Balancing

How can I tell if I am choosing a well-balanced diet? You can consume the recommended intake of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and other nutrients you need for good health within 1,200 to 1,500 calories if you wisely select from a variety of wholesome foods. Because many active people consume 2,000 to 5,000 calories (depending on their age, level of activity, body size, and gender), they have the chance to consume abundant amounts of vitamins and other nutrients. Dieters, on the other hand, tend to take in fewer calories, so they need to carefully select nutrient-dense foods-foods that offer the most nutritional value for the least amount of calories-to reduce the risk of consuming a nutrient-deficient diet.

To determine if your daily food intake is balanced and adequate, you can track your diet on the Internet using any number of Web sites. See appendix A for a list of sites, or simply search the Web for "nutrient analysis programs."

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