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Read how a balanced meal helps you to stay well-nourished.
No single food can provide all the nutrients that your body needs. That is why you need to eat a wide variety of foods in the right amounts to meet your daily nutritional needs. But eating healthier, balanced meals does not have to be complicated.
My Healthy Plate is an easy-to-understand visual guide, designed by the Health Promotion Board. It helps you adopt healthier eating habits, which in turn can help you better manage your weight and ward off chronic diseases.
By following My Healthy Plate, you can see what a healthier, balanced meal may look like. Quarter, Quarter, Half is an easy way to remember the right proportions of each food group in a well-balanced meal. Here’s how:
• Fill Quarter plate with wholegrains.
• Fill Quarter plate with good sources of protein.
• Fill Half plate with fruit and vegetables.
If you are unable to find a meal that fits the Quarter, Quarter, Half proportions, you can make up for it in your next meal.
Keep reading on to learn more or download the My Healthy Plate Factsheet for easy reference.
This video was recorded in line with Safe Management Measures during Phase 3.
Start your day with a balanced breakfast and share this catchy tune with your friends and family. Download them here for sharing via WhatsApp or Telegram:
• Morning greeting video (mp4)
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Wholegrains are rich in nutrients because they are not over-processed and still keep their original form.
Refined grains such as white rice and white bread have been processed which results in the loss of valuable nutrients.
What do wholegrains provide?
Wholegrains are filled with vitamins B and E, minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium, phytochemicals and dietary fibre. Click here for more information about wholegrains.
What are the benefits of eating wholegrains?
Eating wholegrains can help you with weight management by keeping you feeling full for longer, which helps minimise your urge to overeat. Having wholegrains can also help lower your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and certain cancers in the long run.
2 slices ofwholemeal bread (60g)
⅔ bowl* wholegrain noodles, beehoon or spaghetti (100g)
4 plain wholemeal crackers (40g)
½ bowl* brown or red rice (100g)
2 wholemeal chapatis (60g)
⅔ bowl* of uncooked oatmeal (50g)
*1 rice bowl
A Quarter plate of wholegrains is about 2 servings of carbohydrates. Having a Quarter plate of wholegrains at each meal will meet the daily recommended intake of 5 to 7 servings of carbohydrates.
Add wholegrains gradually
Start small – replace half of your white rice with brown rice; or simply aim to incorporate wholegrains into your meal once a week for a start, and slowly work your way up.
Try different types of wholegrains
There is more to wholegrains than just brown rice and wholemeal bread. Try oats, black glutinous rice, wholegrain noodles, whole-wheat pasta, buckwheat soba, barley, millet and quinoa too! Once you get accustomed to the subtle nutty taste of wholegrains, you will appreciate how wholegrains can add interesting textures to your meals or dishes!
Keep a lookout for wholegrain options
Look out for food products with the “Higher in Wholegrains” Healthier Choice Symbol when you do your grocery shopping. Keep your eyes peeled for eateries and food stalls with the “Wholegrain options available here” decal as they provide items like brown rice, brown rice beehoon or wholegrain chapati.
Poultry, red meat, fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese are some examples of protein. Plant-based protein such as soy milk, tofu, tempeh, nuts, beans and legumes are good protein sources too.
What does protein provide?
Protein sources are packed with vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin B and zinc. Fish also provide beneficial fats like Omega-3 fatty acids.
What are the benefits of eating protein?
Protein is the building block of almost everything in your body. It helps to build and repair body tissues and regulate bodily functions. That’s why you need protein in your diet to help keep your muscles, bones, organs, skin and nails healthy.
1 palm-sized piece of meat, fish or poultry (90g)
2 cups* of reduced-fat milk (500ml)
2 small blocks of soft beancurd (170g)
5 medium prawns (90g)
¾ cups* of cooked pulses (peas, beans, lentils) (120g)
3 eggs (150g)
A Quarter plate of meat and others is about 1 serving of protein. Having a Quarter plate of protein at each meal will meet the daily recommended intake of 2 to 3 servings of protein.
Seniors aged 50 and above should aim for 3 servings of protein daily to show down the loss of muscle mass and muscle function.
Choose lean over fatty meat
Fatty meat and lard are high in saturated fat. Too much saturated fat can cause cholesterol to build up in your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Remove visible fats in meats to cut down your intake of saturated fats.
Choose fresh over processed meat
Do avoid or limit intake of preserved or processed meats like luncheon meat and sausages, as they are low in protein and high in saturated fats and sodium. Having processed meats can increase your risk of heart disease or kidney disease.
