A balanced diet is a diet consisting of a variety of food that provides your body the essential nutrients that it requires to function correctly. Let’s learn what to and how to eat to have a balanced diet.
Fruit & Vegetables
A vital source of vitamins and minerals, fruits & vegetables should be consumed at least five portions every day. There’s evidence that people who eat at least five portions a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Eating five portions is not as hard as it sounds. Just one apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is one portion. A slice of pineapple or melon is one portion. Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion. So, plan your intake accordingly.
Starchy foods should make up just over one third of everything we eat. This means we should base our meals on these foods. Potatoes with the skins on are a great source of fiber and vitamins. Try to choose wholegrain or whole meal varieties of starchy foods, such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta and brown, whole meal or higher fiber white bread. They contain more fiber, and usually more vitamins and minerals than white varieties.
Milk & Dairy Foods
Milk & dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt are good sources of protein. They also contain calcium, which helps in keeping your bones healthy.
To enjoy the health benefits of dairy without eating too much fat, use skimmed milk, as well as lower-fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese, and lower-fat, lower-sugar yoghurt. Unsweetened, calcium-fortified dairy alternatives like soya milks, soya yoghurts and soya cheeses also count as part of this food group and can make good alternatives to dairy products.
Beans, Pulses, Fish, Eggs, Meat & other Proteins
These foods are all good sources of protein, which is essential for the body to grow and repair itself. They are also good sources of a range of vitamins and minerals.
Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc and B vitamins. It is also one of the main sources of vitamin B12.
Fish is another important source of protein, and contains many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Even eggs, beans and pulses are also great sources of protein.
Oils & Spreads
Some fat in the diet is essential, but should be taken in small amounts. Get your fat from unsaturated oils and spreads. By doing this, you will stay healthy as unsaturated fats are known to lower the cholesterol level.