Top tips to help you achieve a healthy balanced diet
Here you will find some useful tips to help you adhere to the Eatwell guide and achieve a healthy balanced diet.
In addition, to help you find healthy food swaps, download the free NHS Food Scanner app. A speedy scan of your family’s favourite products reveals a range of healthier swaps for next time you shop.
Information from the NHS website (www.nhs.uk)
Water, lower-fat milks and lower-sugar or sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count towards your 6-8 cups. Fruit juice and smoothies also count towards your fluid consumption, but they contain free sugars that can damage your teeth, so limit these drinks to a combined total of 150ml a day.
Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. Choose higher fibre or wholegrain varieties, such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta and leave the skin on potatoes as often as possible. These varieties contain more fibre than white or refined starchy carbohydrates and can help you feel full for longer.
Make sure you eat a variety of beans, pulses, eggs, fish, meat and other proteins, around 2-3 portions a day with at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily, for example salmon, trout, herring, mackerel. Find out more here.
Use food labels to guide you, the average man should be having no more than 30g of saturated fat a day and the average women should be having no more than 20g of saturated fat a day. Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and consume foods containing saturated fat in small amounts. Click here for more information on how you can reduce your saturated fat intake.
More than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g means the food is high in sugar, 5g of total sugars or less per 100g means the food is low in sugar. Opt for natural sources of sugar instead, such as fruit, maple syrup and honey. Click here for tips on cutting down on sugar in your diet.
Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. Consume no more than 6g a day for adults (about a teaspoon). Use food labels to help you monitor your salt intake, more than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food has a high salt content. Read more here for tips on cutting down on salt in your diet.
Although milk and dairy foods, are good sources of protein, try to pick dairy alternatives such as soya or nut milks, or choose lower fat and lower sugar options. For example swap whole milk for semi-skimmed or skimmed, lower fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese and use low-fat natural yogurt for cooking instead of cream or creme fraiche. When buying alternatives, choose unsweetened, calcium-fortified versions. Find out more about milk and dairy foods.
Keep your alcohol consumption to no more that 14 units a week. To increase your alcohol awareness, click here.
Some people skip breakfast because they think it’ll help them lose weight. A healthy breakfast high in fibre and low in fat, sugar and salt can form part of a balanced diet, and can help you get the nutrients you need for good health.