Although it is not necessary to balance the proportion of foods from the different food groups in one meal, it is possible to achieve this without too much difficulty. The selection of dishes shown here illustrates how key nutrients can be combined to make nutritious, appealing meals.
Consisting of a variety of fresh vegetables combined with beans and pasta, minestrone is a highly nutritious soup. It supplies protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. A piece of Italian olive bread provides carbohydrates to complete the meal.
Japanese miso soup contains vegetables and soya products in the form of tofu and soya sauce (soya products are believed to have health-giving properties). When served with tuna and rice, the complete meal is well balanced.
Salade nicoise is a substantial French salad. Only a small amount of tuna is necessary as the eggs also provide protein. The potatoes provide carbohydrates, and the vegetables and salad ingredients are rich in valuable vitamins and minerals.
A Chinese stir-fry is an opportunity to include a variety of fresh vitamin-rich vegetables in one meal. Here, they are served with noodles, which provide carbohydrates. The beansprouts provide protein and the sesame seeds are a rich source of essential fats.
Indian vegetable curry is often served with rice and chapati (a flat bread). The vegetables are a source of fibre, vitamins and minerals; the chapati brings carbohydrates to the meal; and the brown rice and side-serving of lentil dhal supply high quality protein and fibre.
The diet eaten in the Mediterranean countries is an excellent model of the World Health Organization’s guidelines for a healthy diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables are an important part of the Mediterranean diet-on average, it includes five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. People in other countries not only eat less fruit and vegetables, but may also prepare them using saturated fats and unhealthy cooking methods – for example, potatoes served in the form of chips.