Balance in the 5 Food Groups


We were often told to incorporate a good serving of a variety of foods in our diet every day. What does that really mean to you? What food? What is a good balance of different food types? How much is a serving anyway? Surely a serving for me and a serving for my six-year-old is going to be different, I totally feel you. It’s all pretty confusing and there’s so much information to take in. However, getting yourself well informed of your available dietary choices and required daily intake will positively impact your health, and that of your family in return. On the other hand, when not properly managed, poor dietary choices could potentially lead to nutrient deficiency and many secondary issues that result from poor health.

Therefore, in the next series of blogs, I’m going to break this information down into simple consumable information you will find valuable and useful. Let’s start with the discussion to those first two questions – what foods are wise choices and how much should you take in a day.

The 5 food groups

Let’s not get lost in the web on the varied information, recommendations on foods you should avoid because they’ve suddenly been discovered to be bad for you after you’ve been told for years that they were good. Keeping it simple and sustainable, eating a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups is a start in creating a healthy eating plan.

We are more than familiar with this food pyramid and to put it simply, the 5 food groups are:

  • Vegetables and legumes, and fruits
  • Grains
  • Lean meat, fish, egg, nuts and seeds
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives
  • Healthy fats

Foods are grouped according to their provision of certain types of nutrients in a balanced diet. Eating a varied diet from these food groups helps your body to obtain maximum nutrition for growth, development and general wellbeing. For example, the foundation layer of plant-based food should make up the largest portion of our daily food intake because plant foods are our main source of carbohydrates and fibre, and they contain a wide variety of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants which are essential for the normal functioning of our body systems.

Do I need to have food from every food group at every meal?

You probably don’t, but you do try to balance it out over the day. It is also important to vary the foods you eat within each group as each food item has its own value in terms of nutritional goodness. For example, eating orange foods such as carrots and pumpkin gives you much more vitamin A than eating the same portion of potatoes, which are in the same food group. Eat the rainbow, vary your plate by colour and you will be sure that you are giving your body an array of vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals to benefit various areas of your health.

Oh, I see fats in the food pyramid?

Healthy fats and oils are very important for your body. They supply energy and help your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats are also the structural building blocks of our body, and insulates and protects our organs. Fats are also essential for neuro health, learning and development. However, choose healthy unsaturated fats and limit your intake of “bad” fats such as trans-fat and saturated fats which can raise undesirable LDL cholesterol and increase your risk of heart diseases and stroke.

My favourite crisps and chocolates aren’t featured. Do I have to go without?

All things in moderation are a good gauge to go from here. We believe in eating well and eating happy. Excessively limiting, restricting and depriving yourself of your favourite foods might or might not make you unhappy. If doing so affects your mental and emotional health, then I would say stop, but do not give up. By all means, enjoy your favourite snacks but indulge in moderation and once in a blue moon. The occasional treat is not going to tip the scales.

Shane’s Kitchen strives to bring everyone delicious and healthy home-cooked food. We try as much as we can to bring you a balanced yet satisfying meals with the freshest ingredients, we can lay our hands on. From one mum’s kitchen to another, we bring you healthy home-cooked food delivery service in Singapore so you will not have to fret over the next meal for you, your little one, and everyone else in your family.