily.*

The main kinds of carbohydrates are starch, fiber and sugars. Carbs are the bodies main source of energy. 6

Fiber
Beans, bran, fruit, lentils, nuts and seeds, vegetables, whole grains

Starch
Beans, bread, cereal, pasta, potato, rice, vegetables and any foods made with flour

Sugars
Fruit, juice, milk and some vegetables and are added to many prepackaged foods such as baked goods, candy, ice cream and soft drinks

Best sources for Fiber

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Chia Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Popcorn
  • Oats
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney Beans
  • Split Peas
  • Lentils
  • Artichoke
  • Raspberries
  • Avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Banana
  • Pear 7

Carb Tips

  • Choose whole grains
  • Stick to low-fat dairy
  • Eat more fiber rich fruits and vegetables
  • Eat more legumes (beans, peas and lentils)
  • Limit added sugar


Fats : 20-30% of your total daily Calories

For a woman who consumes 1800 calories a day 25% of that would be 450 calories of fat or 50 gm of fat daily.*

Fat is an important nutrient for your body. It:

  • gives you energy
  • helps your body grow and develop
  • helps your body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K

The 3 different kinds of fat are:

  • trans
  • saturated
  • unsaturated

These 3 fats have different effects on your health 8

Trans and Saturated Fats

“Trans and too much saturated fat are not good for your health.

Both trans and saturated fats can raise the levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood.

Trans fats can also lower the levels of blood HDL (“good”) cholesterol when compared to other dietary fats.

To help decrease trans and saturated fat intakes, select lower fat dairy products and lean meats when choosing these foods.

Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated fats are good for your health. In fact, some are essential to the healthy functioning of the body.

Replacing foods that are higher in saturated and trans fats with foods that are higher in unsaturated fats will help to lower:

  • LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and
  • the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol in the blood

These effects can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Foods that are higher in unsaturated fats are a common part of diets that have been shown to benefit health.” 8


Polyunsaturated vs Monounsaturated Fats

Both are unsaturated Fat forms, and both have health benefits. One glaring difference is that Polyunsaturated Fats have both Anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory effects. Whereas, Monounsaturated Fats have only Anti-inflammatory effects.

If you want to read about the difference further the following link describes them well. CLICK

Saturated Fats are found in what?

  • dairy products: butter, cheese, whole milk
  • animal-based food, including beef, chicken, lamb, pork and veal
  • palm oil
  • coconut oil
  • lard and shortening

Trans Fats are found in what?

  • beef
  • lamb
  • dairy products
  • they can be natural or industry produced
  • canola oil
  • partially hydrogenated oils
  • margarine
  • vegetable shortenings
  • commercially baked good like cookies

Unsaturated Fats are found in what?

  • olive oil, sesame oil, and canola oil
  • peanut butter
  • Nuts such as peanuts and cashews
  • Avocadoes
  • Olives
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Red Meat
  • Whole Milk products
  • Seeds
  • Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna
  • algae 9

“Saturated fat

Nearly half of Canadians consume too much saturated fat. Health Canada is consulting  on a mandatory front-of-package nutrition symbol for foods high in saturated fat as well as sodium and sugars. This initiative aims to help Canadians more easily identify foods that are high in saturated fat, sodium and sugars.

Unsaturated Fat

Food manufacturers do not have to list unsaturated fats in the nutrition facts table. To find out the amount of unsaturated fat if you don’t see it listed in the table, subtract the sum of saturated and trans fats from the total fat.” 8


  • It’s worth noting that dairy protein is no longer recommended as a primary source of protein in our diet, per Canada Food Guide. Lower fat dairy products are still included in the Canada Food Guide but you should keep them to a minimum.

*Proteins provide 4 calories per gram, Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, Fat provides 9 calories per gram.


  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/nutritionists-guide-to-plant-based-protein#nutrition
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/19-high-protein-vegetables#2.-Lentils
  3. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/dietary-reference-intakes/tables/reference-values-elements-dietary-reference-intakes-tables-2005.html
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/iron-rich-plant-foods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2
  5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/iron-rich-plant-foods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3
  6. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/nutrients/carbohydrates.html
  7. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/22-high-fiber-foods
  8. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/nutrients/fats.html
  9. https://pediaa.com/difference-between-monounsaturated-and-polyunsaturated-fats/#:~:text=Monounsaturated%20Fat%3A%20Monounsaturated%20fats%20have%20a%20higher%20melting,a%20lower%20melting%20point%20than%20monounsaturated%20fatty%20acids.

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