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To maintain good health, about 40 essential nutrients are required in sufficient quantities. Most foods supply more then one nutrient, but no single food provides all the nutrients in their required quantities.
Food may be divided into five groups according to each group's most important nutritional contribution.
Milk and milk products Milk; Cheese; Yoghurt. Promote tooth and bone growth and tissue maintenance. Protein; Carbohydrates; Fat; Ca; Vitamin B complex; Vitamin A. 2 servings 1 serving =
250ml milk, or 250ml natural yoghurt, or 175ml fruit yoghurt, or 30g cheese, or 2 tablespoons cottage cheese.
Meat group and meat substitutes Meat; Fish; Chicken; Eggs; Dry legumes. Promote growth and muscle maintenance. Protein; Fat; Vitamin B complex; Zinc; Iron. 4 servings 1 serving =
30g meat or chicken, or 40g fish, or ½cup dried legumes, or 1 egg.
Fruit and vegetables Dark green, yellow and orange fruit and vegetables; Fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C. Essential for good vision and maintenance of a supple healthy skin.  It promotes wound healing.  It increases the body’s resistance to infections. Carbohydrates; Fibre; Vitamin A; Vitamin C; Iron; Zinc; Magnesium; Folic acid; Calcium. 4 to 6 servings 1 serving =
1 medium fruit, or ½cup fruit salad, or ½cup cooked vegetables, or 200ml fruit juice, or 2 tablespoons dried fruit.
Grains and grain products Bread; Porridge; Cereals; Rice; Potato; Sweet potato; Pasta; Baked products. Provide energy.  Sustain blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates; Protein; Vitamin B Complex; Fibre; Minerals; Iron; Zinc; Folic acid. 6 to 11 servings 1 serving =
1 slice bread; ½ cup porridge/cereal/rice; ½ cup pasta; 1 medium potato; 1/3 cup sweet potato; 3 provitas/whole-wheat biscuits.
Fats and oils Margarine; Butter; Vegetable oil; Cream; Salad dressing. Provide energy.  Carry fat-soluble vitamins.  Supply essential fatty acids. Fat; Fatty acids; Vitamin A; Vitamin D; Vitamin E; Vitamin K. 5 to 7 servings 1 serving =
1 teaspoon margarine, or 1 teaspoon butter/oil, or 1 teaspoon salad dressing, or 2 teaspoons lite margarine, or ¼ avocado pear, or 5 olives, or 1 tablespoon trim mayonnaise, or 1 teaspoon cream.
For a balanced eating pattern the correct quantities should be selected from each group, daily.  This will enable a person to compile a balanced diet according to taste, by choosing from each group the foods he/she prefers, or can afford, while being mindful of the guidelines for healthy eating.
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