A healthy balanced diet is important to help maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. A healthy diet should include bread, potatoes, cereals, fruits and vegetables, together with moderate amounts of milk, dairy products, meat, fish and small amounts of foods containing fat and sugar. Foods from the largest groups should be eaten most often and from the smallest group least often.
Fruit & vegetables
• Aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day (400g)
• 1 portion is approximately 80g
• A third of food intake should come from fruits and vegetables
• Fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables all count
• 100% fruit or vegetable juice also counts but only as 1 portion, no matter how much you drink
• Beans and pulses also count but only as 1 portion no matter how much you eat
• Eat a variety of different foods from this group
• This group provides vitamin C, carotenes, folate, fibre and carbohydrate
• Fruit and vegetables are naturally low in fat
• Provide fruit and vegetables as snacks
• Always serve fruit or vegetables with every meal
• Add vegetables to pizzas, sauces, soups and casseroles/stews
• Serve fruit salad as a breakfast and dessert option
• Add side salads to main meals and sandwiches
Bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
• A third of food intake should come from these types of foods, they are also known as ‘starchy foods’
• Starchy foods include bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, noodles, couscous, breakfast cereals, oats
• Starchy foods provide carbohydrate, fibre, some iron and calcium
• Serve a starchy food with every meal
• Offer wholegrain or wholemeal varieties where possible
• Foods from this group are often good carriers for fat so offer a variety of starches including starches cooked without added fat for example, if you serve chips, always offer a healthier alternative such as boiled potatoes or a jacket potato
• Serve butter or margarine for the jacket potato on the side.
Milk and dairy food
• Eat and drink moderate amounts of foods from this group
• This group provides calcium, protein and vitamin B12
• This group includes foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and fromage frais
• This group does NOT include eggs, butter, margarine and cream, they fit in other groups
• Serve lower fat versions where possible for example semi skimmed milk, low fat yogurt and reduced fat cheese
• Use smaller amounts of strong flavoured cheese to help reduce the amount of fat.
Foods high in fat and /or sugar
• Eat foods from this group in small amounts
• Foods containing fat include butter, margarine, cooking oils, mayonnaise, cream, chocolate, crisps, chips, biscuits, pastries, cake, puddings and ice-cream
• Foods containing sugar include soft drinks (not including diet drinks), sweets, confectionary, jam and sugar
• Foods containing both fat and sugar include cakes, biscuits, puddings, pastries and ice-cream
• Serve small portions of foods from this group
• Offer a healthier option where possible so your customers can make their own food choice
- If you serve chips with your meals, you could also offer boiled potatoes, rice and jacket potatoes
- Serve margarine and butter in packs on the side instead of automatically adding it to a jacket potato
- If you serve chocolate cake as a dessert, you could also offer sorbets and fruit salad
- If you serve muffins and biscuits as snack items, you could also offer fruit, yogurts, dried fruit and nuts
- If you serve biscuits with tea and coffee, perhaps ask your customer if they would like a biscuit first before automatically giving them one.
Meat, fish and alternatives
• Moderate amounts of food from this group should be eaten
• This group provides protein, iron and some B vitamins
• This group includes all fish, lean meat, poultry and shellfish
• It also includes non-meat sources of protein such as eggs, all beans, all pulses, soya and Quorn®
• Offer lean cuts of meat and remove any visible fat
• Remove skin off poultry
• Foods coated in breadcrumbs or batter are generally deep-fried and therefore contain more fat so always offer breadcrumb/batter-free alternatives
• Offer fish, especially oily fish such as salmon or trout
Salt is crystals of sodium chloride, naturally occurring in the ground and dissolved in sea water. Most inherently healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat and fish naturally contain very low levels of sodium.
Salt has been used to preserve food for hundreds of years with many foods such as bacon, ham, cheese and smoked fish well established features in the British diet today. Too much salt in the diet is related to common health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks. Since 2001 we have been gradually reducing the salt content of most of our foods, with careful management to ensure the flavour remains. We now have reached the 2010 FSA salt targets for most of our recipes and are continuing towards 2012 Responsibility Deal targets.
For your own recipes you can flavour dishes with herbs and spices to reduce the amount of added salt needed. For more information download Brakes Commitments to Health & Wellbeing – Salt.
For all our products the sodium and salt content is displayed in the nutrition panel on packaging and on all product pages online.