Friday 20 September 2019

Managing quantities is key to success

Siobhan Julian
Siobhan Julian

It is a common misconception that dietitians will tell you what you should NOT eat when in actual fact it is the role of the Dietitian to tell you what you should eat.

Healthy eating is all about getting the correct amount of nutrients - protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

It is all about getting all types of food in the diet with the secret to successful healthy eating being managing the appropriate quantities. The Food Pyramid ( is appropriate to help balance the type and quantities of food for most of the population.

It is important to remember that some people need specialised therapeutic dietary advice (e.g. allergy management, diabetes, coeliac, FODMAP etc) and in these cases a personalised menu plan from a registered dietitian is important.

In the Food Pyramid foods that contain the same type of nutrients are grouped together on each of the shelves of the Food Pyramid. This gives you a choice of different foods from which to choose a healthy diet.

Over the next few weeks I am going to focus on the different shelves of the food pyramid. This week I will focus on the 'Breads, Cereals, Potatoes, Pasta and Rice' shelf.

This group of foods usually play a specialised role in providing fibre, many vitamins including the B group and help manage satiety.

It is important to choose any six or more servings each day for all ages and up to 12 servings if you are very active. Younger, smaller children (5-13 years) need less than older children. Teenage boys, men and older men need more servings than girls or women. Most men need about 8 servings per day and most women need about 6 servings per day.

Wholegrain choices contain fibre to help your digestive system.

Have at least half your servings as wholegrain breads and high fibre breakfast cereals. Try using brown rice and whole wheat pasta.

The actual portion that you eat may be bigger or smaller than the servings listed in the Food Pyramid. For example, a sandwich with 2 slices of bread counts as 2 servings.

Other choices like 1 pitta pocket, 1 tortilla wrap, 1 small bagel, 1 small scone and one small French bread roll count as 2 servings.

1 serving is:

• 1 slice of brown sliced bread or wholegrain soda bread

• 2-3 crackers or crispbreads

• 4 dessertspoons flake type high fibre breakfast cereal, without

sugar, honey or chocolate coating

• 3 dessert spoons dry porridge oats

• 2 breakfast cereal wheat or oat biscuits

• 3 dessert spoons muesli, without sugar or honey coating

• 1 medium or 2 small potatoes,

• 2 dessert spoons of mashed potatoes

• 3 dessert spoons or 1/2 cup boiled pasta, rice, noodles (25g/1 oz


• 1 cup of yam or plantain

Next Week there will be a focus on the 'Fruit and Vegetables' Group.

For further reading log onto or or email Siobhan at

Wexford-based Siobhan Julian is the clinical dietitian manager at Wexford General Hospital.

Wexford People

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