Home All Things Food FOOD Get the balance right with dieting

Get the balance right with dieting

Do you know what foods are best to put on your plate? Or how much you should eat and how often? Specialist dietitian, Mbali Mapholi, says the answer to a balanced diet lies in nature.

Our daily food and drink choices contribute greatly towards our health. Combined with physical activity, what we choose to eat can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, help us achieve a healthy weight, and promote overall health. Everything we need for a healthy balanced diet comes from nature, says Laager Rooibos partner, Mbali, so if we respect nature and respect our bodies, we will make better choices.

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“We spend so much time trying to avoid bad food and drinks, but if we put more focus on including good food and drinks in our diet this won’t leave as much room for unhealthy choices.”

Mbali shares her top five foods and drinks to include in a healthy diet…

Nuts and seeds 

Nuts – peanuts, walnuts, almonds and nut butter – as well as seeds – pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and chia seeds – are great sources of healthy fats, plant protein, vitamin E, zinc, and dietary fibre, to name a few. Nuts and seeds can be expensive so it’s important to choose ones that are local and readily available.


As the saying goes, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away!’ While this may not be strictly true, eating more fruits instead of sugary treats is a great step towards better health, with at least two fruits as part of your five-a-day (fruits and vegetables). Fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and other plant compounds that are good for health.

Legumes and beans 

Legumes such as lentils and chickpeas; as well as beans like red kidney beans, soybeans, edamame beans, baked beans and black beans can be added daily to all meals to bulk them up and increase their nutritional value. You can even try them as snacks such as roasted edamame beans or roasted chickpeas. Legumes and beans are packed with all sorts of nutrients which are good for overall health.

Leafy vegetables 

Leafy vegetables such as spinach, beet leaves and mustard leaves are packed with vitamins and minerals which are essential for good health. These vegetables are also packed with antioxidants which are important for overall wellbeing, heart health and mental health. They are easy to grow, easily accessible and can be included frozen or fresh in a diet in many forms, such as smoothies, cooked vegetables and raw salads.

Rooibos tea 

Drinking Rooibos tea regularly has been linked to good heart health, a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Rooibos is packed with polyphenols which are antioxidants that contribute to the health of cells. Rooibos is naturally sugar-free, caffeine-free and can be consumed by both adults and children as a cold or a hot beverage. It is also versatile enough to be used in cooking.

Details: Visit www.joekels.co.za or @LaagerRooibosTea on Facebook or Instagram for more health tips and advice from Mbali, as well as healthy recipes and ideas for the whole family.

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