There are so many different types of foods we can eat each day, but no one food provides all the nutrients a body needs. We should eat from a variety of food types, but which food types and in what proportions?
The Health Promotion Board recently introduced My Healthy Plate1, which helps us plan a healthy, well-balanced diet each day. Think of My Healthy Plate as a blueprint for a typical main meal.
(Health Promotion Board, 2015)
Half of your plate should be filled with fruit and vegetables of a variety of colours. They are low in fat and calories, and rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Colourful fruits and vegetables offer protective benefits against many common diseases like heart disease and cancer2.
A quarter of your plate should house whole-grain foods like brown rice and whole meal breads, which contain Vitamins B and E, minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium, as well as Inulin (a type of fibre). Go for whole-grains instead of refined grains like white rice and white bread as valuable nutrients in these foods have been removed from them during food processing. Whole-grains also help you manage your weight, as you tend to feel full for a longer time period after eating.
The next quarter of your plate should be filled with protein-rich foods like meat, lentils, legumes, nuts and seeds, as well as calcium-rich dairy products like milk. High-quality protein foods like chicken helps build and repair your muscles and strengthen your immunity system. Use minimally processed meats that are free from preservatives, antibiotics and hormones, such as the Sadia chicken, when you’re preparing a healthier option for your plate.
As you can see, eating healthily is easy, simple and inexpensive. All you have to do is to use My Healthy Plate as a guide to having a well-balanced meal of moderate proportions of a variety of foods to provide the nutrients your body needs.
1. Health Promotion Board. (2015). My Healthy Plate. Retrieved from http://www.hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/health-article/HPB064355.
2. Pandey, K.B., & Rizvi, S.I. (2009). Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2(5), 270–278.