Have a mix of animal-based and plant-based proteins
Have a mix of protein from whole, fresh foods. They are good sources of nutrients such as iodine, iron, zinc and vitamin B, and have a healthy fat content.
Choose protein-rich foods which are high in calcium too
Calcium strengthens bones and teeth, and reduces risk of osteoporosis. Try milk, yoghurt, cheese, tofu, calcium-enriched soy milk and sardines which are rich in protein and calcium.
Choose low-fat or non-fat over full fat dairy products
Low-fat or non-fat dairy products provide protein and calcium without the extra fat and calories, which could help you to maintain a healthy weight.
Fruit and vegetables not only add beautiful colours, interesting textures and delicious flavours to our meals, they also provide unique nutrients and health benefits.
What do fruit and vegetables provide?
Fruit and vegetables are naturally low in calories, fat and sodium. They are also rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.
What are the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables?
A diet rich in fruit and vegetables helps protect you against many diseases, e.g. heart diseases, stroke and certain cancers. The high water and fibre content helps to add volume and bulk to your meals to fill you up and minimises any urges to overeat.
Fruit (1 serving size)
1 small apple, orange, pear or mango (130g)
1 wedge of papaya, pineapple or watermelon (130g)
10 grapes/longans (50g)
1 medium banana
¼ cup* of dried fruit (40g)
Vegetables (1 serving size)
¼ round plate+ of cooked vegetables
150g raw leafy vegetables
100g raw non-leafy vegetables
¾ cup* of cooked leafy vegetables (100g)
¾ cup* non-leafy vegetables (100g)
All weights listed are for edible portions only.
+10 inch plate
A Half plate of fruit and vegetables is about 2 servings, i.e. 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of vegetables. Having a Half plate of fruit and vegetables at each meal will meet the daily recommended intake of at least 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables.
Eat a variety of different colors
The different colour pigments in fruit and vegetables offer unique health benefits over and above the common nutrients. That’s why it’s important to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables for the maximum health benefits.
End your meal with fresh or frozen fruit
Enjoy fresh-cut fruit or frozen fruit for dessert. Treat yourself to sweet, healthy fruit instead of sugar-laden, high-calorie options. Try freezing grapes, orange wedges, banana pieces, or watermelon for a cool tasty dessert.
Eat whole fruit instead of fruit juices
Eat the whole fruit as the pulp and skin of the fruit are high in dietary fibre. Dietary fibre helps promote regular bowel movement, slows down the absorption of sugars into your blood, and also helps you stay full for longer so you can control your calorie intake.
Be adventurous. Add vegetables/fruit in your meat dishes.
Instead of all-meat dishes, add in fruit and vegetables for an additional boost of vitamins and minerals. Experiment with fruit to add flavour and colour to your dish, such as adding pineapple to sweet and sour fish, or adding mango to jazz up chicken.
Stock up frozen fruit and vegetables
Frozen fruit and vegetables are usually flash frozen to retain their nutrients, thus remaining nutritious and can be stored for longer periods. Keep a few handy bags at home to use when you finish your fresh supplies, before your next grocery run.
My Healthy Plate visual guide can be used by everyone!
Just follow the Quarter, Quarter, Half guide for a healthier, well-balanced meal that includes all the food groups in the right proportions. It’s the easy way to get all the nutrients that your body needs regardless of the meal type, cuisine or occasion.
The following groups can also use My Healthy Plate with some adjustments:
People trying to lose weight
Instead of cutting out a food group entirely, use the Quarter, Quarter, Half proportions to get all the vital nutrients to keep your body functioning well. Just reduce your overall meal portion size and stay active to achieve your goals.
Seniors aged 50 and above
Follow the Quarter, Quarter, Half proportions to meet your nutritional needs. Aim for at least 3 servings of protein-rich foods daily to help build and repair muscle tissue, and minimise the loss of muscle mass and muscle function.
People with special dietary needs
My Healthy Plate – Quarter, Quarter, Half is a visual guide and does not serve to replace medical advice. If you have specific dietary requirements or existing medical conditions, please speak with your doctor or clinician for advice that is best suited for your needs.
My Healthy Plate is an easy visual guide to help you achieve a balanced, healthier meal.
While we don’t always get our meals clearly proportioned, here are some practical tips to help you include all the food groups in the right proportions, the Quarter, Quarter, Half way!
How to make the most of My Healthy Plate?
