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Healthy Eating Information
Experts agree that a good diet is important for health.
Follow these simple guidelines for healthy eating:
Enjoy your food.
Eat a variety of different foods.
Eat the right amount to be a healthy weight.
Eat plenty of food rich in starch and fibre.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Don't eat too many foods that contain a lot of fat.
Don't have sugary foods and drinks too often.
If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly.
The Balance of Good food
For most people, the move towards a healthy, balanced
diet means eating more bread, breakfast cereals, potatoes, pasta, rice and
more fruit and vegetables.
The key To a healthy diet is simple: it is recommended
that you eat a variety of foods from the five groups illustrated, in the
Starch and Fibre
Foods like bread, breakfast cereal, pasta, potatoes and
rice are the main source of starch and fibre in our diets. They are also a
good source of other nutrients and most of us need to eat more of these
Many people believe that starchy foods are fattening.
But they are not, unless they are served, or cooked wit fat. For example,
chips contain around three times as many calories as boiled potatoes.
Wholegrain varieties of starchy foods are a
particularly good choice. Foods such as wholemeal bread, brown rice and
wholegrain pasta are rich in the type of fibre that helps to prevent
constipation. They also contain more vitamins (including folic acid) and
minerals. They are also more filling.
Fruit and vegetables also contain fibre. The type of
fibre found in fruit and vegetables (and oats and beans) may help to keep
blood cholesterol levels down.
When you have plenty of fibre in your diet you need to
make sure that you also drink plenty of fluid.
A small amount of fat in the diet is essential for your
health, but eating too much fat is linked to a higher risk of coronary
heart disease, and becoming overweight.
There are two main types of fat - saturates and
Eating too many foods that are high in saturates
increase cholesterol levels in the blood, so keep these to a minimum.
Meat, butter and other spreads provide most of the saturates in our diet.
Pies, cakes, biscuits and chocolates are also high in saturates.
Some unsaturates (which include polyunsaturates and
monounsaturates) are necessary in small quantities for good health. Rich
source of unsaturates are vegetable oils, such as rapeseed, sunflower,
corn, Soya and olive oil, and soft margarines labeled "high in
polyunsaturates", nuts and oily fish such as herring, mackerel and
sardines. Try to eat fish more often - aim for twice a week, including
oily fish at least once a week.
How to Eat Less Fat
Choose low - or reduced fat spreads (preferably high
in mono or polyunsaturated).
Use semi-skimmed or skimmed milk.
Use low-fat yoghurt, or low-fat fromage frais instead
of cream, evaporated or condensed milk.
Try half-fat hard cheese or cottage cheese.
Avoid oily salad dressings and mayonnaise.
Cut down on crisps, chocolates, cakes, pastries and
Remove the skin from chicken and turkey before
Grill, microwave, steam, poach, bake or boil foods
rather than fry.
Buy the leanest cuts of meat you can afford, and trim
of all the visible fat.
Cut down on fatty meat products like beefburgers,
sausages, mince and pies.
Use as little oil and fat for cooking as possible.
Sugar contains only calories, with no other nutrients,
and eating sugary foods and drinks too often is a major cause of tooth
If you are overweight, cutting back on sugar is one of
the easiest ways to cut calories without losing nutrients.
How to Cut Down on Sugar
Try drinking tea and coffee with out sugar.
When buying soft drinks, choose low-calorie ones or
unsweetened fruit juices.
Buy fruit tinned in natural juices rather than in
Go easy on cakes, biscuits, sweet pastries, sweets
Cut down on jam, marmalade, syrup, treacle and honey.
Choose wholegrain breakfast cereals rather than those
coated with sugar or honey
Try halving the sugar you use in recipes. It works
for most things (except jam, meringues and ice-cream)
Use low-sugar varieties of bought puddings and
Too much salt in the diet can lead to high blood
pressure, which can cause coronary heart disease, kidney disease and
Most of us eat more salt than we need. On average, our
salt intake needs to be reduced by one third.
How to Eat Less Salt
Use less or no salt in cooking
Always taste food before adding salt. Get out of the
habit of putting salt on food automatically.
Cut down on crisps, salted nuts and other salty
When buying tinned vegetables choose ones marked no
Cut down on salted meats like bacon, ham and salt
Stock cubes are very salty. Try making your own stock
or use less stock cube and more herbs and spices for flavour.
Many ready-prepared savoury dishes and sauces can be
very salty. Check the label for those with less added salt.