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Planning a balanced diet

What is a balanced diet?

In the UK, our healthy eating model is called the Eatwell Guide. The guide has been developed scientifically, using modelling to look at the balance of different foods and drinks that provides the nutrients the body needs in the recommended amounts.


If your goal is to consistently eat a healthy, balanced diet then planning can play a huge part in helping you achieve it. 


There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, you have to find the right approach for you and your family, but we’ve outlined two of our planning resources below designed to help you get started.


We know that a lot of people don't currently adhere to the government's healthy eating guidance but we also know making dietary changes can be hard. To eat differently, most people need to shop differently and that's why planning can be helpful.


Zoe Hill, Nutrition Scientist, British Nutrition Foundation

The 7-day meal plan:

This meal plan shows one way of meeting the UK fibre and free sugar recommendations, as well other UK food and nutrient based dietary guidelines, including ideas for you to still have a little bit of what you fancy - in moderation.

Wholegrain and higher fibre choices at mealtimes and for snacks

Around eight portions of fruit and vegetables daily

Pulses, nuts and seeds

Lean red meat and limited amounts of processed meats within dietary recommendations

Very few foods high in saturated fat and sugar (either as part of meals or as snacks)

Reduced salt options of products such as soy sauce, baked beans and stock cubes

Healthier fats (such as rapeseed, olive or sunflower oil) for cooking and dressings

Lower fat dairy products

Try the British Nutrition Foundation's 7 day meal plan

'Try, Swap, Change'

Our 'Try, Swap, Change' planner is a personalisable resource to help you TRY something new, SWAP your old habits for better ones and CHANGE your lifestyle.

Try, Swap, Change

The weekly planner offers a set of 15 easy to follow suggestions to choose to help you to develop a healthier lifestyle.

Each week you can select three or more of the 15 suggested challenges that work for you

There's a range of challenges to choose from, which include tasks like: finding new ways to be active; including more fish in your diet; and cutting out sugary drinks. 


All colour-coded to represent different areas of your diet and lifestyle:

  • Green - focus on fruit and vegetables 
  • Yellow - happy wholegrains 
  • Red - getting active
  • Orange - helpful habits
  • Blue - pick your protein
  • Pink - think lower ’s‘ – salt, sugar and saturated fat

The planner can be downloaded as many times as you like, so that a healthier lifestyle can become a long-term habit. The planner also encourages you to reflect on how it has gone – which challenges you found easier or more difficult and which you could maintain. 

Download the Try, Swap, Change planner.

A personalisable resource to help you TRY something new, SWAP your old habits for better ones and CHANGE your lifestyle.

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Please note that advice provided on our website about nutrition and health is general in nature. We do not provide any individualised advice on prevention, treatment and management for patients or their family members.