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Top tips for healthy eating

Posted on 26/06/2013

It’s never too late to start eating healthily. A healthy diet doesn't have to be boring and doesn't mean going without your favourite treats, although you might do well to eat them less often or in smaller portions. Eating well means that you are likely to feel healthier, stay active for longer and protect yourself against illness. You might be surprised by how much more energy you have. Eating well means enjoying your food and having plenty of variety and balance in what you eat.

Fruit and vegetables

Research shows that people who eat plenty of fruit and vegetables are less likely to develop heart disease, certain cancers and eye conditions. Try to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables each day. Aim for five portions a day. A portion is roughly the amount you can fit in your hand – for example,
two satsumas, three apricots, an apple or a banana. Frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables, dried fruit and fruit juice all count. Try to choose five different-coloured ones to have with or between meals.

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and nuts

Eat a portion of any of these foods at two of your daily meals. They all contain protein, which build and repair your body. You don’t need to eat meat or fish every day – try cheese, well-cooked eggs, beans, lentils or tofu instead. Try to eat fish twice a week – one portion of white fish such as haddock or cod, and one portion of oily fish such as salmon or sardines. Oily fish are rich in vitamin D and a type of fat that helps to prevent heart disease. Avoid frying meat or fish.

Foods containing fat and sugar

Cut down on foods that are high in saturated fat or sugar. This includes foods such as butter, ghee, cakes, biscuits, sausages, meat pies, paté and fatty meat. Don’t fill up on them at the expense of more nutritious foods. Saturated fats raise the level of cholesterol in the blood and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Breads, other cereals and potatoes

Have a serving of starchy food (bread, chapatis, breakfast cereal, potatoes, yams, rice or pasta) with every meal. These foods give you energy. Wholegrain foods such as brown rice or wholegrain bread or pasta contain B vitamins, minerals and fibre that keep you well and help prevent constipation.

Milk and dairy foods

These foods contain calcium, which helps to keep bones strong. Try to have three servings a day and choose lower-fat versions, such as semi-skimmed milk, half-fat cheese and low-fat paneer where you can. A serving can be a cup of milk, pot of yoghurt, matchbox-size piece of cheese, or small pot of cottage cheese.

This article was written for You're the Boss by Jackie Bennett

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