A balanced diet is a diet that contains different kinds of foods in certain quantity and proportions

To maintain good health, your body needs whole foods and regular physical activity. If you are interested in adopting a more balanced diet, understanding the basics will make the change seem less daunting. Below are five tips to help you get started:

  • Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
  • Drink plenty of water (six to eight glasses is recommended though this will vary).
  • Try to include at least two portions of fish every week.
  • Get into the habit of eating breakfast daily, it can help reduce snacking later on.
  • Get active! Adults are advised to conduct 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, why not get your friends involved and make it fun?

Portion sizes

Carbohydrates and starchy foods, such as rice, pasta, cereal and potato, should generally be the size of your fist. Butter and spreads are often high in fat and sugar, therefore only a small amount is needed - aim for a portion the size of the tip of your thumb. Protein sources, such as meat and fish, should generally be the size of your palm.

Fruit and vegetables will generally make up the largest part of your meals. Try to add a variety of greens to your lunch and dinners and if you can snack on fruit, you can easily reach the 5 a day recommendation.

Once again, portion sizes will vary. If you exercise regularly, you may need more food than someone who isn’t very active - in this case, a sports nutritionist may be able to help you.

Reference intakes (RIs)

Reference intakes, or recommended daily amounts (RDAs) are used as general guidelines as to what the average person needs. These can be found on the back of food and drink packaging and can help us understand what is in foods. Similar to the traffic light system printed on the front of most food packaging, knowing what we are eating can encourage us to make healthier choices.

These are only a guide, based on the average UK female. If you would like to learn more about what your body requires, based on your health and lifestyle, consider talking to a nutrition professional.

Mwalusito Spencer

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