I want to be healthier
Although it may seem like there is lots of conflicting advice on what makes a healthy diet, most experts do agree on the essentials. The good news is that eating healthily really doesn’t have to be difficult. Below are the Department of Health’s top 8 tips, followed by a more detailed look at how to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
- Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
- Try to eat less salt – no more than 6g a day
- Get active and try to maintain a healthy weight
- Drink plenty of water
- Don’t skip breakfast
- Base your meals on starchy foods
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
- Eat more fish
Key Food Groups
Fruit And Veg
We should aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. An average portion is 80g, equivalent to an apple sized fruit, a bowl of salad or 3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables. Eat the rainbow when it comes to fruit and vegetables. Eating a good variety of different colour fruit and vegetables means you are getting a good mix of different nutrients. Fruit and vegetables are also good sources of fibre for healthy digestion.
Along with fruit and vegetables, starchy carbohydrate foods should make up the biggest part of our diet. They are valuable and low fat sources of energy and also supply important B vitamins, needed for the release of energy. You should aim for 6-11 portions a day. As a guide, one portion equates to a slice of bread, 4 dessertspoons of flake type breakfast cereal, 3 dessertspoons of cooked rice or pasta, or 2 small potatoes.
Meat, Fish And Alternatives
As well as being great sources of protein, these types of food are rich in vitamins and/or minerals. As well as the traditional meat, fish and poultry, it is healthy to include vegetarian alternatives like pulses, nuts and eggs. Try to eat two per day — one serving is around 3oz/75g of lean meat or skinless poultry, 4oz/100g white fish, 2 medium eggs, or 6 dessertspoons of cooked beans or lentils. If you’re not vegetarian, a portion of oily fish like salmon or mackerel every week is the easiest way to get your recommended intake of important omega-3 fats.
Dairy products are a source of vitamins and minerals. Where possible, choose low fat versions. If you can’t tolerate dairy products, don’t worry – you can substitute dairy with alternatives such as calcium-fortified soya milk and dairy-free spreads like Pure (insert a link to the product page). You can also increase your calcium intake from nuts, pulses, apricots and figs.
Sugar And Fat
This group of foods includes butter and oils, salad dressings, cream, ice-cream, chocolates, sweets, crisps, biscuits, cakes and pastries. In a healthy diet, you shouldn’t eat these foods too often and they should only be eaten in small amounts. When choosing a spread, look for one which is lower in saturates, like the Pure range of spreads, which contain up to 74% less fat that butter.
To maintain a healthy weight it’s important to balance your calorie intake with the amount you burn up through exercise. We should all aim for around 30 minutes of activity a day. This is good for the heart and will help to maintain general fitness.
Here are a few suggestions of how to maintain an active life without major changes to your routine:
- Get off the bus early or park a little way from work or the shops and walk.
- Spend time outdoors with your children, friends and family.
- Get energetic when doing the house work – use exaggerated movements.
- Jog on the spot while the adverts are on TV.
Within your healthy lifestyle, it is important to choose a spread lower in saturated fat and salt. The Pure range offers up to 74% less fat than butter and contains less salt*.