2.8  A balanced diet

You have already come across the term ‘balanced diet’ several times in this Module. In this section we’ll discuss what a balanced diet is and the benefits of a balanced diet. It is important that you know enough to be able to recommend a balanced diet for the people in your community.

Eating a balanced diet means choosing a wide variety of foods and drinks from all the food groups. It also means eating certain things in small amounts, namely saturated fat, cholesterol, simple sugar, salt and alcohol. The goal is to take in all of the nutrients you need for health at the recommended levels and perhaps restrict those things that are not good for the body. Figure 2.2 shows you some good sources of micronutrients in a selection of food at a market.

Fresh onions
Figure 2.2  Good sources of micronutrients (Photo: Dr Basiro Davey)

To know if the diet is balanced and to plan a balanced diet you have to think about two things: the mixture of foods and the amount of food a person eats.

2.8.1  Helping families to have good balanced diet