Basically it's a method of classifying the foods that we eat. There are five main food groups and we should aim to eat from all of them to create a balanced diet.
So eating certain percentages of each type of foods will help to manage a healthy diet. But what are these percentages and how many servings from each of the food groups are we expected to eat?
Nutritionists have created guidelines for a balanced diet that outline both the number of servings per day from each of the food groups, but also the percentage of your daily intake that these food groups should represent.
- Breads, Cereals and Potatoes
This category should make up the majority of your diet, as it's a great source of fuel or energy for your body. Nutritionists recommend 4-6 servings of breads, cereals and potatoes per day, and suggest that this category should make up one third, or about 33% of your daily intake.
- Fruits and Vegetables
With fruits and vegetables, try to eat at least 5 servings a day. Nutritionists recommend that you double your fruit and vegetable intake to 400g per day to protect against illnesses like heart attack, stroke and cancers. This category should make up at least one third, or 33% of your daily diet.
- Meat, Fish and Alternatives
Two servings a day from this category will see that you are getting all the nutrients you need from these items. This means that this category makes up about one sixth, or 17% of your daily intake. It's recommended that you choose lower fat versions of these items.
- Milk and Dairy
This category should also make up about a sixth, or 17% of your diet. This means you should aim for 2-3 servings. Again, choose low fat versions of these items where possible.
- Fats and Sugars
Fats and sugars are high in fat, and don't provide much in the way of nutritional benefit. They should be eaten in moderation, and should not come to any more than a twelfth of your diet. That's roughly 8% of your total intake per day.