These 8 practical tips cover the basics of healthy eating and can help you make healthier choices.
The key to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of calories for how active you are so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use.
If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you’ll put on weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight.
You should also eat a wide range of foods to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet and your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
It’s recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should have around 2,000 calories a day (8,400 kilojoules).
1. Base Your Meals on Higher Fibre Starchy Carbohydrates
Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals.
Choose higher fibre or wholegrain varieties, such as whole-wheat pasta, brown rice or potatoes with their skins on.
Try to include at least 1 starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram the carbohydrate they contain provides fewer than half the calories of fat.
2. Eat Lots of Fruit and Veg
It’s recommended that you eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.
3. Eat More Fish, Including a Portion of Oily Fish
Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals.
Aim to eat at least 2 portions of fish a week, including at least 1 portion of oily fish.
Oily fish are high in omega-3 fats, which may help prevent heart disease.
Oily fish include:
Non-oily fish include:
You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned, but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.
4. Cut Down on Saturated Fat and Sugar
You need some fat in your diet, but it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat you’re eating.
Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as:
- fatty cuts of meat
- hard cheese
Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados.
Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay.
Food labels can help. Use them to check how much sugar foods contain.
5. Eat Less Salt: No More Than 6g a Day for Adults
Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
6. Get Active and Be a Healthy Weight
As well as eating healthily, regular exercise may help reduce your risk of getting serious health conditions. It’s also important for your overall health and wellbeing.
7. Do Not Get Thirsty
You need to drink plenty of fluids to stop you getting dehydrated. The government recommends drinking 6 to 8 glasses every day. This is in addition to the fluid you get from the food you eat.
8. Do Not Skip Breakfast
Some people skip breakfast because they think it’ll help them lose weight.
But a healthy breakfast high in fibre and low in fat, sugar and salt can form part of a balanced diet, and can help you get the nutrients you need for good health.