Healthy Eating Tips

Listed below are five healthy eating tips with details of the rationale behind them and associated practical application.  There is also an accompanying portion size table and  food pyramid that illustrates the recommended daily intake of the different food groups.
 
For more details see the Fitness Tips, or Healthy Eating section of our Advice page.

 

Healthy Eating and Weight Loss         
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Tips
 
 
Rationale
Practical Application
1. Drink 2 - 2.5 litres of water a day

The British Dietetic Association guidelines state that an average adult should consume 1.5 - 2.5 litres of water per day . This intake needs to be increased during periods of hot weather or during and after periods of physical activity.

The body loses water through urine, sweating and  breathing . As the body does not hold reserves, the lost water needs to be replaced. Daily water intake is obtained via  liquids (including tea, coffee, fruit juice, carbonated drinks, milk and water) and food (e.g. fruit) that have been consumed during the day.
2. Eat according to the 3 basic concepts
Regardless of the type of diet you eat, most nutrition professionals agree on three basic concepts: balance, moderation and variation.
Balance- The intentional inclusion of different foods in the appropriate proportions.
 
 
 
 
Moderation - i) Understanding and controlling portion sizes. ii) Realising that it can take up to 20 mins for your brain to register that your stomach is full, so you should not keep eating until you feel 'full up'.
 
 
Variation. All healthy diets involve the inclusion of several food-types. The primary reason for this is health. Including a wide-variety of foods increases your likelihood of obtaining the required amounts of essential nutrients.

 

Balance - Carbohydrate  55%, Protein at 15% and Fats at no higher than 30% of total calories.
 
Choosing healthier foods more often than foods that are less healthy.
 
Moderation - Learning how much food is enough and how much is too much
 
stop eating when your hunger is satisfied rather then when you are full.
 
Variation - Eat a variety of food from across all the food groups.

3. Eat 5 portions of fruit / vegetables a day

 

 (includes all fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as frozen and canned produce, juices and dried fruit)

 

In order to remain healthy we require vitamins and minerals. Fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of both these requirements and is also a good source of carbohydrate and fibre. 

An apple, a glass of orange juice or a small can of beaked beans each provide a singe  portion. What is a serving?

5 portions is therefore not a large quantity, but may require a small amount of planning. Over time this way of eating will become your normal, requiring less  planning.

S
elect from the large variety of fruit and vegetables that are available, ensuring that you obtain a mix of the different nutrients they provide. Consuming various fruits and vegetables also has the the added advantage of providing you with an interesting and varied diet.

 

Add fruit to your breakfast,  e.g. adding a banana / raisins to cereal or by drinking glass of fruit juice.
 
Add fruit and vegetables to your normal meals e.g. salad to sandwiches, extra fruit to dessert,
additional  vegetables in soups, stews and pasta sauces or sliced vegetables to pizza.
 
Have fruit or vegetable snacks rather than high fat, high sugar alternatives like biscuits. Examples include a piece of fruit, raisins, grapes, dried apricots, tomatoes, carrot sticks, slices of red or green pepper.

4.  50% of your food intake should come from starchy foods.

 

( includes bread, rice,  potatoes,  breakfast cereals, pasta, noodles & oats)

 

Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred source of energy. Starches are complex carbohydrates, and  sugars are simple carbohydrates.  They are stored as glucose or glycogen for short and long term energy requirements respectively.

Eating more carbohydrates and less fat and sugars at each meal can aid weight loss  and is also a source of fibre, especially whole grain carbohydrates.

 

Eat a decent serving of carbohydrates at each  meal, while avoiding an increase in fat e.g. butter on sandwiches or fatty sauces with pasta.
 
Add potatoes, noodles or rice to soups and stews.
5. Reduce your fat intake

Fat has twice as many calories as carbohydrate and protein - eating too much of it can easily lead to weight gain. But, some fat in the diet is essential for health as they provide us with essential fatty acids which are vital for proper nerve function. Fish oils are particularly good for this.

Cutting down on fat doesn't have to mean totally changing your diet. Most people can do it by making a few small changes to everyday meals.
 The easiest ways s to limit the amount of fat you use in cooking, on bread and choosing those that are rich in polyunsaturates or monounsaturates, such as sunflower or olive oil.

Generally speaking, we tend to eat too much saturated fat. Often lower fat alternatives could easily be substituted. 

Children under five should not follow a low fat diet, as they require more energy from fat for healthy growth and development.
Read food labels and become consciously aware of the amount of fats that you are consuming.
 
Where foods are the same/similar, opt of the lower fat option e.g. skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.
 
Grill, bake, boil or microwave foods, without adding fat as an alternative to frying.
 
Drain off fat from cooked meats.
 
Select leaner cuts and cut the visible fat off meats.
 
Limit the amount of fat ( butter, margarine or cream) that you add to foods.