Healthy eating tips
Start every day with breakfast
This will increase your metabolism, energy levels and help to avoid snacking between meals.
Eat regular meals – at least three each day
To help manage your hunger and extra snacking:
- include some starchy carbohydrates (bread/rice/potato), protein (meat/fish/egg/beans/dairy) along with veges and fruit.
- Plan your lunch. It’s cheaper to take your own homemade lunch and avoids making rushed decisions and being tempted by less healthy options.
Smarter snacks – only if you need them
If you’re not hungry between meals, you don’t need snacks. If you do feel peckish, make a healthy choice and reach for:
- a piece of fruit or small handful of nuts (30g)
- a cup of soup or, low fat milk/yoghurt
- vegetable sticks or grainy crackers with hummus/cottage cheese.
Eat a variety of foods
You need more than 40 different nutrients for good health and no single food can supply them all. It’s easy to eat a wide variety of foods take advantage of ready-prepared meals or buying takeaways but its best to balance your eating choices out. For example, if you have a high-fat lunch, have a low-fat dinner. If you eat a large serving of meat at dinner one day, perhaps choose fish the next day.
Base your diet on plenty of foods rich in carbohydrates
Most people do not eat enough of foods such as bread, pasta, rice, other cereals and potatoes. More than half the calories in your diet should come from these foods. Try wholegrain bread, pasta and other wholegrain cereals, too, to increase your fibre intake.
Enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables
Most of us do not eat enough of these foods either although they provide important nutrients. Try to eat at least five servings a day.
Maintain a healthy body weight and feel good
The weight that is right for you depends on many factors including your gender, height and age. Being overweight increases your risk of a wide range of diseases including heart disease and cancer. Excess body fat arises when you eat more calories than you need. Physical activity is a good way of increasing the energy (calories) you burn each day and it can make you feel good.
Eat moderate portions - reduce, don't eliminate foods
If you keep portion sizes reasonable, it's easier to eat all the foods you enjoy without having to eliminate any. Ready-prepared meals can offer a handy means of portion control and they often have the calorie values on the pack to help those who are counting. If you are eating out, you could share a portion with a friend.
Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can lead to out-of-control hunger, which often leads to overeating. Snacking between meals can help curb hunger, but don't eat so much as to substitute for proper meals.
Drink plenty of fluids
Adults should drink at least 1.5 litres of fluid a day, or more if it's very hot or they are physically active. Plain tap water is obviously a good source of fluid but variety can be both pleasant and healthy. Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks as often as possible.
Too many calories and not enough activity can result in weight gain. Exercise helps burn off those extra calories. It is also good for the heart and circulatory system and for general health and well-being. So, make healthy choices, such as going for a walk in your lunch break or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and make physical activity part of your daily routine.
Start now - and make changes gradually
Gradual changes in your lifestyle are much easier to make than major changes all at once. For three days, write down the foods and drinks you consume at meals and as snacks. To start with, try to eat just one extra piece of fruit and vegetables a day. If your favourite foods are high in fat, you don't have to eliminate them entirely and feel miserable, but you should try to choose low fat options or eat smaller portions.
It’s all about balance
Don't feel guilty about the foods you love, rather eat them in moderation and choose other foods to provide the balance and variety that are vital to good health.