The new ‘Eatwell Guide’ published by Public Health England shows revised advice for a healthy, balanced diet in order for us to consume our full nutritional requirements. The recommendation is now showing a greater consumption of fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates (preferably wholegrain), with a decrease in sugary foods and drinks.
The new Eatwell Guide has been brought in to replace the Eatwell plate, and coincides with George Osborne recently announcing a sugar tax on soft drinks set to commence by 2018.
In a snapshot, the new Eatwell Guide highlights that we should:
- Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
- Meals should be based on starchy carbohydrates with the wholegrain versions being desirable.
- Have a little dairy or dairy alternatives, such as soya. Choose low fat and low sugar options for each.
- Your main protein sources should come from beans, pulses, fish, eggs, and lean meat.
- Choose unsaturated oils and spread and have only in small amounts.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of fluid every day.
- Foods and drinks that are high in fat, sugar or salt should only be consumed infrequently and in small amounts.
Let’s look at the finer detail of each guide segment
Fruit and Veg:
- Eat at least 5 portions every day
- Fruit and veg should make up one third of your daily food intake
- A single portion is 80g which equates to 3 heaped tablespoons of veg, a dessert bowl of salad, or a single apple, pear, banana or other fruit of a similar size
Starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta:
- Starchy carbohydrates should make up one third of your daily food intake
- Choose higher-fibre and wholegrain varieties such as brown rice or wholewheat pasta
- Be mindful of the fats you are adding to your carbohydrates when cooking, this is often unnoticed and will make a difference
Dairy and alternatives:
- Good sources of protein contain vitamins and calcium
- Choose low sugar options
- When buying dairy alternatives, such as soya, choose unsweetened, calcium-fortified versions
Proteins such as pulses, fish, eggs and lean meat:
- Pulses such as lentils, peas and beans are high in protein, fibre, contain vitamins and minerals
- Tofu, bean curd and mycoprotein are good veggie-based protein options
- Consume two portions of fish each week – one portion being oily fish
- Aim to eat no more than 70g of red or processed meat per day. Processed meats include, sausages, bacon, reformed meat products and cured meats
Oils and spreads:
- A small amount of fat is essential to our health
- Unsaturated fats are healthier fats and are usually derived from plant sources such as olive oil and rapeseed oil
- Fat is very high in energy and should only be consumed in small amounts
- Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid every day
- Alcohol should be limited to 14 units per week for both men and women
Foods high in fat, salt and sugar:
- Foods such as chocolate, cakes, biscuits, crisps, butter, ice cream and full-sugar fizzy drinks are not needed in the diet and should therefore be consumed infrequently and in small amounts
Anna Mason is Director at The Healthy Employee Ltd