Healthy eating-The Eatwell plate, portion sizes and calories

  • Use the eatwell plate to look at the balance of your own diet. There are no foods that are disallowed; the important factor is the total amount of foods that you have from each food group.
  • Milk and Dairy foods: Wherever possible try to choose low fat dairy products, such as semi-skimmed milk, light yoghurts or reduced fat cheeses. This food group provides you with calcium, essential for strong bones and teeth.
  • Meat, fish, eggs and beans: This food group provides you with protein. Trim off visible fat from meat and remove the skin from chicken to lower the fat content. Beans, pulses and lentils also provide soluble fibre which can help control cholesterol levels. Tofu and Quorn are vegetarian sources of protein.
  • Fruit and vegetables: Aim for 5 portion per day. Fruit and vegetables/salad provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals, some of which have antioxidant properties. These foods also provide fibre to help fill you up and maintain bowel health.
  • Bread, rice, potatoes and pasta: Try to choose wholemeal varieties such as brown pasta and rice. Choose tomato based pasta sauces, rather than creamy, cheesy sauces and use low fat spread on bread to control your fat and calorie intake. It is also easy to have this food group in large portion sizes so control the amount that you have on your plate.

Portion Sizes and Calories

Calorie: a unit of measurement to recognise foods containing energy. Empty calories: a food containing these does not contain nutrient rich calories and hence does not provide any other goodness for our bodies, e.g. alcohol. When looking at weight loss, we have already discussed ideal weight loss targets of 0.5 kg or 1 lb per week. This is achieved through a calorie deficit of 500kcal per day. Calorie/Energy requirements: vary depending on age, gender, activity and body weight. Most women will lose the recommended amount of weight on a daily energy intake of 1500kcal and men on a daily intake of 1800kcal per day. How do we distribute our calories throughout the day? Complete main meal with pasta/rice/potato/bread etc: 450kcal. Main course, to which vegetables and a carbohydrate need to be added: 300kcal. Complete light meal, e.g. sandwich: 300kcal. Pudding/dessert: 100-150kcal.

Calorie Swaps

Food to be swappedSubstitute Nutritional Savings
Hard cheese; cheddar (40g)166kcal, 14g fatLow fat cheddar(40g)109kcal, 6g fat57kcal8g fat
Whole milk, 146g96kcal, 6g fatSemi-skimmed milk, 146g67kcal, 2g fat29kcal4g fat
Full fat yoghurt, 125g133kcal, 3.8g fatLow fat yoghurt97kcal, 1.4g fat36kcal2.4g fat
Custard cream biscuit, 2122kcal, 6g fatJaffa cake, 294kcal, 3g fat128kcal3g fat
Cola, 160g66kcal, 0g fatDiet Cola, 160gTrace kcal, 0g fat66kcal
Doughnut, jam, 75g252kcal, 11g fatCurrant bun, 60g178kcal, 5g fat74kcal6g fat
Fruit squash drink, 250g48kcal, 0g fatLow calorie/sugar fruit squash, 250g3kcal, 0g fat45kcal
Bounty bar, 57g270kcal, 15g fatMilky way, 26g103kcal, 4g fat167kcal11g fat
Ice cream, fruit flavour, 75g119kcal, 5g fatFruit sorbet, 75g98kcal, trace fat121kcal5g fat
Salad cream, 20g70kcal, 6g fat Reduced calorie salad cream, 20g39kcal, 3g fat31kcal3g fat
Potato crisps, 30g159kcal, 10g fatTwiglets, 25g96kcal, 3g fat63kcal7g fat
Mayonnaise, 30g207kcal, 23g fat Reduced calorie mayonnaise, 30g86kcal, 8g fat121kcal15g fat