Daily Food Guide for Adults

Daily Food Guide for Adults

Author -  Emily Hope

The Ministry of Health have developed guidelines on healthy eating for adults. In this article, we give you examples of what you need to eat each day to meet your nutrient needs.

As adults, we are often so busy with so many things on the go that we forget about what we should be eating each day. The bounty of fast food and takeaways in our communities makes eating right even harder. But the great thing is that a healthy balanced diet will put the right fuel into your body for energy. And that means it will actually help you achieve all those things you need to do each day!

The Ministry of Health has developed a set of healthy eating guidelines for adults(1). Here are some practical tips to help you achieve their recommendations:

Fruit & Vegetables   

Choose at least 2 serves of fruit & 3 serves of vegetables each day
1 serve = 1 medium sized fruit or vegetable, ½ cup canned or cooked fruit or vegetables, ½ cup salad

  • Top breakfast cereal with ½ cup of canned, fresh or stewed fruit.
  • Have a piece of fruit with your lunch each day.                                                                                                  
  • Make vegetables sticks from carrot, celery & capsicum to have with dip as a pre-dinner snack.
  • Grate raw carrot, pumpkin, courgette or beetroot into mince dishes, e.g. bolognaise.
  • Always aim to fill half of your dinner plate with vegetables.

Breads & Cereals

Choose at least 6 serves each day
1 serve = 1 cup cereal, 1 slice bread, 1 cup cooked rice or pasta, 1 bread roll, ½ cup porridge

  • Have 1 cup of cereal or ½ cup of porridge with fruit and yoghurt for brekkie.
  • Take grainy bread topped with canned tuna & salad to work for lunch.
  • Fill ¼ of your dinner plate with wholegrain bread, rice or pasta at dinner time.                                                     
  • Spread cottage cheese or hummus on 2-3 grainy crackers as a snack.
  • Make your own bran & apple muffins – they’re perfect when you’re on the go

Lean meats, chicken, seafood, eggs, legumes

Choose at least 1 serve each day
1 serve = ¾ cup canned beans, mince or casserole, 2 slices meat, 1 egg, 100g steak, 1 fillet fish

  • Make home-made hummus with canned chickpeas, garlic, lemon and olive oil.
  • Try poached eggs on toast for breakfast – add vegetables with grilled mushrooms & tomatoes.
  • Bake fresh fish fillets in individual foil parcels topped with fresh herbs, slices of lemon and a drizzle of oil.                                
  • Make a stir-fry with lean meat and heaps of vegetables, and serve with rice.

Milk & Milk Products

Choose at least 2 servings each day
1 serve = 1 glass milk, 1 pottle yoghurt or 2 slices cheese

  • Have a pottle of yoghurt as a snack in between meals.
  • Grate cheese over pasta or potato dishes to add extra flavour and calcium.
  • Make a smoothie for breakfast or as a snack by blending yoghurt, milk and fruit.                                                                  
  • Choose reduced-fat milk for more calcium & protein.

Sample day that ticks the boxes

  • Breakfast: ½ cup natural muesli, 1 banana, 1 cup milk
  • Snack: 1 yoghurt, 1 bran & apple muffin
  • Lunch: Chicken and salad wholegrain sandwich, 1 apple
  • Snack: 2 grainy crackers & cheese
  • Dinner: Beef stir-fry with rice and veggies
  • Supper: 1 piece of carrot cake

(1) Ministry of Health. Eating for Healthy Adults. 2003. Wellington, New Zealand