1. Base your meals on starchy foods: bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, noodles.
Choose whole grains and potatoes with skin where possible which have more fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Remember starchy foods contain fewer than half the calories of fats per gram.
2. Eat lots of fruit and veg.
Choose a variety of fruit and vegetables as they contain different combinations of vitamins and minerals.
Fresh, frozen, tinned and 100% fruit juices all count!
Try grating vegetables like carrots and courgettes into bolognaise or add lots of vegetables to homemade tomato sauce and blend.
3. Eat more fish – aim for at least two portions per week and one of these should be oily.
Remember that one portion of fish is approximately 140g cooked weight.
Oily fish are one of the only natural food sources of vitamin D, important for bone health. Oily fish includes salmon, fresh tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout.
Choose from fresh, frozen, smoked and canned, but remember that smoked fish contains salt, and canned can do, so check labels and pick lower salt varieties.
4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
Although we need some fat in our diet (to provide the essential fatty acids and aid the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K), too much fat may lead to weight gain, as fat provides 9 calories per gram, more than double that from carbohydrates and protein.
Replace saturated fats from butter, lard, pastries, cream, pies and cheese (which can increase your blood cholesterol levels) with unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocados.
Too much sugar, especially between meals can increase risk of tooth decay and will add extra calories so limit your added sugar intake! If you get a sweet craving try having fruit instead, helping you to achieve your 5-a-day!
5. Eat less salt, adults should eat no more than 6 g 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 (or 0.6g sodium). Low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium).
Try using extra herbs, spices, citrus juices (lemon and lime), mustard 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.
Did you know….? 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 8-10 glasses of fluid per day. Water is the best choice as it hydrates you without adding any extra calories to your daily intake.
Most types of drink count including water, tea, coffee, soft drinks, milk, fruit juice and smoothies, but try to avoid added sugar in your drinks as this can increase risk of dental decay.
Alcohol does not count because it makes you pass urine more frequently and contributes to dehydration rather than hydration!
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 with fruit for a healthy start to the day.
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