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A balanced diet

Eating a balanced diet is essential to achieving your healthy weight. But what is a balanced diet? Find out more here.

If you want to get the balance of your diet right, The Food Standards Agency recommends using the eatwell plate.

The eatwell plate makes healthy eating easier to understand by actually showing the types and proportions of foods we need to have a healthy and well balanced diet.

Eatwell Plate

The eatwell plate shows how much of what you eat should come from each food group. This includes everything you eat during the day, including snacks.

So, try to eat:

Fruit and vegetables

Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables every day is important to get a good mixture of the vitamins and minerals they contain, so eat as many different types as you can.

It is important to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day as part of a healthy diet.

A portion size includes:

To make the most of your 5 a day, eat a variety of different fruit and vegatables to obtain a combination of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Fruit is a particullary good source of fibre if you leave the skins on. This helps maintain a healthy gut to prevent constipation and reduce the risk of bowel cancer.

Below is a link to '5 a day on a budget' information:


Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta

Despite what some people think, these starchy foods aren't necessarily stodgy and unhealthy. In fact, if cooked and served without added fat, they are probably the most filling and nourishing foods we can eat.

These starchy foods are the main source of carbohydrate, and make up a third of the eat well plate, therefore they are necessary  part of a healthy balanced diet. Starchy food is a good source of energy and also contains fibre, calcium, iron and vitamin B. Starchy foods are not fattening, they contain fewer calories gram for gram than fat.

Wholegrain varieties of starch provide an excellent source of fibre, that will help you feel fuller for longer. Wholegrain can be obtained from granery/ wholemeal bread, brown rice/pasta and skins of potatoes.

Milk and dairy foods

You may have thought that low fat dairy foods don't deliver as much calcium and protein as their full fat relatives. In fact, you can get just as much calcium and protein from low fat dairy foods.

Calcium obtained from milk and dairy foods is important to keep bones strong. Fat in milk is important in young children to provide calories and vitamin A and D. Fat obtained from milk and dairy is normally saturated fat, this can contribute to becoming overweight in adults and older children. Therefore low fat options are a useful alternative as they contain less fat and the same amount of calcium. 

Meat, fish, eggs and beans

For healthy eating, buy the leanest cuts of meat you can get while try to eat at least two portions of fish a week. Pulses and beans are high in fibre and low in fat, so great for making healthy meals.

This group of foods are an essential source of protein and is important for growth and repair in the body. Red meat is also a good source of iron and vitamin B12.

Fatty and sugary foods

If you can, try to only have these in small amounts daily to help make other foods more enjoyable (e.g. spreading fats, oil, sauces/gravies, salad dressings), or avoid them altogether on some days so you can save them up for special occasions or weekends as a treat.

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