To be able to ensure a varied, balanced diet and to minimize the possibility of last-minute unhealthy meals, it’s a good idea to plan your meals in advance.
On a regular day each week or two to set your menu, then make your shopping list based on this. Your weekly menus should include the following foods:
- at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, including a maximum of two or three pieces of fruit because of their high sugar content.
Note: a “serving” is any of the following: 1 medium-sized fruit or vegetable; 3 heaping tablespoons of cooked vegetables; 5 fl oz (150 ml) fruit or vegetable juice.
- a moderate to generous amount of potatoes, wholegrain cereals, bread, rice, and pasta.
- a moderate to generous amount of legumes,for example black beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, kidney beans, lentils, peas, and soy beans.
- a moderate amount of dairy products, such as low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, low-fat (or soy) yogurts, and free-range eggs.
- a moderate amount of poultry, fish, and shellfish, such as skinless turkey and chicken, including at least one or two servings of oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, herring, or fresh tuna and trout.
- a moderate amount of seeds and nuts to eat as snacks or use in cooking, for example pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, flaxseed, poppy seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.
- a moderate amount of oils, for both cooking and to make dressings, such as olive, vegetable, and canola.
- a small amount of red meat—lean cuts such as pork fillet or rump, or fillet steak are healthiest (with the excess fat trimmed off before cooking).