11 June 2018
Eating a wide variety of foods provides you with the different nutrients that you need to stay healthy and to keep you full of energy.
Meat, fish and other forms of protein
Protein is needed for growth and repair and should be eaten daily. Foods in this group include: meat (lamb, beef and pork), chicken and other poultry; fish (white and oily fish); eggs; pulses (red kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, baked beans etc); nuts and seeds; tofu, healthy meat substitutes and soya. Choose lean cuts of meat and remove the skin on chicken. Try to have fish at least twice a week, one of which should be oily fish.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit, vegetables and salads are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that help keep you healthy and protect against disease. As well as being a good source of fibre they are also low in calories. Different coloured fruit and vegetables contain different vitamins and minerals, so make sure you eat a 'rainbow' of colours.
Milk and dairy foods
Milk and dairy foods such as cheese and yogurt are really good sources of calcium, which is needed for strong bones and teeth. This is especially important for growing children and teenagers. There are a variety of non-dairy milks, yogurts and cheeses also available. Some of these do not contain the same quantities of calcium so look for 'fortified with calcium' on the label.
Bread, rice and other starchy foods
Starchy foods include: potatoes, rice, pasta, noodles, couscous, sweet potatoes, yam, plantain, chapatti, bread and breakfast cereal. These foods are high in carbohydrate (or carbs), which provides the body with energy. They also contain vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Some of these foods (such as sugar and highly refined carbs) have had a lot of bad press recently but unrefined or complex carbs play a valuable role in the diet so choose wholegrain varieties whenever possible.
Make sure you have a variety of foods on your plate, savour each mouthful and most of all, enjoy your food!
The contents of this article is provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional.