Getting the balance right

The Government recommends that we should consume a diet that contains:

  • Plenty of starchy foods such as rice, bread, pasta and potatoes (choosing wholegrain varieties when possible)
  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables; at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day
  • Some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and non dairy sources of protein, such as nuts and pulses
  • Some milk and dairy, choosing reduced fat versions or eating smaller amounts of full fat versions or eating them less often
  • Just a little saturated fat, salt and sugar

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Guideline Daily Amount Values

Everyone needs a balanced diet, but we also need to watch our daily intake of things

Guideline Daily Amount Values

Typical values



Children (5-10 years)


2,000 kcal

2,500 kcal

1,800 kcal


45 g

55 g

24 g


230 g


220 g


90 g

120 g

85 g


70 g

95 g

70 g


20 g

30 g

20 g


24 g

24 g

15 g


6 g

6 g

4 g


Alcohol Calories

Alcoholic drinks are made by fermenting and distilling natural starch and sugar. Calories from alcohol are 'empty calories', they have no nutritional value. Most alcoholic drinks contain traces of vitamins and minerals, but not usually in amounts that make any significant contribution to our diet.

Drinking alcohol also reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy. While we can store nutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fat in our bodies, we can't store alcohol. So our systems want to get rid of it, and doing so takes priority. All of the other processes that should be taking place (including absorbing nutrients and burning fat) are interrupted.

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