Balanced Diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.

This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain healthy body weight.

Food groups in our diet

The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:

  • eat 5 A Day
  • base meals on starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
  • have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
  • eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • choose unsaturated oils and spreads, eaten in small amounts
  • drink plenty of fluids

If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt, and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.

Try to choose a variety of different foods from the 5 main food groups.

Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fiber.

Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals and should make up just over a third of the food we eat each day.

It’s advised that we eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.

There’s evidence that people who eat at least 5 portions a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.

Eating 5 portions is not as hard as it sounds. Just 1 apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is 1 portion (80g).

A slice of pineapple or melon is 1 portion. Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion.

Having a sliced banana with your morning cereal is a quick way to get 1 portion. Swap your mid-morning biscuit for a tangerine, and add a side salad to your lunch.

Have a portion of vegetables with dinner, and snack on fresh fruit with natural plain yogurt in the evening to reach your 5 A Day.

For more tips on getting your 5 portions of fruit and veg, check out our 5 A Day page.