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Understanding Food Groups

Understanding Food Groups

(1 of 3 pages)

Fruit and vegYou might think that there's lot of conflicting advice on what constitutes a healthy diet, but most health experts agree on the essentials.

And the good news is that eating healthily really doesn't have to be difficult. Here's a more detailed look at the food groups we need to include in our diet...

Fruit & Vegetables

Five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is the minimum to aim for (an average portion is 80g, equivalent to an apple sized fruit a bowl of salad or 2-3 tablespoons of veg). Deeper green and more richly coloured fruits and vegetables are especially good sources of the antioxidant nutrients (particularly vitamin C, E and the carotenoids). These help to mop excess free radicals, which have been linked to diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Fruit and vegetables are also good sources of fibre which helps keep the bowels functioning healthily.

Fresh, frozen and canned fruit and vegetables (without sugar and salt) can each count as one portion towards your daily 5 a day goal, as can a glass of pure fruit juice. So it should be a fairly easy goal to achieve - try a glass of juice at breakfast, a banana for "elevenses", an apple at lunch, and two portions of greens with your evening meal.

Starchy carbohydrates

Along with fruit and veg, starchy carbohydrate foods should make up the biggest part of our diet. They are valuable and low fat sources of energy and also supply important B vitamins which are needed for the release of energy within every cell.

Carbohydrate foods should ideally be eaten at every meal, and high-fibre (whole grain) varieties should be chosen wherever possible. The goal to aim for is 5-11 portions a day. As a guide, one portion equates to a slice of bread, 3 tablespoons of breakfast cereal, 1 tablespoon of cooked rice or pasta, or 2 smallish potatoes. Some people may have an intolerance to wheat, in which case alternative grains should be substituted.


You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...