What is healthful eating?

A balanced diet is central to healthful eating.

Having a balanced diet means choosing from all five main food groups, in the right quantities.

Whole grains

Examples of whole grains are wholemeal bread, pasta, and cereals, in which each grain includes the germ and bran.

To make sure the grains are whole grains, look for the word “whole” or “whole grain” on the nutritional information on the packaging.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Choosing a variety of colors can help maximize the intake of nutrients.

The American Heart Association recommend consuming 8 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. This equates to about 4.5 cups per day for the average person who consumes around 2,000 calories.

Protein

Vital for repairing tissues in the body, many protein-rich foods also contain high levels of minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc.

Excellent sources of protein include meats, fish, and eggs. Beans, nuts, quorn, and soya are protein options for those on a vegetarian diet.

Dairy

A calcium-rich diet promotes healthy bones and teeth. Dairy products are good sources of calcium. Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are recommended.

Fats

Fats are important for brain health, energy, absorption of certain vitamins, and for skin, hair, and joint health.

Saturated fats are present in cream, fatty meat, and fried foods. Too much saturated fat can lead to heart disease.

Unsaturated fats are present in avocado and oily fish. They help reduce the “bad” cholesterol in blood.