Eating is an important part of everyone’s life. Foods are chosen for many reasons, not just for their impact on health but also based on taste, cost and culture. Eating a healthy diet does not mean that the food will not be tasty or enjoyable, but you may have to make changes to the way you are used to eating.
Everyone should aim to eat about three mixed meals a day. A mixed meal means including a variety of foods in a meal. This is especially important for children, as they cannot get all the food they need in only one or two meals. Snacking between meals should consist of foods that supply important nutrients to the body. Snack foods should not replace good mixed meals as they do not supply important nutrients and may be high in sugar, salt and saturated fat.
Healthy eating for school learners is based on the ‘Guidelines for Healthy Eating’ of the Department of Health.
The South African Guidelines for Healthy Eating are messages developed using a method called “food-based dietary guidance”. They are targeted to guide children over the age of 5 years, as well as adults, on healthy eating. They teach people actions that contribute to a healthy eating pattern.
Seven food-based guidelines were developed. These are in support of the Food Based Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines are illustrated on the poster namely:
- Make STARCHY FOODS part of most meals
- Eat plenty of VEGETABLES AND FRUIT every day
- Eat DRY BEANS, SPLIT PEAS, LENTILS AND SOYA regularly
- FISH, CHICKEN, LEAN MEAT OR EGGS could be eaten daily
- Have MILK, MAAS OR YOGHURT every day
- Drink lots of clean, safe WATER
- Use FATS sparingly; choose vegetable oils rather than hard fats
- SUGAR AND SALT and foods and drinks high in sugar and salt are not illustrated on the food guide, but are addressed in the Guidelines for Healthy Eating.