The eatwell plate is a policy tool that defines the Government’s recommendations on healthy diets. It makes healthy eating easier to understand by giving a visual representation of the types and proportions of foods needed for a healthy and well balanced diet.
- Who is the eatwell plate for?
- Why use the eatwell plate as the model for healthy eating?
- Download the eatwell plate resources
- Guidelines for use and reproduction
- Plate specifics
The eatwell plate is based on the five food groups:
- Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
- Fruit and vegetables
- Milk and dairy foods
- Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
- Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar
The eatwell plate encourages the choice of different foods from the first four groups every day, to help ensure the population obtains a wide range of nutrients needed to remain healthy.
Choosing a variety of foods from within each group will add to the range of nutrients consumed. Foods in the fifth group – foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar are not essential to a healthy diet.
Who is the eatwell plate for?
The eatwell plate is appropriate advice for most people including people of all ethnic origins and people who are of a healthy weight or overweight. It is also suitable for vegetarians.
However, it does not apply to children under two years of age because they have different needs. Between the ages of two and five, children should gradually move to eating the same foods as the rest of the family, in the proportions shown on the eatwell plate. Please see the links below for advice for under-twos.
People under medical supervision or with special dietary needs might need to check with their GP, or a registered dietitian, to be clear about whether or not the eatwell plate is suitable for them.
Why use the eatwell plate as the model for healthy eating?
The eatwell plate is a visual representation of how different foods contribute towards a healthy balanced diet. The plate model has been tested extensively with consumers and health professionals.
The size of the segments for each of the food groups is consistent with Government recommendations for a diet that would provide all the nutrients required for a healthy adult or child (over the age of five).
The eatwell plate is not meant to represent the balance required in any one specific meal or over a particular timescale – rather it represents the overall balance of a healthy diet.
In 2010, the eatwell plate won a Plain English award, awarded by the Plain English Campaign
Download the eatwell plate resources
The following are available to download as PDFs:
- Your guide to the eatwell plate booklet pdf
- The eatwell plate A3 poster pdf
Guidelines for use and reproduction
The Department of Health encourages organisations and individuals to use the eatwell plate to help ensure everyone receives consistent messages about the balance of foods in a healthy diet.
When you use the plate, please do not change it. It is available as a jpeg. See ‘Re-use of the eatwell plate’ below.
Please include the supporting text – the eatwell plate tips (see point 3 below) – and if space permits, please use the ‘Additional supporting healthy eating messages’ as detailed below.
Using the eatwell plate
- The eatwell plate should be used appropriately within the context of Government healthy eating messaging as outlined in this guidance. The eatwell plate and/or the DH name or logo should not be used as a form of endorsement for a product(s) and/or organisation.
- Accurate eatwell plate title, food group proportions, headings, colours and healthy eating messages should be used as provided below in ‘Plate specifics’. You can download a jpeg of the visual – please see ‘Re-use of the eatwell plate’ below.
- Include the following eatwell plate tips to support the plate visual:
The eatwell plate shows how much of what you eat should come from each food group. This includes everything you eat during the day, including snacks.
So, try to eat:
- plenty of fruit and vegetables
- plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods – choose wholegrain varieties whenever you can
- some milk and dairy foods
- some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
- just a small amount of foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar
- Note that the eatwell plate does not include references to frequency of serving and ‘recommended’ portion sizes, other than in relation to fruit and vegetables – at least five portions of a variety a day – or fish – eat two portions a week, one of which should be oily. This is consistent with Government advice and is in accordance with the available evidence. The eatwell plate is intended as a tool suitable for use with most adults, and therefore it would be misleading to include specific frequency or proportion advice when people have individual requirements. However, registered dietitians, who work with individuals, should still tailor their advice in consultations based upon the individual’s current diet and food preferences.
- In addition to use of the eatwell plate tips above and the supporting healthy eating messages given below, please consider use of wider Government healthy eating messages as found in the eight tips for eating well. The link to the 8 tips is below.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements are not a replacement for good eating habits. Most people can get all the nutrients their body needs by choosing a variety of foods, in the proportions shown, from the main four food groups in the eatwell plate. Some people need certain supplements, for which there are Government recommendations. With the exception of these, vitamin and mineral supplements should not be referred to in conjunction with the eatwell plate.
See link below to vital vitamins on NHS Choices for more information:
- Much of the food people eat is in the form of dishes or meals with more than one kind of food in them. For example, pizzas, casseroles, pies, lasagne, spaghetti bolognese and sandwiches are all made with foods from more than one of the five food groups. These are often called ‘combination’ or ‘composite’ foods. To make healthy choices, people will need to identify the main food items or ingredients in combination foods and think about how these fit with the proportions shown in the eatwell plate.
Title: The eatwell plate
Subheading:Use the eatwell plate to help you get the balance right.It shows how much of what you eat should come from each food group.
Split into five segments to represent the five food groups as follows:
- Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods 33%
- Fruit and vegetables 33%
- Milk and dairy foods 15%
- Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein 12%
- Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar 8%
This adds up to 101% due to rounding up.
Segment proportions should remain as specified and in the positions illustrated on the visual.
Percentages of colours used for the title and edges of each of the five sections are as follows:
Re-use of the eatwell plate
The eatwell plate image is subject to Crown copyright protection, which is covered by an Open Government Licence. You may use and re-use the eatwell plate image, and surrounding text, free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence.
To view this licence, please visit the Office of Public Sector Information’s website
The eatwell plate must be acknowledged as Crown copyright and the following statement included to identify the source: Department of Health in association with the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government and the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland.
Any enquiries regarding the use and reuse of this resource should be sent vai email to the Office of Public Sector Information.
or write to:
Office of Public Sector Information
Information Policy Team
The National Archives
London TW9 4DU
Additional supporting healthy eating messages
Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
Eat plenty, choose wholegrain varieties when you can
Fruit and vegetables
Eat plenty, at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day.
Milk and dairy foods
Eat some, choose lower fat alternatives whenever possible or eat higher fat versions infrequently or in smaller amounts.
Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
Eat some, choose lower fat alternatives whenever possible or eat higher fat versions infrequently or in smaller amounts. Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including a portion of oily fish.
Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar
Eat just a small amount.
Try to choose options that are lower in salt when you can. Adults should have no more than 6 grams of salt a day.
The Department of Health welcomes the opportunity to discuss any aspects of the above or provide advice on your resource/publication. Please email any enquiries to email@example.com