In this article, you will find information for consumers who are interested knowing about tips for healthy eating.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet involves eating the right sort of foods, in the right amounts to provide energy and nutrients for our bodies to function. It is estimated that an average women needs about 2000 calories a day and an average man needs about 2500 calories a day. The exact amount you need depends on a range of factors including, your age, sex, height and how active you are.
Regularly eating more calories than your body needs over time will result in weight gain and can lead to obesity. Over 50% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese, which means most of us are eating too many calories. To help us eat a healthy, balanced diet, Public Health England have developed the 8 tips for eating well, which are based on advice from the Eatwell Guide.
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8 tips for eating well
1. Base your meals on starchy carbohydrates
Starchy carbohydrate foods include potatoes, bread, pasta, rice and noodles.Where possible choose wholegrain or higher fibre versions with less added fat, salt and sugar, or leave the skins on potatoes. Did you know? Starchy carbohydrate foods contain fewer than half the calories of fats per gram.
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2. Eat lots of fruit and veg
Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day as they contain different combinations of vitamins and minerals.Fresh, frozen, tinned, dried and juiced all count but remember unsweetened fruit juice and/or smoothies should be limited to 150ml per day in total and dried fruit should be limited to about 1 tablespoon (30g) per day and eaten with a meal.You could try grating vegetables like carrots and courgettes into a Bolognese sauce or add lots of vegetables to homemade tomato sauce and blend.
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3. Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish
Aim for at least two portions of sustainably sourced fish per week, including a portion of oily fish (a portion is approximately 140g cooked weight).Oily fish, such as sustainably sourced salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout, are one of the only natural food sources of vitamin D, which is important for bone health. Oily fish is also our main source of omega 3, which is important for heart health.Choose from fresh, frozen, smoked and canned fish, but remember smoked and canned fish may contain high levels of salt, so check the food labels to choose the varieties lower in salt.
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4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugars
Swapping saturated fat, found in butter, ghee, chocolate, cheese and fatty cuts of meat, with unsaturated fat, found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocado, can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood.Too much sugar, especially between meals, can increase risk of tooth decay and will add extra calories so cut down on sugary foods and drinks like cereals high in sugar, cakes, biscuits and sugary drinks. If you get a sweet craving you could try having fruit on yogurt instead, helping you to achieve your 5-a-day!Use food labels to help you choose foods lower in saturated fat and sugars by choosing varieties with more green and ambers on the front of pack label.
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5. Eat less salt
Adults should eat no more than 6g (1 teaspoon) per day and children should have even less. A high salt intake is associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure which puts you at a greater risk of developing stroke or heart disease.Most of our salt intake comes from processed foods rather than salt added during cooking or at the table, so always check food labels for the salt content! When comparing foods, a high salt content is more than 1.5g salt per 100g and low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g.Try using extra herbs, spices, citrus juices (lemon and lime), or vinegar to flavour foods so you can use less salt in your recipes.
6. Get active and be a healthy weight
The government recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity physical activity for adults 19-64 years of age and muscle strength training on at least two days per week.What counts? Moderate intensity activities include cycling or brisk walking. High or vigorous intensity activities include swimming and running. Muscle strengthening activities include weight lifting, exercises with weights or carrying heavy boxes or groceries.Over 60% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese which increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Physical activity can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke and help maintain a healthy weight.
7. Don’t get thirsty
Aim for 6-8 glasses of fluid per day. Water is the best choice as it hydrates you without adding any extra calories to your daily intake.Other good options include unsweetened tea and coffee, sugar free drinks and low fat milk. Unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies count but remember intake should be limited to 150ml a day.Alcohol does not count because it makes you pass urine more frequently.
8. Don’t skip breakfast
• A healthy breakfast can provide fibre, calories, vitamins and minerals important for health. • Choose wholegrain cereals, porridge or wholemeal toast for a healthy start to the day. • Swap sugary breakfast cereals for plain cereals such as plain porridge, no added sugar muesli or wholegrain cereals.
This article is based on Public Health England’s 8 tips for eating well and the Eatwell Guide
Key sources of information used to develop this article is from Public Health England's Eatwell Guide. For more information on other sources used in this text