What does a balanced diet look like on your plate?
Posted on 3 January 2019
What is a balanced diet? And how much of each food group should make up a healthy meal? We take a look at these topics as well as the benefits of the different components that make up a balanced diet.
While diet is defined as the kinds of food you eat, modern terminology tends to associate the word ‘diet’ with weight loss. While temporary measures to control your weight are all good and well, thinking long-term and embracing the bigger picture is crucial when it comes to the food you eat.
“You shouldn’t focus solely on diet,” says Kelly Ansley, a registered dietician practising at Mediclinic Morningside. “Leading a healthy lifestyle and eating well most of the time should be your primary focus. Your daily food intake should include predominantly healthy foods, with some healthy treats in moderation. It’s all about balance.”
Regular meals and healthy snacking promotes a stable blood glucose control. And as Ansley adds, variety is key.
“Eating a wide range of healthy foods from all the food groups (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) is a good idea,” she says. “Mixing up the colours of your fruit and vegetable also ensures proper nutrient intake. This is vital for optimal bodily function and healthy weight.”
What then does a balanced and healthy dinner plate look like?
“Vegetables are the backbone of a healthy diet and should be enjoyed in abundance,” Ansley says. “They should make up roughly half your dinner plate. The other half should be a fairly even spread between wholegrain carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes), lean protein such as meat, chicken or fish, and healthy fats (unsalted nuts, avocados and fish oils).”
Infographic: What does a healthy meal look like?