Eating a balanced diet is one way of helping yourself to stay healthy and feel good about yourself. Getting into the habit of eating healthily can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancers, bowel problems, obesity and tooth decay. A healthy diet does not have to be boring. You can find out more on the Eatwell website.
Here are four main things you can do:
Eat more fibre
Fibre is the indigestible part of food. It helps prevent constipation and foods high in fibre provide you with vitamins and minerals. You can easily eat more fibre by:
- Eating more bread, especially wholemeal
- Including five servings of fruit and vegetables a day in your diet
- Eating wholemeal breakfast cereals, eg Weetabix, shredded wheat and porridge
- Using potatoes cooked in their skins
- Adding pulses (peas, beans and lentils) to soups, stews and casseroles.
Eat less fat
Fats and fatty foods are very high in calories and can cause weight gain. Too much fat may also cause heart disease. Cut down on fatty foods by:
- Using semi-skimmed or skimmed milk
- Using a low fat spread and spread thinly
- Grilling, baking, steaming and poaching foods instead of frying
- Using low fat yoghurt and fromage frais instead of cream.
Remember crisps, nuts, cakes, pastry and biscuits are rich in hidden fats.
Eat less sugar
Sugary foods contain little goodness. Sugar may lead to tooth decay and cause weight gain. Cut down on it by:
- Using sugar free squashes, fizzy drinks and cordials
- Using an artificial sweetener rather than sugar
- Eating tinned fruit in natural juice rather than syrup
- Not adding sugar to drinks, cereals and desserts
- Going easy on foods like chocolate, rich puddings, sweets, biscuits and cream.
Eat less salt
Too much salt in the diet is thought to be linked to high blood pressure. Cut down on salt by:
- Adding a pinch of salt at the table, or in cooking, not both
- Using more herbs and spices to enhance flavour
- Going easy on salty foods such as crisps, nuts and savoury snacks.
There are lots of healthy foods from which to choose and you should include a variety in your diet, but most of all you should enjoy your food.
Be Food Smart
Be Food Smart is the latest campaign from Change4Life and aims to encourage everyone to look out for ‘hidden nasties’ – salt, fat and sugar – in many everyday foods and remind us all that eating too much of these can be bad for our health. The Be Food Smart campaign empowers us to make smart choices about what we eat and drink and encourages us to join Change4Life for lots of ideas for cheap, quick and healthier breakfasts, lunches and evening meals as well as hints and tips about eating well and money off healthier products.
More information can be found on the Be food smart web page.
Please also see our sustainable Food and drink web page.