What does a balanced meal look like?
There’s some truth in the old saying, ‘you are what you eat’. Everything you eat affects how your body functions. Combined with regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet helps you to stay healthy and lowers the risk of developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes. It’s also important for your immune system, and for maintaining a healthy weight.
Your body’s needs depend on various factors including age, gender and physical activity, and will change over the course of your life. However, there are a few basic principles that make up a typical balanced meal – these apply specifically to adults, since children’s needs are slightly different.
The 5 main food groups:
Essential for growing, repairing and building body tissues and cells. Needed to produce hormones and enzymes.
The primary fuel for the brain and body, and a good source of fibre.
The main source of vitamins and minerals.
Insulates the body, protects organs, and is required for hormone production and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K. Essential and unsaturated fats omega-3 and omega-6 lower the risk of heart disease, and reduce inflammation.
A good source of protein and calcium.
How much should I eat per meal?!
Ideally, you want your meal plate to be made up of…
- ¼ protein foods,
- ¼ carbohydrates,
- ½ vegetables.
A small portion of your meal can include dairy and fats like example oil, butter, cheese and cream.
Average Portion Sizes:
- Meat, fish and chicken, 100-125g
- Lentils and pulses, 80-100g (cooked)
- Tofu, 100g
- 2 eggs, 120g
- Nuts and seeds, 25g
- Rice, couscous and bulgur, 60g (uncooked)
- Potatoes, 170g
- Pasta, 70g (uncooked)
The average portion size for raw vegetables is 80g per serving
Fats: oils, butter
- Cheese, 25g
- Feta, 30g
- Yoghurt, 50-100ml
- Mozzarella, 60-125g
- Crème fraiche, 50-100ml
If you have any other questions about eating balanced meals, or you’d like to know the average portion size for another food, leave a comment and I’ll respond to you as soon as possible!