Getting the Right Nutrients for Healthy Eating
Balancing your diet
A good daily diet should include a variety of foods from each of four groups: fruit and vegetables (five portions); cereals, breads and grain products (four portions); milk and dairy products (two portions); and poultry, meat, fish, pulses and eggs (two portions).
How much protein?
Seventy-five grammes (2-1/2 oz) a day is plenty for most people’s needs, and any normal, balanced diet will provide this, even a vegetarian one. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and cheese are the most concentrated sources, but you can also get valuable amounts from bread, cereals and other grain products, and from pulses and nuts. Many fruits and vegetables contain protein too-for example, apricots, cherries, plums, asparagus, potatoes, brussels sprouts and spinach.
A small amount of protein can go a long way-a 100g (3-1/2oz) pork chop, 150g (5oz) of cottage cheese and 100g (3oz) of tuna will supply a 75kg (12st) man’s daily needs. A child weighing about 30kg (4-1/2st) could get his or her allowance from just two cups of milk, 25g (1oz) of cheese, two slices of bread and a baked potato.
If four portions a day sounds like a lot, try cereal for breakfast, a slice of bread with lunch, rice with dinner and three rye crackers for a snack. Eat them with cheese to get a serving of dairy products as well.
Fruit and vegetables
To get your four portions, choose fresh fruit, raw vegetables or home-pressed juice for snacks between meals.
Choosing dairy foods
Milk, yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and add protein to the diet. Eat them as snacks, or incorporate them into main courses or desserts. Choose low-fat products if you are watching your weight, but give children full-cream milk for extra energy.