Is the Eatwell Guide for me?
The Eatwell Guide applies to most people regardless of weight, dietary restrictions/preferences or ethnic origin. However, it doesn’t apply to children under 2 because they have different nutritional needs. Between the ages of 2 and 5, children should gradually move to eating the same foods as the rest of the family, in the proportions shown on the Eatwell Guide. Anyone with special dietary requirements or medical needs might want to check with a registered dietitian on how to adapt the Eatwell Guide to meet their individual needs.
How can the Eatwell Guide help?
The Eatwell Guide shows the different types of foods and drinks we should consume – and in what proportions – to have a healthy, balanced diet. The Eatwell Guide shows the proportions of the main food groups that form a healthy, balanced diet:
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates; choosing wholegrain versions where possible
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks); choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of fluid a day
If consuming foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar have these less often and in small amounts.
When should I use the Eatwell Guide?
You can use the Eatwell Guide to help you make healthier choices whenever you’re:
• deciding what to eat
• at home cooking
• out shopping for groceries
• eating out in a restaurant, cafe or canteen
• choosing food on the go
Aim to fill your trolley with a healthy balance of different types of food.
How does it work?
The Eatwell Guide divides the foods and drinks we consume into five main groups. Try to choose a variety of different foods from each of the groups to help you get the wide range of nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and work properly.
It is important to get some fat in the diet, however, foods high in fat, salt and sugar are placed outside of the main image as these types of foods are not essential in the diet and most of us need to cut down on these to achieve our healthy balance. Unsaturated fats from plant sources, for example vegetable oil or olive oil, are healthier types of fat. But remember, all types of fat are high in energy and so should only be eaten in small amounts.
Many of the foods we eat, such as pizzas, casseroles, pasta dishes and sandwiches, are combination foods and contain ingredients from more than one of the food groups. For these sorts of food, you just need to work out the main ingredients and think about how these fit with the sections on the guide.
For example, if you’re having a cottage pie: the potato fits into the yellow segment; the milk in the mashed potato fits into the blue segment, the spread in
the mashed potato fits into the purple segment, the meat, meat substitute or beans would fall into the pink segment; the onion, carrots and peas would fit into the green segment.
To take a closer look at the food groups you can download a copy of The Eatwell Guide booklet here
For further information about The Eatwell Guide and maintaining a healthy diet click here