A BACON butty, chocolate biscuits and curry with poppadoms may not sound like a menu for a healthy life, but all three feature in a meal plan drawn-up by Scottish nutritionists that represents a perfectly balanced diet.

Glasgow University has designed an eating plan that uses some of Britain's favourite foods and also ticks at least nine nutritional requirements.

The result, by experts in a city that has long held a reputation for unhealthy eating, is a menu allowing the odd chocolate bar and a Sunday roast, at the same time as ensuring the diner eats the right combination of vitamins and minerals and avoids too much salt and saturated fat.

It delivers 2050 calories a day, ideal for an adult woman who takes part in low levels of physical activity, but can be adjusted for men, who are advised to eat 2500 calories by increasing portions at main meals, including pasta, potatoes and rice.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Scotland commissioned the project to give people an example of how to eat healthily without giving up all treats or having to cook with unusual ingredients or spend a lot of money.

Dr Fiona Comrie, diet and nutrition adviser for the agency, said: "What the researchers have done is demonstrate it is possible to develop a menu incorporating foods that are popular and widely consumed by British adults, which meet dietary recommendations and targets.

"The menu is not dependent on any single food item, or any unusual or expensive pattern of eating, to meet nutritional requirements."

Despite action plans, targets and information campaigns, there has been little evidence of improvement to the Scottish diet.

The latest data from the Scottish Health Survey shows that less than one-quarter of men and women eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, while around two-thirds are overweight or obese.

Dr Wilma Leslie, researcher in human nutrition at Glasgow University and a member of the menu development team, said: "There is lots of information available to the public about the importance of a balanced diet but people still have difficulty in putting this into practice."

While the meal plan is designed to be as easy to implement as possible, including family pleasers such as spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread, it is the result of numerous careful calculations by the nutritionists.

Someone who sticks to the diet will obtain 51% of their energy from carbohydrate and less than 10% from saturated fat. They will eat less than 6g of salt a day, on average, and not too much red meat. They will meet the recommended levels of vitamin C, calcium and iron consumption and eat enough fish. They will be able to have the odd naughty snack, such as a packet of crisps, as long as they also munch on fresh fruit daily.

A supporting package has also been designed by the nutritionists to help people to adapt the menu to suit their lifestyle. This includes advice on how to allow for meals out or drinking alcohol in moderation.

Dr Leslie said: "If you present things to people that eliminate everything that people like to eat, people will look at it and think they are not interested. If they see they do not have to give up all the foods they enjoy, they are more likely to try it."

Details of how the menu was compiled have just been published in the journal Public Health Nutrition. The FSA in Scotland will make the menu package available online next summer as part of its eatwell campaign.