A well-balanced diet has the right mix of proteins, vegetables, fruits and carbohydrates. According to the National Institutes of Health, important nutrients that belong in your diet include reduced-fat dairy products, legumes such as beans and lentils, meats and whole-grain breads and cereals. Carbohydrates are good for you, in moderation. They provide the energy you need to go about your daily activities. Carbs are roughly grouped into "simple" (fruits and vegetables) and "complex" (breads, pastas and cereals).
Popular high-carb foods include baked potatoes, white bread, spaghetti, rice, white flour, ice cream and chocolate bars. If you want a healthy alternative to these, you can eat whole-grain breads and pastas, fruits, nuts, whole-grain cereals, brown rice and multi-grain tortilla chips.
Some good low-carb foods include apples, corn, bananas, carrots, dried apricots, reduced-fat yogurt, tomato soup, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and lima beans. You can prepare low-carb dinners using some of these foods. For example, you can make a lima bean and carrot soup with green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale. For dessert you can make an apple and banana nut bread with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
You need both proteins and carbohydrates to have a nutritious diet, but you shouldn't eat either one of them in excess because this can cause weight gain, heart disease and diabetes. An important thing to remember is that whether you're consuming high- or low-carb foods, you'll still need to exercise in order to burn the calories that you consume. This helps you feel refreshed and contributes to effective weight control.