Sport Nutrition Education No. II - Guidelines to a Healthful Diet
The Five Food Groups
|Food Group||Functions and Characteristics|
|1. Breads and Cereals
(rice, noodle, pasta, bread, biscuit, cereal)
(all fresh, frozen and canned vegetables)
(all fresh, frozen, canned fruits and fruit juices)
|4. Meat and Alternates
(beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, egg, dried beans, tofu etc.)
|5. Milk and Dairy
Products (fresh milk, powdered milk, UHT packaged milk, yogurt, cheese etc.)
Each food group provides unique nutrients and serves different functions in the body. To achieve nutritional balance, one must eat a variety of foods. A diet which is limited to a few foods will lead to nutritional deficiency.
Typical Hong Kong Chinese Eating Habit Is Not Desirable
- Meats as main food item at meals, but very little rice.
- Use too much oil in cooking e.g. pan-frying, deep fat frying, and use lots of seasoning.
- Frequently eat junk food, desserts, soft drinks, instant noodles, and preserved foods like luncheon meat, ham, sausage.
- Eat little vegetables, fruits and milk products.
- Eat and work at the same time, and eat out often.
The Proper Way of Eating Is As Follows
Healthy Eating Pyramid
Other countries (like USA, UK and Australia) also use the food pyramid to promote healthful eating. The pyramid consists of four levels. Each food group has its own area and the size of each is different. Total food intake should be proportional to the area each group occupies in the pyramid. For example, the fats, salt and sugar group is on the top of the pyramid, and occupies the smallest area. Therefore, they should be used sparingly. On the other hand, the breads and cereals group is at the bottom and occupies the largest area. Therefore, these foods should be the foundation of our diets. Carbohydrates should provide 60 - 70 % of total energy intake in an athlete's diet. In order to reach this recommendation, athletes must eat more bread and cereal products, fruits, milk and root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, corns etc.
No single food provides all the nutrients needed and no food is absolutely not allowed. However, there are foods which are better choices and some which are less desirable. The following charts provide recommendation on food choices.
|Food Group||Better Choices||Eat less Often|
|Beverages||low fat milk, skimmed milk, soymilk, calcium fortified soy milk, fresh fruit juice, yogurt drinks, sports drinks, water, balanced nutrition drinks (e.g. Ensure)||soft drinks, coffee, tea, sweetened juices, whole milk, milkshake|
|Food Group||Better Choices||Eat less Often|
|Breads and Cereals||rice, noodles, breads, oatmeal, congee,breakfast cereals, biscuits, whole wheat bread, steamed buns etc.||Instant noodles, yee mein, cookies, fried donuts, croissant, French toast, Chinese sweet buns with filling, etc.|
|Vegetable||all fresh vegetables||potato chips, French fries, salted and preserved vegetables|
|Fruits||all fresh fruits||coconut milk, avocados; sweetened and preserved fruits|
|Meats, Beans and Bean Products||all fresh or frozen lean meats: chicken, pork, beef, lamb, fish beans : red/mung beans, lima beans, kidney beans, lentils, soybeans etc; tofu, dehydrated tofu||fatty meats, poultry skin, preserved meats like corned beef, luncheon meat, beef jerky, salted preserved fish, sausage, Chinese BBQ meats, eggs|
|Note : Eat no more than 3 egg yolks per week, but egg white is not included in this limit.|
|Milk and Dairy Products||low fat/skimmed milk, low fat evaporated milk, yogurt, low fat cheese||full cream milk, regular evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, cheese, ice cream|
|Note: Soybean milk contains little calcium, therefore, it cannot be used to substitute milk. If you have lactose intolerance (symptoms include stomachache and diarrhoea after drinking milk), you may eat other calcium-rich foods like: bones of canned fish, tofu (except packaged silken tofu), noodlefish, seafood (shrimp, oysters, scallops, sea cucumber), Chinese kale, broccoli, pak choi, soy milk fortified with calcium.|
Follow these Eating Guidelines for Good Health
- Eat a variety of foods.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and cereal products.
- Reduce your use of salted, preserved or sugary foods.
- If you drink alcohol, do so moderately.
- Drink enough fluids daily.
Food provides energy, eating wisely can help in bringing out your potential. American Olympic Gymnastics Gold Medallist, Trent Dimas said, "Successful athletes must be healthy, because they would not miss training due to sickness, are often energetic and don't get tired easily."
The above information is provided by the Sport Nutrition Unit of the Athlete and Scientific Services Division. All information is for reference only.
Reproduction of materials is welcome with prior permission. Acknowledgements are required.
For enquiry, please contact:
Sports Science Department. Tel: 2681 6277
Hong Kong Sports Institute Limited
Hong Kong Sports Institute, 25 Yuen Wo Road,
Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2681 6888 Fax: (852) 2681 6330