The South African FBDGs, also called the Guidelines for Healthy Eating promote the consumption of a variety of healthy foods. Most of what we eat should consist of mainly unprocessed or minimally foods from plants, for instance vegetables, fruit, starchy foods (preferably minimally processed) and legumes according to the proportions indicated in the Food Guide (see food guide on resources page). This indicates that nearly 80 per cent of what we eat should be a variety of unprocessed or minimally processed foods from these food groups. Sugar, salt and fat should be used sparingly in food preparation and at the table.
A variety of healthy foods means eating food from more than one ‘food group’ at each meal, i.e. breakfast, lunch and supper as well as eating different healthy options from the same ‘food ‘group’ on different days. Aim to have food from at least four food groups a day.
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit every day
Vegetables and fruit comprise of mainly water and so contribute to your daily intake of fluid. This can help prevent dehydration.
Eating plenty of vegetables and fruit regularly can help prevent chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, some types of cancer, aging related eye diseases and type-2 diabetes. These foods are also high in fibre (roughage), which ensures proper bowel functioning and helps to prevent constipation and related symptoms like bloating.
Vegetables and fruit are not only tasty and refreshing, but also provide colour and texture to meals.
The WHO recommends that you should at least five portions (400 grams) of vegetables and fruit combined per day. Remember to drink lots of clean safe water!
Eat dry beans, peas, lentils and soya regularly
Eating dry beans, peas and lentils regularly, i.e. at least four times per week, can help prevent chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and overweight, as well as improving gut health.
Dry beans and lentils provide a valuable and cost-effective source of protein, some vitamins, plant-based iron and other substances that have anti-cancer properties. They are rich in slowly digested starch and fibre, helping to control blood sugar levels.
They are low in sodium, fat and have no cholesterol.
They can be used instead of meat or added to meat as a meat extender.
They can be used in many dishes, such as salads, soups and stews.
They do not require refrigeration to be stored before being cooked.
They help the environment as they are water-efficient and help to keep the soil fertile and healthy.
Plan and prepare healthy home meals rather than buying ready-to-eat food meals/snacks or eating our frequently
Eating at home provides your family with the opportunity to eat a variety of healthy foods.
Eating healthy home-cooked meals helps avoid being tempted by unhealthy food options in restaurants/canteens/fast food outlets.
It helps to save money because homemade foods, especially for breakfast or lunch, is usually much cheaper than eating at a restaurant or buying processed foods such as snacks and ready-to-eat meals.