Eating a balanced meal can be interpreted in many ways. To me, a balanced meal is where my plate consists of all 3 macronutrients. One of them being carbohydrates, then fats and lastly, protein. As other athletes will agree, consistently hitting all 3 macros in one meal is necessary for optimal performance in the gym. There is nothing worse than going to the gym with low-energy as a result of poor nutrition.
Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live cookbook is one that should be added to any recipe book collection. Dr. Fuhrman's cookbook involves a breakdown of the nutrients each meal consists of. This is a great way to keep track of your macros during the day, and another way of knowing whether you are reaching your target fat, carb and protein intake on a daily basis.