Forget about short-term fad diets, and use the Eatwell Guide to start setting small goals towards sustainable healthier eating patterns. Weight loss can be a side effect of choosing whole foods that provide the nutrients you need.Eating enough nutrient rich food, with enough fibre and protein will help keep you fuller for longer and help you resist cravings for high fat and high sugar foods.
You can use the Eatwell Guide to help you get a balance of healthier and more sustainable foods. The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. Download the Eatwell Guide as a PDF.
what to eat from each of the food groups
Fruit and vegetables
The Eatwell Guide advises that we should eat at least 5 portion of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
POTATOES, BREAD, RICE, PASTA AND OTHER STARCHY CARBOHYDRATES
The advice is to base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates. Choose wholegrain where possible. Numbers of portions to aim for are not given. The American Dietary Guidelines advise 6 portions of grains a day for someone requiring 2000 calories – half of which should be wholegrain.
BEANS, PULSES, FISH, EGGS, MEAT AND OTHER PROTEINS
We are advised to eat more beans and pulses and aim for at least two portions of fish every week – one of which should be oily, such as salmon or mackerel
Dairy and alternatives
Milk and dairy products (or alternatives such as soy milk) are a good source of protein and some vitamins, and they’re also an important source of calcium, which helps to keep our bones strong. The advice is to choose lower-fat and lower-sugar options. The number of portions is not specified. The American Dietary Guidelines advise 3 portions of dairy a day for someone requiring 2000 calories (about 200mls of milk, a pot of yogurt or 40g of cheese is one portion).
The Eatwell Guide recommends choosing unsaturated oils and spreads and eating in small amounts. It is not specified what a small amount looks like. The American Dietary Guidelines advise 2 tablespoons of unsaturated oil (eg olive oil) a day for someone requiring 2000 calories.
Foods to ‘eat less often and in smaller amounts’
These foods include chocolate, cakes, biscuits, sugary soft drinks, butter, ghee and ice cream. The Eatwell Guide advises that they’re not needed in the diet and so should be eaten less often and in smaller amounts.
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- Drink milk to keep the weight off
This article updated in August 2017, originally published in May 2017.