There are five main food groups which need to be incorporated into a balanced diet and the eatwell plate is a visual aid which sections out the plate into the five food groups. The size of each section relates the amount of food your body requires from that section to function at its best i.e. 1/3 carbohydrates, 1/3 fruit/vegetables and the remaining 1/3 made up from milk and dairy food; meat, fish, eggs, beans and the fatty and sugary foods (with those being by far the smallest) sections.
The eatwell plate is for guidance and is based on average adult; individuals may need slightly different nutritional needs dependant on their lifestyle (athlete, manual worker) and health status (medical condition affected by food e.g. diabetic). However it's important everyone makes sure they eat a wide range of foods, as with variety comes knowledge that are bodies are getting the range of nutrients needed to function properly.
Fruit & Vegetables – provide essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and some iron which helps our immune system, eye-sight, hair/skin and keeps our digestive system healthy.
Bread, rice, pasta and potatoes – carbohydrates – are essential for providing our bodies with the energy they need to function, plus they also provide some fibre (especially the wholemeal varieties), vitamins/minerals and iron.
Milk and dairy foods – provide good sources of calcium, some protein and key vitamins/mineral which are essential for developing strong teeth and bones.
Meat, fish, eggs and beans – provide good source of protein and iron which is needed for growth and repair within our bodies, plus helps keep blood healthy.
Fatty and sugary foods – our bodies only require a small amount of these foods, but good fats i.e. unsaturated fats, oily fish (omega 3 & 6) are essential for our brain function.