balanced plate image with all food groups on a pie chart plate

Balance is absolutely key. If you can balance your diet right and keep your portion control in check, you can be confident that you’re giving yourself, and your family, a really great start on the path to good health.

You don’t have to be spot-on every day – just try to get your balance right across the week. If you eat meat and fish, as a general guide for main meals you’re looking at at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily (such as salmon, trout or mackerel), then splitting the rest of the week’s main meals between brilliant meat-free plant-based meals, some poultry and a little red meat. An all-vegetarian diet can be perfectly healthy, too.


And super importantly, make sure you drink plenty of waterOn average, our bodies are 50-60% water, and being properly hydrated really is essential to life. 



So, back to the balanced diet – what does it mean in real life? We all need energy – in the form of calories – to move, so that our organs function, and for growth, repair and development.

Of course, everyone is different, so our requirements vary, but a lot of research has gone into energy balance, so these UK guideline figures are a really useful place to start:

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Just remember that what we eat always needs to be considered in relation to gender, age, build, lifestyle and activity levels, so use your common sense and tweak meals according to your family’s needs.


Current guidelines recommend that generally we should consume our energy in the following amounts each day:

  • 20% at breakfast
  • 30% at lunch
  • 30% at dinner
  • 20% for snacks and drinks

This is the framework I’ve worked to in Super Food Family Classics, and it matches the one I used last year in my book Everyday Super Food, too. When I was writing that book, I was also studying for a nutrition diploma and had the privilege of meeting lots of incredible scientists, professors and experts in their field in order to share the most useful and accessible info out there with you, when it comes to health, nutrition and wellbeing. It was all fascinating stuff, and totally informed my new book, so if you want a recap, please check out my top tips on how to live well to recap what the philosophies are. I’ve broken it down into bite-sized nuggets, for you to digest, so you can feed yourself and your loved ones really well.


Extract adapted from Super Food Family Classics by Jamie Oliver, published by Penguin Random House Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2016 Super Food Family Classics). Cover photography by Paul Stuart.

About the author

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver is a world-renowned chef and food campaigner.

Jamie Oliver