How to get to a varied and balanced diet?

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Do your children eat a varied and balanced diet? Easier said than done isn’t it?

We all know it is important – get the right vitamins and minerals to grow and develop optimally, have lots of energy, do better at school. And we all want what is best for our kids. Till the struggle on the dining table start, and we easily give in...

So let’s take a step back and understand what a varied balanced diet is.

The UK government has developed the EatWell Guide to help us find the right balance between different foods. This guide can be used for children over 2, as well as adults.

Some key points from this guide:

Eat at least 5 portions fruit and vegetables every day
  • Aim for a variety of fruits and vegetables

  • Fruit juice counts as max 1 of your Fruit & Veg portions

  • A portion is about a handful

Base your main meals around a portion of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates
  • Choose wholegrain or higher fibre versions where possible

  • Watch the salt, fat and sugar content (especially for some cereal and bakery products)

  • Portion examples: 2 slices of bread, fist size baked potato or 2 large handfuls of (cooked) pasta

Eat some beans and pulses and 2 portions of sustainably sourced fish each week. Eat less processed meat. 
  • 2-3 Portions a day is the right amount of protein.

  • Portion examples are; half a can of baked beans, meat/fish about size of your hand, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons of peanut butter

  • One of the portions of fish should be an oily fish (such as salmon or mackerel)

Have some dairy or calcium fortified alternatives: 2-3 portions a day.
  • Use lower fat and lower sugar options

  • A small glass of milk is one portion.

Drink 6-8 cups of (sugar-free) fluids a day
  • Limit juices to one glass a day

Limit fatty, sugary and salty foods 
  • Try to use unsaturated oils and use in small amounts

  • Limit the number and size of unhealthy snacks

Reading the above, you have probably found that your child / your family adheres to some of those points, but most likely not all. Don't be put off, and also don’t try to switch your whole diet 360degrees in one go. Every step you make towards the guidelines is another step made.

If you would like more info, the British nutrition foundation has lots of useful tips, and the British heart foundation provides more examples on potion sizes too.

In summary…

- Aim for 3 healthy meals a day: each with some fruit or veg and protein

- Limit to 2 snacks a day, ideally in smaller quantities if high in fat, sugar and/or salt.

- In order to get all the nutrients children need, try to have different foods throughout the day and week

EdiBee’s packed lunches provide a variety of carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, proteins and sources of calcium – helping you to get your child to eat balanced meals and all the nutrients they need.

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