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8 Tips For Making Healthier Choices, Part 1

20.07.2016

Welcome to part 1 of 8 tips for making healthier choices. These 8 tips were originally written by the Food Standard Agency in 2010. Much of it is still just as relevant today, but we have modified certain aspects in order to bring it to the present day recommendations. These practical tips on eating well are designed to simply help you feel your best each and every day.

We hope you find this first installment useful and helpful in your quest to leading the healthiest lifestyle possible.

 

Two key points of a healthy diet are:

a. Eating the right amount of food for how active you are

b. Eating a range of foods to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet

This advice is suitable for most adults. But if you are pregnant, breast feeding, trying for a baby or are looking for advice for children or older people, seek further advice from your health practitioner.

 

 

1. Base your meals on starchy foods

  • A good source of energy
  • Contain fibre, calcium, iron and B Vitamins
  • Aim to include a starchy food with each main meal
  • Try to eat wholegrain or higher fibre options with less salt, fat and sugar
  • Examples include wholegrain bread, wholewheat pasta, brown rice and wholegrain breakfast cereals
  • We digest wholegrain foods more slowly so will feel fuller for longer
  • Wholegrain foods also contain more fibre and other nutrients than white or refined starchy foods
  • Gram for gram, starchy foods contain less than half the calories of fat

 

2. Eat lots of fruit and veg

  • One portion of fruit or veg is 80g
  • This equates to 1 apple, banana, pear, orange or any other similar sized fruit
  • ½ grapefruit or avocado
  • 1 slice of large fruit such as pineapple or melon
  • 3 heaped tablespoons or vegetables
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of dried fruit
  • a dessert bowl of salad
  • a glass of fruit juice (150ml) (this counts as a maximum of one portion a day)
  • 1 cupful of berries
  • Eat at least 5 portions a day, although research has shown that 7 portions per day holds even greater benefits
  • You can have fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced - ensure there is no added sugar

 

3. Eat more fish – including a portion of oily fish each week

  • A great source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals
  • Aim to have at least two portions of fish each week, including one portion of oily fish
  • Bear in mind that canned or smoked fish can be high in salt
  • Oily fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to potentially prevent against heart disease
  • Examples of oily fish are salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards
  • Examples of non-oily fish are haddock, plaice, Pollock, coley, tinned tuna, halibut, skate, sea bass, hake and cod

 

4. Minimise your saturated fat and sugar intake

Saturated fat:

  • There are two main types of fat – saturated and unsaturated
  • The recommended daily limit of saturated fat is 30g for men and 20g for women
  • Fat is important in a healthy and balanced diet
  • Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood which increases the chance of developing heart disease
  • In contrast, unsaturated fat can help lower blood cholesterol
  • Foods rich in unsaturated fat include vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, rapeseed oil and olive oil. Other foods include oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds
  • Try to cut down on foods high in saturated fat and instead have them in small amounts and less often. Foods high in saturated fat include meat pies, sausages, meat with visible white fat, hard cheese, butter and lard, pastry, cakes and biscuits, cream, soured cream, crème fraiche, coconut oil, coconut cream and palm oil
  • When cooking or preparing food, try to stick to the oils mentioned above.  When eating meat, choose a lean cut, removing any visible fat
  • If a food item has more than 20g fat per 100g, then it is high in fat. If it has 3g or less per 100g, then it is low in fat
  • Some food labels state the figure of saturated fat, this is referred to as ‘saturates’. If a food item has more than 5g saturates per 100g, then it is high. If it has 1.5g or less per 100g, then it is low in saturated fat

Sugar:

  • You should have no more than 30g of added sugar each day
  • Excess sugar intake is common and we should therefore be aiming to decrease that amount of foods we eat containing added sugars such as sweets cakes and biscuits. This also means cutting down on fizzy drinks
  • Excess sugar can lead to tooth decay
  • Foods high in sugar can be high in calories, making weight loss more challenging
  • Food labels state the figure of sugars under carbohydrates, entitles ‘of which sugars’ – this is the area you need to focus on
  • A food or drink that has more than 15g sugars per 100g is high in sugar
  • Food or drink than has 5g or less per 100g is low in sugar
  • By looking at the sugars on the label, you are unable to tell how much of it is added sugar (the type we should try to cut down on) and how much is naturally occurring sugar. However, you can spot added sugars by looking at the ingredients list. It always starts with the biggest ingredient first. Therefore if ‘sugar’ is near the top of the list, you know that the food is likely to be high in added sugars. Added sugar can also come under different names such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolysed starch, invert sugar, corn syrup and honey – so keep an eye out! 

 

For more about healthy eating please click on the boxes below.  

Are you thinking about adding something to your health and wellbeing programme? Contact us here for more information. 



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