Eating well

Eating healthily doesn’t have to be complicated or boring! In fact, it’s about making sure you have plenty of variety, so you get all the nutrients you need and maintain a healthy weight.

It’s about not eating too much of some things – like saturated fat, sugar and salt – while getting enough of others – like fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Fruit and vegetables

Research shows that people who eat plenty of fruit and vegetables are less likely to develop heart disease and certain cancers.

They can be fresh, frozen, dried, canned or juiced and should make up about a third of our diet. Many of us don’t eat enough fruit and veg, and it can be hard to know how much a ‘portion’ actually is. Here are a few simple suggestions, which count as one portion each:

Breakfast – a glass of juice or a heaped tablespoon of dried fruit or a banana with your cereal.

Snacks – an apple or a handful of grapes or a pear.

Lunch – a side salad or a tomato and lettuce in a sandwich or three heaped tablespoons of baked beans.

Dinner – three heaped tablespoons of vegetables like peas or carrots or sweetcorn.

You should try to eat at least 5 portions of different coloured fruit and vegetables a day and each one must be different.

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and nuts

Eat a portion of any of these foods at 2 of your daily meals. They all contain protein, which helps to build and repair your body.
You don’t need to eat meat or fish every day – try cheese, well-cooked eggs, beans, lentils or tofu instead.

Try to eat fish twice a week – one portion of white fish such as haddock or cod, and one portion of oily fish such as salmon or sardines. Oily fish are rich in vitamin D and a type of fat that helps to prevent heart disease. Avoid frying meat or fish.

One portion is:
Fish: 140g
Meat: 80g (about the size of a pack of cards)
Beans/pulses: 2-3 heaped tablespoons

Breads, other cereals and potatoes

Have a serving of starchy food (bread, breakfast cereal, potatoes, yams, rice or pasta) with every meal. These foods give you energy.

Wholegrain foods such as brown rice or wholegrain bread or pasta contain B vitamins, minerals and fibre that are good for you and help prevent constipation.

Why not try:

Breakfast – wholegrain cereal or porridge or wholemeal toast with cut up banana or dried fruit.

Lunch – a sandwich or brown rice or pasta salad

Dinner – stews, casseroles or curries with potatoes or couscous or pasta or rice

One portion is:

  • 2 tablespoons of cooked pasta, rice or noodles
  • a medium baked potato
  • three tablespoons of cereal

Milk and dairy foods

These are calcium-rich foods, which help to keep bones and teeth strong. Try to have 3 servings a day and choose lower-fat versions, such as semi-skimmed milk, half-fat cheese and low-fat paneer where you can.

Did you know: A pint of whole milk contains 22.8g fat whereas a pint of semi-skimmed has 10.2g?

One portion is:

  • A glass of milk (200ml)
  • 150g pot of low fat yoghurt
  • 30g of cheese (matchbox size)

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