Tips for a balanced diet

A balanced diet strengthens the body's immune system, and snacking is also permitted. Our tips help you to find the right balance. Find out what you should remember and test your eating habits.

A balanced diet is essential to your well-being and rather than restricting or cutting out entire food groups, focuses on finding the right ratio of the right combination of foods. Your kitchen should be stocked with fruit, vegetables, salads and much more.

The step-by-step guide to a balanced diet

From the right breakfast to the perfect lunch and a balanced dinner, the Helsana Coach app offers you numerous tips on how to maintain a balanced diet. With the help of the nutrition programme, you can gradually optimise your diet. Download the Helsana Coach now.

Further info  on the Helsana Coach app

We have compiled a list of top tips for a balanced diet:

Tips for a balanced diet

Fruit and vegetables – 5 servings in different colours every day

Not only do they contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fibres and water, they are also packed with nutrients. What's more, they help keep you full for longer. The benefits of a daily dose are manifold:

  • Three servings of vegetables as a side, salad or soup. One serving is at least 120 g, i.e. a handful.
  • plus two servings of fruit
  • If you wish, you can replace one serving with 200 ml unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice.
Grains, potatoes and legumes – 3 times a day

Wholemeal products are rich in dietary fibres, vitamins, minerals and secondary phytochemicals. They are highly satisfying, regulate digestion and promote good health. Therefore, when choosing grains, be sure to opt for wholemeal varieties such as 125 g wholemeal bread, 100 g legumes (gross weight) and 75 g brown rice.

Dairy products and protein – 3 servings per day

Protein is an important nutrient for the body, for example for our muscles and our immune system. Proteins keep you full for longer:

  • For example, 150–200 g yogurt or quark, 200 ml milk and 40–50 g cheese per day.
  • 2–3 servings (100–120 g per serving) meat per week is enough. Try to replace meat with fish from sustainable fisheries. If you don't eat meat or fish, use other sources of protein such as eggs, tofu or legumes.
Oil, fat and nuts – in moderation

Fatty foods should be consumed in moderation. Fat contains twice as much energy (calories) as carbohydrates or proteins. Since they are important for our body, however, we have to obtain them through nutrition. Pay attention to the quality of the fat and opt for vegetable oils:

  • 2–3 tablespoons (20–30 g) vegetable oil per day, at least half in the form of canola oil.
  • One serving (20–30 g) raw nuts, seeds or kernels per day.
  • Use butter, margarine and cream sparingly (approx. 1 tbsp = 10 g per day).
Sweets, salty snacks and alcohol – in moderation with enjoyment

Sweets, snacks and sugary drinks (e.g. soft drinks, ice tea, energy drinks) are allowed but should be enjoyed in moderation. Sugar provides you with empty calories rather than key nutrients. Too much sugar can cause tooth decay and food cravings. One serving is equivalent for example to a row of chocolate.
You don't need to give up salty snacks either. These, too, can be enjoyed in moderation. One serving is equivalent to about a handful of salty snacks. Also be sure to use salt sparingly when seasoning your meals.
Alcoholic beverages are highly calorific and should be the exception rather than the norm. Drink alcohol in moderation and preferably only with a meal.

Beverages – many, spread out over the day

Drink 1–2 litres of fluids a day, preferably in the form of unsweetened drinks (water, fruit tea, herbal tea).

10 simple rules for a healthy diet

These 10 universal dietary recommendations will help you to balance your food and beverage choices:

  1. Enjoy a wide variety of food: the more varied, the better
  2. Fruit and vegetables: 5 times a day – 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables
  3. Choose wholemeal products: they are richer in nutrients, quickly satisfying and keep you full for longer
  4. Add protein-rich foods to your diet: besides protein, they also provide minerals such as calcium and iron
  5. Use healthy fats: opt for vegetable fats
  6. Use sugar and salt sparingly: sweeten with fruit and season with herbs
  7. Drink water: ideally, 1–2 litres throughout the day
  8. Carefully prepare food: simmer and reduce boiling time
  9. Pay attention to what you're eating and savour the flavour: be mindful of what you're eating and take the time to enjoy it
  10. Watch your weight and get plenty of exercise: ideally, 2.5 hours of medium-intensity or 1.25 hours of high-intensity exercise per week, spread over several days.

Leave out unnecessary snacks between meals and listen to your body: only eat when you're hungry and stop when you've had enough. Eat slowly, your body needs time to notice that it's had enough.

A balanced diet should include only moderate servings of fat- or sugar-laden sauces, sweets and processed meat and sausages. These have a high energy content and unnecessary calories. Choose fresh and seasonal products which are healthy and rich in vitamins.

Test your eating habits

How balanced is your diet? The test identifies your eating habits and shows where and how you can improve your diet.

Take the test

The test is only available in German and French.

Other online tests

You can take a number of tests to check your diet, caloric requirements, body mass index or risk for diabetes on the website of the Swiss Society for Nutrition (SGE).


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