The NYT had a really inclusive article on all of this:
Alternative NamesWell-balanced diet
FunctionA well-balanced diet provides enough energy and nutrition for optimal growth and development.
Food SourcesMilk group (dairy products)
Meat and beans group
RecommendationsThe term "balanced" simply means that a diet meets your nutritional needs while not providing too much of any nutrients. To achieve a balanced diet, you must eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups. You will need to know:
New dietary guidelines from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) recommend fewer calories and smarter food choices. Some of the key recommendations:
ReferencesDietary Guidelines for Americans - 2005 . Washington, DC. US Dept of Health and Human Services and US Dept of Agriculture; 2005.
American Heart Association Nutrition Committee: Lichtenstein AH, Appel LJ, Brands M, Carnetho M, Daniels S, et al. Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. Circulation . 2006;114(1):82-96.