Healthy Eating

Eat Well

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;

  • Helps to keep you in good health
  • Gives you the energy to live life to the full

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.

 

How to eat more healthily

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!

 

Eat Well Plate 

 

The eatwell plate shows:

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.

The five main groups

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.
 

Useful Tips

  • Try and eat regularly and at least three times a day, as all food whether hot or cold, provides warmth and energy
  • Try to avoid long gaps between meals
  • Drink plenty of fluids but not before going to bed

 Drinks

As well as eating healthy, you should ensure that you also drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration.

  • Try to drink 6 to 8 glasses/cups/mugs of fluid per day
  • Some of this can be drunk as tea but try not to have it with your meals - it reduces your uptake of iron from food, instead try to have a glass of fruit juice with your meal - it helps absorption of iron
  • Drinking tea about an hour before or after eating will be fine.

 Stocking up

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:

 Cereals

    Rice, pasta - dried and tinned
    Breakfast cereals
    Crackers, crisp breads
    Bread - freeze if possible and defrost when needed

Fruit/Veg

    Dried instant potatoes
    Tinned Vegetables/fruits (in juice)
    Baked Beans
    Frozen vegetables

Drinks

    Tea/coffee
    Chocolate
    Packet/tinned soups
    Long-life or powdered milk
    Long life fruit juice

  Meat/Fish/Alternatives

    Tins of chicken and ham
    Tins of corned beef
    Tins of tuna/salmon
    Tins of sardines
    Tins of lentils

 Desserts

    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

Advice line:
08000 223 444
 

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