Eating meals in the Quarter, Quarter, Half proportions is a great start to better health but the journey doesn’t end there! We should also be mindful of our cooking methods, choose healthier foods and exercise regularly.
Here’s how to get more benefits from your meals:
Choose healthier oils
Oils that are lower in saturated fat (canola, soy and olive oils) are better for your health. Try to limit your intake of saturated and trans fats. Keep a look out for Healthier Dining Partners who use healthier oils in their cooking when you dine out.
Make water your drink of choice
Did you know that water quenches thirst better than sugar-sweetened beverages? Plus, having a lot of sugary drinks leads to weight gain. But if you want a sweetened drink, opt for a Healthier Choice option that’s lower in sugar.
Get active and stay active
In addition to eating healthier meals, being physically active is essential to maintaining good health. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of physical activity every week.
Eat a variety
For optimal health, eat a wide variety of foods from all food groups including wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, meat and other protein-rich foods including those containing calcium.
Choose healthier products
Buy groceries/meals with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) as they are lower in salt, sugar and trans fats. When ordering food, ask for less sauces/gravy and refrain from drinking it all.
Use healthier cooking methods
Try healthier cooking methods such as boiling, grilling, roasting, baking, stir-frying and steaming instead of deep frying.
Click below for healthier, balanced meals and recipes
Want to learn more about eating a balanced diet? We've compiled a list of articles to help you.
Both convey information about food groups and how to eat healthily. The information about what to eat and how much to eat is the same in both. That’s because the same scientific information is used to develop both guides.
However, My Healthy Plate – Quarter, Quarter, Half presents dietary information in an easy to understand manner, with emphasis on developing and maintaining healthier habits. This in turn helps you control weight and reduce your likelihood of developing chronic diseases.
Do follow My Healthy Plate – Quarter, Quarter, Half to help you remember and practice healthier eating habits.
Yes! My Healthy Plate – Quarter, Quarter, Half is a visual guide to help you envision what a healthier, balanced meal might look like, and also illustrates the relative proportions of each food group that should be included in a healthy meal.
However, My Healthy Plate does not define or dictate the number of calories or servings per day of each food group, as the actual portion size or amount of different foods needed would vary among individuals. To identify the recommended number of servings suitable for your needs, please refer to the chart below.
For infants aged 6 months – 12 months, their dairy foods or calcium-rich foods servings should be provided in the form of 750ml breast milk or infant formula.
My Healthy Plate – Quarter, Quarter, Half is a visual guide to help you meet dietary recommendations easily. It’s good to try to follow the Quarter, Quarter, Half concept at each meal. However, if you’re unable to do so, plan your meals such that you eat food from all three food groups throughout the day.
Feeling peckish between meals? Try snacking on healthier options like wholegrain foods, fruit and vegetables, dairy or calcium-rich foods. Use this chance to make up for shortfalls of food groups from previous meals! Some great snack ideas:
Whole wheat crackers and biscuits, wholemeal bread, wholegrain corn tortilla chips.
Meat and others
Cheese, chicken, egg, low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt, tofu, unsalted peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios or pumpkin seeds.
Fruit and vegetables
Apple, pear, banana, grapes, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots or celery sticks.
Go light on salt
Limit your daily intake of salt to 1 teaspoonful (5 grams or 2,000 mg of sodium) daily, whether from sauces, table salt or processed foods. Young children should consume even less.
Limit intake of sugar
Our sugar consumption should be no more than 10 percent of our daily energy intake. For most adults, that is about 10 teaspoons of sugar (based on a 2000-daily calorie intake). If you are determined enough, a further reduction to 5 teaspoons of sugar a day can bring about additional health benefits such as a decrease in weight. Added sugar can be found in sweetened drinks, fruit juices, honey, jam and processed foods like canned fruits.
Drinking in moderation
Having drinks with your friends? Healthy adult men should drink no more than 2 standard drinks a day, and women should drink no more than 1 standard drink a day. A standard drink is 1 can (330ml) of regular beer with 5% alcohol content, ½ glass (100ml) of wine with 15% alcohol content, where the glass height is not more than 15cm, or 1 shot (30ml) of spirits with 40% alcohol content.
Better yet, drink something other than alcohol, which is a concentrated source of calories.To view the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for adults in Singapore, click here.
Different individuals have different needs. Should you be more sedentary, it’s best to stick to the lower end of the range. If you’re very active, you may need more servings.
Copyright © Ministry of Health Singapore. All Rights Reserved.