Publish date: 12 February 2021

Eating a balanced diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.

This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Food groups in your diet

The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:

  • Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice, or pasta.
  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks).
  • Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein.
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (at least six to eight glasses a day).

If you're having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.

Try to choose a variety of different foods from the five main food groups to get a wide range of nutrients.

Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.

Fruit and vegetables: are you getting your five day?

Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals and fibre, and should make up just over a third of the food you eat each day.

It's recommended that you eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.

There's evidence that people who eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

Eating five portions is not as hard as it sounds.

A portion is:

  • 80g of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables.
  • 30g of dried fruit – which should be kept to mealtimes.
  • 150ml glass of fruit juice or smoothie – but do not have more than one portion a day as these drinks are sugary and can damage teeth.
  • Just one apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is one portion each.
  • A slice of pineapple or melon is also one portion, and three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion.
  • Adding a tablespoon of dried fruit, such as raisins, to your morning cereal is an easy way to get one portion.

You could also swap your mid-morning biscuit for a banana, and add a side salad to your lunch. 

In the evening, have a portion of vegetables with dinner and fresh fruit with plain, lower fat yoghurt for dessert to reach your five a day. Find out more about what counts towards your five a day.

Support with weight management

If you are looking to lose weight, our wellbeing and lifestyle coaches can support you. They can check your weight, height, waist circumference, calculate your BMI and then provide evidence-based dietary advice. Physical activity sessions are also available.

The key objectives of the sessions are to:

  • Learn about the current UK healthy eating guidelines for adults.
  • Understand food labels.
  • Know your calorie requirements to promote weight loss.
  • Find out about the best ways to stay hydrated.
  • Learn about the current UK physical activity guidelines for adults and how to incorporate into everyday life.

To book a session with one of our wellbeing and lifestyle coaches or make an enquiry, please email our dedicated health and wellbeing mailbox: