What does it mean to have a balanced diet?

Having a balanced diet means to have a selection of foods from different food groups. This also means to eat the correction portions as well. To end of this article, there will be a few health recipes for you to try!

Five different food groups into having a balanced, healthy diet. They are:

  • Fruit and Vegetables - You need to at least eat 5 portions of a mixture of fruit & vegetables every day. A good steady intake of vitamins will help build up your immune system for example vitamin C, that strengthens your immune system and prevents scurvy.
  • Bread, other cereals, pasta and potatoes - Base meals like these are higher on fibre/starch can help with the digestive system and help lower your cholesterol level among other benefits.
  • Milk and dairy products - Milk, yogurt, cheese etc provides calcium into your diet, strengthening teeth and bone.
  • Meat, fish, beans and other alternatives - These produce protein that will assist in building the bodies muscles, skin and blood. Fun fact, hair and nails are mostly made of protein so if you would like to keep a nice set of hair keep the protein up.
  • Foods containing fat and foods containing sugar - These are important to build up an energy storages for the body it also assists in boosting the immune system as well as keeping the brain and lungs healthy
  • A bonus tip is that it is vital to drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)

Always make sure to eat a variety of food from the 5 food groups and it is portioned correctly. Try to have foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar less often. It is a fact that most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, saturated fat, sugar and salt. This usually comes at the cost of not eating enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish and fibre.


Now that you know the different types of food groups and what you should eat, let's move onto how much you should eat.

  • Fruit and vegetables - 1 apple, banana, pear or similar sized fruit classes as a portion each. 80g Tinned/frozen fruits or vegetables can be eaten and that would be classed as a portion. Even a single (150ml at least) glass of juice or a smoothie is a portion. This should be limited to one per day as most of them are high in sugar so too much will be harmful to your teeth. Incorporation this into your usual diet is easy, for example substitute a chocolate bar or biscuit for some fruit and perhaps a fizzy drink for a glass of juice.
  • Starchy, high fibre foods should be a little over a third of every meal eaten. It is recommended that you eat wholegrain products (bread, pasta etc.) as they contain more fibre. An important tip is to always eat the skin on potatoes as that is choc-full of fibre and vitamins.
  • Proteins like meat and fish should always be consumed without the skin to cut back on fat. Try to eat less processed meats like bacon and sausages. Also do not eat as much red meat either.
  • Fatty foods/ oils should only be consumed in small amounts to keep energy high. Unsaturated fats are also the better option to eat as it helps lower cholesterol and lowers the risk of obesity and tooth decay.

Now you know the different food groups and the portion sizes along with it. It is always vital to keep yourself at a healthy weight, for a longer and better life. If you are unsure if you are at a healthy weight or not click HERE to visit the NHS website and try out their BMI calculator. There is also a free 12 week NHS weight loss plan on the site for assistance, click HERE to see that.

Let's move onto some healthy courses that you can make at home and be set for the day:

Starting with a 195 kcal Breakfast.

Baked Egg with ham and spinach


25g Sliced Ham

40g Baby Spinach

1 Medium free-range egg

30g Sliced wholemeal or granary bread

2g low-fat margarine


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4.
  2. Line a ramekin with the ham. Heat a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the spinach with a splash of water and cook for 2 minutes , or until wilted. Remove from the heat, squeeze out any excess water and place on top of the ham.
  3. Break the egg on top of the spinach. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the egg has set. Meanwhile, toast the bread and spread with low-fat margarine, if using, and serve.

 (Recipe by Fiona Hunter - HERE)

Something for lunch? Try this high protein, low GI recipe.

Greek Salad


½ Small red onion, thinly sliced

2 Large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

½ Cucumber, deseeded and roughly chopped

100g Reduced fat feta cheese, drained and cut into cubes

50g Black olives, pitted and drained (in brine not oil and preferably Kalamata olives)

Small handful of fresh mint leaves

½ Tsp dried oregano

2 Tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 Tsp fresh lemon juice

Sea salt and ground black pepper 

2 Wholemeal pitta breads, warmed.


  1. Put the onion, tomatoes and cucumber in a bowl and season to taste.
  2. Scatter the feta, olives and mint leaves on top. Sprinkle over the oregano and toss lightly. Drizzle over the oil and lemon juice and serve with warmed pitta bread.

(Recipe by Justine Pattison - HERE)

And for the main meals try this 702 kcal...

...Bangers and Sweet potato mash


8 Good-quality pork sausages

500g Swede, peeled and diced

500g Sweet potato, peeled and diced

50g Butter

100g Half-fat crème fraiche 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the gravy;

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Onions, thinly sliced

6 Sprigs thyme, tied together with string

2 Tsp English mustard

650ml Beef stock

2 Tbsp beef gravy granules

To serve;

300g Steamed green beans


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the sausages on the lined baking try and cook in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes, depending on their thickness, shaking the tray from time to time to ensure even cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, put the swede and sweet potato into a large pan and pour over enough cold water to cover. Season with salt and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, or until tender.
  4. In the meantime, make the gravy, Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until softened and starting to brown and caramelise.
  5. Add the beef stock and mustard, simmer for 10 minutes, then whisk in the gravy granules and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. When the swede and sweet potato are cooked, drain and mash until smooth. Return them to the pan and mix in the butter and crème fraiche. Season with salt & pepper, reheat gently.
  7. Serve the sausages with the mash, steamed green beans and plenty of gravy.

(Recipe by Tom Kerridge - HERE)

Here are some healthy recipes for you to try. These meals keep to a reasonable calorie whilst sticking to a healthy balanced diet.



Credit for Recipes: