Balanced diet: What should I eat per day?

ZMagazineNutrition Healthy Nutrition

The general recommendation is to eat a balanced diet. But what makes a healthy diet anyway? What and how much can be put on the table? The food pyramid reveals the details.

© iStock / pixelfitWhat makes a balanced diet?

A balanced diet has the goal of supplying our body with all important nutrients. For this, the right ratio between the different foods is crucial. Ideally, three-quarters are plant-based: fruits and vegetables are usually low in calories, but provide numerous vitamins and minerals. The animal portion should be smaller, but still present to cover the need for protein and fat. Carbohydrates may also be included.

The Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE) advises more variety on the plate. This means, for example, not only bananas or apples, but the whole colorful and varied range of fruits and vegetables. In addition, the choice can be sustainable in order to protect the environment and ultimately the health of us humans. The motto is therefore “regional and seasonal”: food that comes from farmers in the region and does not have to be imported protects the climate and often even tastes better. What services does the AOK offer for nutritional advice?

AOK’s services vary from region to region. By entering your postal code, we can determine the AOK responsible for you and display suitable services for your AOK. A Plan for a Balanced Diet: The Food Pyramid

In the food pyramid, the BZfE groups food into eight groups and on six levels. Symbols and traffic light colours make it easier for users to find their way around: it is clear at a glance which foods belong frequently and which less frequently in a balanced diet. Each building block also stands for a portion that anyone can measure with their own hand.

© BLEDhe food pyramidGreen: Like to incorporate often into the menuYellow: Enjoyment is allowed, but moderate consumption is recommendedRed: Rarely consumed

Beverages form the broad base, followed by plant-based foods at levels two and three. These three levels are rated green. Animal foods such as milk, meat, fish or eggs are at level four (yellow), while oils and fats as well as sweets, snacks and nibbles are at level five and six (red). Related articles Thelevels of the food pyramid in detailLevel 1: Beverages

Drinks are the basis with six Health servings – drink around 1.5 liters a day, which corresponds to about six full glasses. Water and unsweetened herbal or fruit teas are best suited here. Coffee (important: without milk and sugar), black or green tea are included and are allowed.

Cola or sodas, on the other hand, have too high a sugar and calorie content and are therefore considered sweets. Milk and cocoa also do not fall into the “beverages” category. Level 2: Vegetables, salad and fruit

Three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit per day make a good mix for a balanced diet – with lots of healthy nutrients. You can also swap a serving of fruit for a handful of nuts and also schedule legumes regularly. Level 3: Cereals, bread and side dishes

Carbohydrates provide our body with energy. That’s why four servings of cereal products (bread, potatoes, rice or pasta) a day complement the healthy eating plan. When it comes to cereals, it is best to use whole grains: They provide important fibre.Level 4: Milk and dairy products

In addition, incorporate three servings of milk or dairy products into your diet. They contain calcium, B vitamins and protein, which is very important for the body.

Anyone who gets digestive problems due to lactose does not have to do without dairy products: Firstly, there are now entire supermarket shelves full of lactose-free products, and secondly, some long-matured cheeses such as Gouda, mozzarella or Camembert naturally contain little lactose.Level 5: Oils and fats

Our body cannot produce the so-called essential fatty acids itself, but must absorb them with food. As so often in nutrition, it is also true here that it makes the quantity. This means that one serving corresponds to one tablespoon of oil or two tablespoons of spreadable fat and/or butter. If possible, consume only two servings per day. Vegetable oils, such as olive, sunflower or rapeseed oils, are rich in valuable fatty acids.Level 6: Extras

At the top of the food pyramid are the foods that taste particularly good, but contain a lot of sugar, salt and/or fat and only a few nutrients. Try to snack on the unhealthy extras as rarely as possible. A maximum of one serving a day is fine. These include chocolate and gummy bears, cakes, biscuits, sweet spreads, savoury snacks, sugary soft drinks, but also alcoholic beverages. What the DGE says

The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) has developed a three-dimensional food pyramid that goes one step further:

In addition to the quantities, qualitative aspects of nutrition are also included here. For this purpose, the DGE has established 10 rules for a wholesome diet.