The Eatwell Guide is the UK’s national food guide published online by the government as a recommendation for a healthy and balanced diet. The policy tool was created in compliance with guidance from scientists and nutritionists, but in a visual manner – which makes it accessible and effective.
The Eatwell Guide is provided by the government and it encourages organisations and individuals to use it and pass its information on as much as possible. The diet proposed on the publication is proven to be significantly less impactful on the environment than the average UK diet.
Divided into five food groups, the chart shows how much you should eat from each one. In short, this is how to have a balanced diet:
– Eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day.
– Base meals on starchy carbohydrates, such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta and opt for wholegrain versions.
– Some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) are important, but choose lower fat and lower sugar options.
– Eat some protein food like beans, pulses, fish, eggs and meat (include 2 portions of fish every week, 1 of which should be oily).
– Use small amounts of unsaturated oils and spreads.
– Drink 6 to 8 cups/glasses of fluid a day.
– Avoid foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar.
It is important to note that water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks, such as tea and coffee, all count for the fluids we need to drink. 100% fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies also count towards your fluid consumption, but at a maximum of 150ml per day because of the sugar it contains. It is better to consume it at meal time to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
You can consume pulses like beans, peas and lentils as alternatives to meat. They are low in fat and high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Whenever possible, go for wholegrain food! It contains more fibre than white or refined starchy food and it offers more nutrients. Wholegrain food is digested slower and it makes us feel full for longer.
Vitamins and minerals supplements should not replace balanced meals and they should be used only for those with specific nutritional needs.
Food labels are handy for you to choose better options in the supermarket: always look for those that are lower in energy, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt.
Every person needs different amounts of energy (or calories) to stay healthy. This depends on how active you are, among other factors. If you eat more than your body needs, you can put on weight. The average energy requirement for a man is about 2,500 kcal and for a woman, 2,000 kcal. By convention, a woman’s breakfast should provide about 400kcal of her daily energy, lunch and dinner about 600kcal each and the remaining 400kcal should be consumed between meals.
The Eatwell Guide applies to adults regardless of weight, dietary restrictions or ethnicity. Besides helping you decide which foods to buy, you can also use the Eatwell Guide to help you make healthier choices whenever you are planning what to eat out or every time you are cooking at home.Back