Eating a healthy balanced diet will give your body what it needs to help you with your lifestyle while helping you to keep fit and healthy – inside and out.
What does eating a healthy balanced diet actually mean?
All the foods we eat can be put into one of five food groups.
- Fruit and Vegetables 33%
- Milk and Dairy Foods 15%
- Bread, Other Cereals and Potatoes 33%
- Meat, Fish and Alternatives 12%
- Fatty and Sugary Foods 7%
A balanced diet is made up of the five food groups
The key to healthy eating is to consume a variety of foods from across the groups. The perfect balance is to get plenty of carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, lots milk and dairy, enough protein but to go easy on the fats and sugars.
For a balanced diet try to eat a range of different foods every day. Remember that variety is the spice of life! This should include:
- Five servings of fruit and vegetables each day to give you lots of vitamins and minerals to keep you in top condition. There's a massive range of fruit and veg out there for you to try.
- Filling foods like bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, chapatti, cous cous, yam, plantain and cereal should be included at each meal. These foods help fill us up and keep our guts healthy.
- Meat, fish or beans should be included at least 2 times each day (or 3 times a day if you are vegetarian). These foods are very good sources of protein, which we need to keep us strong.
- You should also ensure you get plenty of calcium every day from dairy products like milk, cheese or yoghurts. Try to have 3 servings a day. Calcium helps to strengthen your teeth and bones.
What about treats?
So where does your favourite chocolate bar fit in? Chocolate falls under the category of 'treats' along with other sugary foods like cakes, biscuits and sweets. Crisps and chips also feature as ‘treats’, as they are normally high in fat and salt. These foods make up the smallest part of our diet.
As these foods are treats, they should not be eaten every day. Instead, why not wait until the weekend for some tasty chocolate or some crisps? This will not only make them taste even more delicious, but it will also be easier for you to control your weight and can also save you money.