Eating healthy, nutritious and balanced meals is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. A balanced meal will include a variety of foods from the main food groups; carbohydrates, proteins, fats as well as vitamins, minerals, fibre and water.
The guidelines for healthy eating are based on the ‘Eat Well plate’. You should aim to eat a range of foods to ensure your body receives all the required nutrients but the proportions of certain food groups should be considered. For example, a large proportion of your plate should be from fruits and vegetables whereas a small proportion should come from fats and sugars.
Below are some guidelines in order to eat healthily:
- Ensure calories consumed match those expended or you will put on weight.
- Starchy foods such as carbohydrates should make up one-third of your plate
- Aim to achieve 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Aim for 2 portions of fish a week. Fish that are high in Omega 3 fats are good for your health
- Reduce the amount of salt in your diet. The recommended daily salt intake is 6g (a teaspoon)
- Reduce your sugar intake by limiting the number of teas and coffees
- Reduce your intake of cakes, biscuits, butter and other foods high in saturated fats
- Aim for 2 litres of fluid a day, this can include the water contained within foods
- Avoid sugary fizzy drinks as these dehydrate the body
- Eat smaller portion sizes and stop eating once you being to feel full
It is important to choose foods which provide the body with the energy it requires and the nutrition to build and repair muscle, tissues and cells. You can find lots more information on the importance and benefits of good nutrition at www.nutrition.org.uk and www.nhs.uk