The key to a healthy diet is to do the following:
- Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
- Eat the right number of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight. The average man needs around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). The average woman needs 2,000 calories (8,400 kilojoules). Most adults are eating more calories than they need, and should eat fewer calories.
These practical tips cover the basics of healthy eating, and can help you make healthier choices:
Base your meals on starchy foods
Most of us should eat more starchy foods: try to include at least one starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram they contain fewer than half the calories of fat. Health Tips for Today - Healthy Eating Tips (Balanced Diet).
Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
We all need some fat in our diet. But it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we’re eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as hard cheese, cakes, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard and pies. Try to cut down, and choose foods that contain unsaturated rather than saturated fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.
For a healthier choice, use a just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. When you're having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat. Learn more, and get tips on cutting down, in Eat less saturated fat.
Most people in the UK eat and drink too much sugar. Sugary foods and drinks, including alcoholic drinks, are often high in energy (measured in kilojoules or calories), and could contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals.
Cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, alcoholic drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on rather than sugars that are found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk.
Food labels can help: use them to check how much sugar foods contain. More than 22.5g of sugar per 100g means that the food is high in sugar.
Don't get thirsty
Health Tips for Today - Healthy Eating Tips (Balanced Diet).
Don’t skip breakfast
Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt. Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt a day. Younger children should have even less. Health Tips for Today - Healthy Eating Tips (Balanced Diet).
Eat lots of fruit and veg
Eat more fish
Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards. Non-oily fish include haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tinned tuna, skate and hake. Anyone who regularly eats a lot of fish should try to choose as wide a variety as possible. Health Tips for Today - Healthy Eating Tips (Balanced Diet).
Get active and be a healthy weight
Most adults need to lose weight, and need to eat fewer calories in order to do this. If you're trying to lose weight, aim to eat less and be more active. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help: aim to cut down on foods that are high in fat and sugar, and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Don't forget that alcohol is also high in calories, so cutting down can help you to control your weight. You can find information and advice in Lose weight. If you’re underweight. If you're worried about your weight, ask your GP or a dietitian for advice.
Physical activity can help you to maintain weight loss or be a healthy weight. Being active doesn’t have to mean hours at the gym: you can find ways to fit more activity into your daily life. For example, try getting off the bus one stop early on the way home from work, and walking. Being physically active may help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. For more ideas, see Get active your way.
After getting active, remember not to reward yourself with a treat that is high in energy. If you feel hungry after activity, choose foods or drinks that are lower in calories but still filling.
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