What is a healthy and balanced meal?
To put together a healthy and balanced meal, we need to know what essential nutrients our body needs to function properly. Because the body cannot synthesise essential nutrients on its own, we need to obtain them from food. The six essential nutrients are carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.
Carbohydrates, protein and fats are macronutrients. Most of our nutrients should come from carbohydrates, the body’s primary source of energy. Next in importance are proteins, and fats should be included sparingly.
Micronutrients – vitamins and minerals found in macronutrients – are essential in small amounts for proper growth and development.To ensure you get the essential nutrients at each meal, look at the illustration and see how your plate should look.
The human body cannot function without water. Its functions include the regulation of body temperature, the elimination of toxins and waste, and the transport of nutrients and oxygen around the body. Water also helps to cushion joints and protect muscles, and it assists in the maintenance of a healthy weight.
|Eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables see 5-a-Day|
|Limit white, starchy carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice and white pasta. Choose wholegrain options instead, such as brown rice, buckwheat noodles, quinoa, amaranth, barley and oats, as well as starchy vegetables such as sweet potato and pumpkin|
|Include more fish in your diet – at least two portions of fish per week|
|Limit saturated fats and make your meal up with good fats such as avocado, nuts, oily fish|
|Reduce sugar intake, as this is a major contributor to obesity|
|Include 2–3 servings of dairy to get your daily recommended amount of calcium|
|Select a wide variety of foods and consume them in the correct portion size to achieve and maintain a healthy weight|
|Drink plenty of water daily, at least 8 glasses per day, or more if you are active|
|Don’t skip breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day because it provides the energy you need to start the day|