A balanced and nutritious diet is one that includes all four food groups, in the right amounts. Each food group provides a different range of nutrients, so eating foods from all four food groups ensures that we get all the nutrients we need.
Note, that these are broad guidelines for healthy NZ adults. The exact number of recommended servings will depend on gender, age, body size and activity. Recommendations also change for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Refer to Appendix 3 of the Ministry of Health’s Eating and Activity Guidelines or browse our Healthy Eating by Lifestages area for more info.
Source: Ministry of Health, 2020.
We need to eat a mixture of foods from the four food groups each day. Below are some examples of how we can include foods from each food group in everyday meals
Breakfast: wholegrain cereal topped with seasonal fruit and either milk or yoghurt.
Lunch: tuna salad sandwich, and chopped fruit on the side.
Dinner: beef burritos made up of tortillas, mince, beans, salad and cheese topping.
We also have an ‘extras’ group for foods that are not a necessary part of the diet. These foods include biscuits, cakes, pastry, lollies, chocolate, chips and fats and oils – all foods typically high in fat and/or sugar but very low in other nutrients e.g. fibre, vitamins and minerals.
For more information on each of the food groups, click on the links below:
Ministry of Health. 2020. Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults: Updated 2020. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
Last modified: October 23, 2023