Healthy Eating Tips
Eating well is an important part of maintaining good health and can help you feel your best.
The two keys to a healthy diet are:
- Eat food containing the correct amount of calories depending on how active you are, if you follow this you will balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. The average male needs around 2,500 calories a day and the average female around 2,000 calories a day.
- Eat a wide range of foods to ensure you are getting a balanced diet and your body gets all the nutrients it needs.
- The Eatwell Guide above shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. You do not need to achieve this balance with every meal but try to get the balance right over a day or even a week.
All foods can be part of a healthy diet, its achieving the right balance and variety of foods that is important for health. When it comes to healthy eating there are no such things as good or bad food. The odd biscuit or packet of crisps is not going to harm you if the rest of your diet is healthy.
Base your meals on starchy foods.
Starchy foods include potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread. Choose wholegrain varieties when you can because they contain more fibre, and can make you feel full for longer. Starchy foods should make up around one third of the foods you eat.
Eat lots of fruit and veg.
It is recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and vegetables a day. This is easier than it sounds, a glass of 100% unsweetened fruit juice can count as one portion and vegetables cooked within dishes count. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal or swap your usual mid-morning snack for some dried fruit?
Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least two portions a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fats, which may help prevent heart disease. Oily fish include salmon, herring, fresh tuna, mackerel, sardines and pilchards.
Cut down on saturated fat.
Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood which increases your risk of developing heart disease and strokes. Saturated fats are found in many manufactured foods such as cakes, pies, biscuits, sausages as well as cream, butter, lard and hard cheese. Most of us eat too much saturated fat. Try to cut down, and choose foods that contain unsaturated fat such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.
Cut down on sugar.
Sugary foods and drinks are often high in calories and could contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals. It is good to cut down on foods such as fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries, they are likely to contain high levels of added sugars. Check labels, which will advise sugar content, more than 15g per 100g means the food is high in sugar. There are natural sugars found in fruits and milk that are of more benefit.
Eat less salt
Even if you do not add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which is linked to heart disease and strokes. Food labels can help you cut down, more than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt. Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day
Drink plenty of water.
Try to drink about six to eight glasses of water or other fluids a day to prevent dehydration. When the weather is warm or when we get active, we may need more. Avoid soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars.
Don’t skip breakfast.
Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight; it is probably the most important meal as it sets you up for the day. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. Wholemeal cereal, with fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and nutritious breakfast