Diet Food For Breakfast

What Is a Balanced Diet? Top Tips for Healthy Eating

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What is a balanced breakfast

We all have our favourite foods. You might find it hard to resist a bowl of citrusy fruits and can’t help but indulge in delicious pastry every now and then. Or if you’re like us, you love breakfast cereal so much, you wish you could have a bowl for lunch and dinner too. 

But it’s important to remember that no single food group has all the nutrients we need for our well-being. The key is to add a wide range of foods to our plates or bowls, or what is often called “aiming for a balanced diet”. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. Here is what healthy eating means in simple terms and what a balanced diet should look like.

What is a balanced diet?

A balanced diet means giving your body a diverse range of nutrients by eating a variety of foods, in the right proportions, in order to maintain a healthy weight and the well-functioning of your body.

What to eat for a balanced diet?

In the UK we use The Eatwell Guide to show what types of foods and the proportions which are needed to have a well-balanced and healthy diet. 

 

A balanced diet should include foods from diverse groups, including: 

POTATOES, BREAD, RICE, PASTA OR OTHER STARCHY CARBOHYDRATES

Starchy carbohydrate foods should make up around a third of the food we eat and we should base our meals around these foods. We should choose whole grain, higher fibre or brown varieties where possible. 

Whole grains are an important part of a healthy balanced diet. They provide us with a range of vitamins, minerals, fibre, starch and other nutrients. Luckily you can have the most delicious meals by adding whole-grain superstars such as whole corn, whole oats, brown rice or porridge to your recipes. At Nestlé Breakfast Cereals we understand that whole grain fibre is recommended as an important part of a varied, balanced diet. So, we’ve added a bold, bright green banner with the whole grain tick on our cereal packs to help you identify the cereal containing at least 8 grams of whole grain in each serving, including SHREDDIES® Original and Multigrain CHEERIOS®.
 

Fruits and vegetables

We should aim to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day, Fruit and vegetables provide us with essential vitamins and minerals as well as fibre making them a key addition to a balanced diet. 

Aim to add a variety of fruits to your breakfast and snacks, including high-fibre choices such as apples, strawberries, bananas and pears. You can find out more about what fibre is and why it’s important for healthy eating with our handy article.

DAIRY AND DAIRY ALTERNATIVES

A balanced diet should also include milk and other dairy foods. These are good sources of protein, vitamins and calcium for healthy bones. Plus, milk or yoghurt makes a wonderful combination with breakfast cereals and fruits. Look out for lower fat and lower sugar products where possible. If you’re including dairy alternatives, choose fortified options with additional calcium. 
 

BEANS, PULSES, FISH, EGGS, MEAT AND OTHER PROTEINS

This food group provides us with protein, vitamins and minerals so we should aim to include a variety of different protein foods in our diets. Pulses such as beans, peas and lentils are good alternatives to meat as they are lower in fat and higher in fibre. 

UNSATURATED OILS AND SPREADS

We do need some fat in our diet however we should choose unsaturated oil and spreads and eat these in smaller amounts. Unsaturated fats are usually from plant sources and include things like olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocado, and nuts, seeds and nut butter. 

Balanced eating tips for special diets

Vegan diets

Wondering if vegans can achieve a balanced diet without the nutrients from meat, dairy and other foods that come from animals? The answer is yes. The Eatwell Guide still applies to those who follow a vegan diet. You can get the nutrients you need from eating a varied and balanced vegan diet that includes fortified foods and supplements. Aim to include a variety of fruit and vegetables, base meals on starchy carbohydrates, look out for fortified dairy alternatives and enjoy some beans, pulses, nuts, seeds and other proteins. 

Check out our article full of tips for vegan menus
 

Gluten-free diets

People who can’t digest gluten properly due to gluten sensitivity or coeliac disease, or others who choose to avoid it, will have to adopt a gluten-free diet. But this doesn’t mean they won’t be able to maintain varied and balanced eating throughout their lives. There are many gluten-free cereals that can replace wheat, barley or rye. From rice to corn and quinoa, the list of gluten-free grains goes on and on with options for every meal of the day.

Plus, you can still enjoy some breakfast cereals that come in all sorts of gluten-free combinations, including the crispy puffs of rice in our GO FREE Rice Pops and the golden GO FREE Corn Flakes.

Tips for a balanced breakfast

A balanced breakfast will give you and your family a good mix of carbohydrates, fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. So, choose your favourite grain like a bowl of cereal or a slice of wholemeal toast, add milk, yoghurt or a plant-based dairy alternative, add some protein such as a handful of almonds and top it off with fruit. Don’t forget to also have a glass of water to keep hydrated! It’s that simple!

Keep in mind that a balanced diet also means balanced portions. Check out how much cereal should be included in one serving with our handy article, next.
 

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