Let us call you

Food groups and easy swaps

Swap Well to Eat well Food Groups

To be at our best we all need a balance of different foods. Eating a variety of things from the main food groups will make sure you eat a balanced diet and give you enough energy.

A third of the food we eat each day should be fruit and veg. Just over a third should be starchy food like wholewheat pasta, brown rice or potatoes.

The rest should be a good balance of calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and dairy-free alternatives, and protein foods, such as beans, lentils, lean meat, fish, nuts, seeds, eggs, and meat free alternatives. Only a small amount of fat like oils should be used for cooking.

Small changes all add up to a big difference. Making some simple swaps can help you eat well, stay fuller for longer, and boost your energy. Whether you’re at home, out and about, making packed lunches or family dinners – making a swap is easy!

Click here to download this information as a toolkit you can keep


Swap Well to Eat Well - Information Pack

Swap Well to Eat Well – Information Pack

Combination foods

Some of the foods we eat are a mixture of the main food groups. For example, pasta dishes have pasta which is a carbohydrate and provides us with energy. They also have a sauce which might contain protein and vegetables. Try to check the ingredients in things like sauces to keep an eye out for how much sugar, fat and salt they contain

Mighty wholegrains!

Wholegrain food is packed with more fibre and nutrients than white or refined starchy food. Our bodies digest it more slowly, so it makes us feel fuller for longer.

Here are a few of our favourite swaps to help you get started:


  • Swap sugar-coated cereal for wholegrain cereal like shredded wheat or porridge.
  • Swap whole milk for semi-skimmed or skimmed milk.
  • Swap plain flour for wholemeal flour if you’re making rotis or chapattis.


  • Swap cake for a slice of malt loaf
  • Swap white bread, bagels and pittas for wholegrain versions
  • Swap sugary fizzy drinks for water


  • Swap the frying pan for your grill when cooking meat
  • Swap cream in sauces for a low-fat crème fraiche, low fat cheese, or choose a tomato-based sauce
  • Swap ghee or butter for vegetable or olive oil – you only need to use small amounts
Swap Well to Eat Well Guides

Eatwell Guide – English Foods

The Eatwell Guide shows the proportions of the main food groups that form a healthy, balanced diet

Click here to see a larger image
Swap Well to Eat Well - African & Caribbean Eatwell Guide

Eatwell Guide – African and Caribbean Foods


Click here to see a larger image
Swap Well to Eat Well - South Asian Eatwell Guide

Eatwell Guide – South Asian Foods

Click here to see a larger image

Related Articles