A Nutrition Advisor's Guide to A Balanced Plate of Food!
A Nutritionist's Guide to a Balanced Plate of Food.
By Katie Robinson
By Nutrition Advisor Katie Robinson. Find out more here
It's okay to fall off the healthy wagon, but once the dust settles it's good to have a reminder of what should (and probably shouldn't) be on our plates. Chances are you have a rough idea of what a healthy plate of food looks like, but every now and then, it's a clever idea to take a look at the official guide.
This week, Nutrition Adviser and Food Blogger Katie Robinson has given us a handy guide to Eating Well, and recommends we get familiar with the NHS visual guide below.
Read on for Katie's top tips of what we should be eating...
Q1. What does a balanced plate look like?
Luckily, there's a lovely plate-shaped visual guide called the EATWELL GUIDE. If you roughly follow this, you should get all the nutrients your body needs! Here is a breakdown of the different food groups along with some top tips for getting enough:
Fruit and Veg
Fruit and veg are full of vitamins and minerals - aim for around 2 portions of fruit and 3 of veg a day (around 1/3 of our diet). These can include fresh, canned, frozen and dried, Great examples are fresh broccoli, carrots and onions; frozen peas, canned baked beans, dried lentils, fresh whole fruit or berries, canned apricots and raisins. Try adding fruit to breakfast, having fruit and veg as snacks, and bulking out meals with extra veg.
Carbs give us energy and should make up about 1/3 of our diet! But wholegrain options are much better as they contain fibre and more nutrients, plus they keep us fuller for longer. Good examples are wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, potatoes, couscous, and wholegrain cereals such as porridge, bran flakes and weetabix. Oatcakes make a great snack, as does a wholemeal peanut butter sandwich or wholegrain cereal with milk and berries.
Our bodies need protein to grow and repair. Good sources are beans (including canned), eggs, fish, pulses (such as lentils and nuts), and meat. Even vegetarians can get enough protein! It’s best to choose leaner cuts of meat (such as chicken) and eat less fatty and processed meat (such as bacon and sausages). Choose oily fish such as trout, salmon or mackerel sometimes. Nuts are full of goodness but also high in fat so keep portions to a palm-full.
Dairy products such as cheese, milk and yoghurt, contain much needed calcium, important for strong bones. These products also tend to be fatty, so go for small portions or low-fat options. Aim for 2-3 portions a day e.g. milk in cereal/a small bowl of yoghurt with berries and honey/30g cheese as part of a meal.
Oils and spreads
We need a little fat in our diet, but keep it small! Unsaturated fat is better than saturated fat (linked to high cholesterol and risk of heart disease) so look out for this on food labels. Olive or rapeseed oil are good sources of unsaturated fat. There are lots of spray oils around now to help minimise the amount we use.