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Eating is an important part of everyone's life, and what we eat has a huge impact on our health. Of course, thinking about food we eat isn't just a matter of keeping healthy - preparing, cooking and eating food can also be fun and an important social activity. Just being aware of the basics of healthy eating and associated lifestyle, can protect us from many of the major diseases.
Healthy eating is important no matter what your age, because it;
You will find that as you grow older you tend to need less food because you become less active. However, it is important to make sure you eat a variety of foods in order to keep your body working properly. It is particularly important to eat well during the winter months because this is when you may be at your most vulnerable to illness.
Healthy eating means eating a wide variety of foods, in the right amount to get a balanced diet. It doesn't mean stopping eating what you are used to eating or changing to new expensive meals. It does't have to be complicated and it is actually enjoyable!
The different types of food we need to eat and in what proportion to help us achieve a healthy balanced diet. It is important to eat food from the five groups shown to get the right balance of nutrients needed to maintain your health.
1. Fruit & vegetables
Eat at least 5 portions of these a day. They help to support our immune system and keep us healthy.
2. Bread, Cereals, Rice & potatoes
This group of foods should make up a third of your diet, try to eat them at every meal. Wholegrain or Wholemeal varieties contain more fibre which helps prevent constipation.
3. Meat, poultly fish, eggs, beans, lentils and nuts
We should eat two portions of these foods a day. Oily Fish should be eaten once or twice a week. Oily fish include sardines, mackerl, salmon and they are rich in omega 3 which helps to keep your heart healthy. Try to choose lean cuts of meat and remove the skin off poultry before cooking. This can help to control total fat intake, particulary saturated fat which can increase the risk of heart disease.
4. Milk & dairy foods
These foods are rich in calcium and help to keep your bones and teeth healthy and strong therefore can reduce the risk of oesteoporosis. Try to eat low- fat options of these foods as they usually contain slightly more calcium than full fat options such as a pot of low fat yoghurt and a glass of semi-skimmed milk.
5. Foods containing fat and foods containing sugar
Eat small amounts occassionally.
As well as eating healthy, you should ensure that you also drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
As winter starts setting in, not knowing what the weather will be from one day to the next, it is worth keeping a well-stocked cupboard, just in case you're unable to go shopping.
Here are just a few store cupboard ideas:
Rice, pasta - dried and tinned Breakfast cereals Crackers, crisp breads Bread - freeze if possible and defrost when needed
Dried instant potatoes Tinned Vegetables/fruits (in juice) Baked Beans Frozen vegetables
Tea/coffee Chocolate Packet/tinned soups Long-life or powdered milk Long life fruit juice
Tins of chicken and ham Tins of corned beef Tins of tuna/salmon Tins of sardines Tins of lentils
Tinned milk and rice puddings Instant dessert mixes Long life yoghurts
To find out more about healthy eating please visit:
Change 4 Life Wales
NHS Direct Wales website
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