following is a basic guide to the balance of foods we should be eating to stay
Starchy foods: Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta
and other starchy foods
foods should make up about one third of what we eat. They are a good source of
energy and provide us with fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins. They are also
low in fat (though be careful how much fat you add when cooking them!). Starchy
foods include rice, cassava, sweet potato, plantain, millet, potatoes, maize
meal (ugali), fufu, banku, gari, chapattis, pasta and bread.
Top tip: Choose wholegrain varieties when
you can (such as wholemeal chapattis, brown rice and wholewheat pasta) because
they provide more fibre.
Fruit and vegetables
to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This food group
includes sweet bananas (but not plantain or green bananas), pumpkin, mango,
avocado, pineapple, papaya, tomatoes, greens (e.g. spinach, callaloo), carrots,
apples, broccoli and many other types of fruits and vegetables. A portion of
fruit or veg is about the amount that fits into the palm of your hand. (see www.5aday.nhs.uk/WhatCounts/PortionSizes.aspx).
To make it easy to get your 5-a-day, try adding extra veg to stews, snacking on
fruit instead of sweet treats and making the most of frozen veg and dried fruit.
Protein: Meat, fish, eggs, beans etc.
to eat three portions of protein foods each day (one at each meal including
breakfast). This could be chicken, mutton, goat, fish, lamb, pork or seafood,
or vegetarian sources of protein such as beans, lentils, eggs and nuts.
Milk and dairy foods
to eat three portions of lower-fat dairy foods a day: cow’s and goat’s milk
(check it’s pasteurised), lower-fat cheeses and low-fat yoghurts. Lower-fat
dairy foods are better for your heart, but you may want to choose full-fat varieties
if you’re trying to gain weight. If you find that dairy products give you a bad
tummy, eat live natural yoghurt, and try hard cheeses such as cheddar, edam and emmental, which
contain very little lactose. If you can afford fresh milk it’s a better choice
than powdered milk or tinned/UHT milk because it contains more vitamins.
Top tip: If you’re not familiar with UK dairy foods,
why not try low-fat soft cheese, cottage cheese, goat’s cheese and ricotta.
These are all low in ‘bad’ saturated fat!
Fats and oils
should only be used in small amounts. Unless you are underweight, try to use
only one teaspoon of oil per person when you are cooking. Try to use less palm
oil, coconut cream and butter (as these are high in saturated fat, which can
give us high cholesterol) and try to cook with rapeseed oil, olive oil and
coconut milk instead.
Sugary foods and drinks
foods contain a lot of extra energy (calories) that most of us don’t need and
they’re bad for our teeth – gum disease is especially common in people with
HIV. Even so-called ‘diet’ drinks are acidic, which is bad for your teeth. Try
to cut back on fizzy drinks, cola and malt drinks, chocolate, biscuits, sweets,
cakes and pastries. Better to eat more slow-release carbohydrates instead such
as rice, sweet potato and wholemeal chapattis, especially if you have diabetes.
and salty foods can lead to high blood pressure, if eaten in large amounts, and
this can increase the possibility of having a stroke. Reduce the amount of salt
you use in cooking (by using more spices, garlic and lemon to add flavour), and
remove the salt shaker from your table. Try to eat less salted fish and meat.