7 Tips for eating well

Regularly eating more calories than your body needs over time will result in weight gain and can lead to obesity. Over 50% of adults in the UK and Europe are overweight or obese, which means most of us are eating too many calories. To help us eat a healthy, balanced diet, Public Health England have developed the 8 tips for eating well.

  1. Base your meals on starchy carbohydrates
  • Starchy carbohydrate foods include potatoes, bread, pasta, rice and noodles.
  • Where possible choose wholegrain or higher fibre versions without added fat, salt and sugar, or leave the skins on potatoes.
  •  Starchy carbohydrate foods contain fewer than half the calories of fats per gram.
  1. Eat lots of fruit and veg
  • Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day as they contain different combinations of vitamins and minerals.
  • Fresh, frozen, tinned, dried and juiced all count but remember unsweetened fruit juice and/or smoothies should be limited to 150ml per day in total and dried fruit should be limited to about 1 tablespoon (30g) per day and eaten with a meal.

You could try grating vegetables like carrots and courgettes into a Bolognese sauce or add lots of vegetables to homemade tomato sauce and blend

Why eat these foods?

Different fruit and vegetables contain:

  • Vitamin C – important for maintaining healthy body tissues.

Red bell pepper – a cup of chopped red bell pepper contains -190 mg vitamin C.

Kale – 70 g serving provides 80.4 mg of vitamin C

Strawberries – 200 g contains 84.7 mg of vitamin C.

  • Vitamin A – important for maintenance of normal vision, skin and the immune system.

One of the best vegetables for vitamin A is the sweet potato.

Sweet potato – 100g accounts for around 473% of the recommended daily value

Carrots are extremely rich in beta-carotene, and they contain 334% of vitamin A’s recommended daily amount per 100g

  • Folate – important for normal and healthy blood formation.

Chickpeas: ½ cup: 557 mcg (over 100% DV)

Pinto beans: ½ cup: 146 mcg (37% DV)

Lentils: ½ cup: 179 mcg (45% DV)

  • Fibre – helps to maintain a healthy gut.

Avocados: 10.1 grams per cup (150 grams)

Asian Pears: 9.9 grams per medium pear (275 grams)

Berries: 8 grams of fiber per cup (123 grams)

Coconut: 7.2 grams per cup (80 grams)

Recommended Daily Fiber:

  • Women: 25 fiber grams
  • Men: 35–40 fiber grams
  • Potassium – helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure and is also important for the normal functioning of the nervous system.

Avocado: 1 whole: 1,067 milligrams (30 percent DV)

Acorn Squash: 1 cup: 896 milligrams (26 percent DV)

Spinach: 1 cup cooked: 839 milligrams (24 percent DV)

Banana: 1 large: 487 milligrams (14 percent DV)

Recommended Daily

  • Adults age 19 and older, men and women: 4,700 milligrams/day
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding: 5,100 milligrams/day
  1. Cut down on saturated fat and sugars
  • Swapping saturated fat, found in butter, ghee, chocolate, cheese and fatty cuts of meat, with unsaturated fat, found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocado, can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood.
  • Too much sugar, especially between meals, can increase risk of tooth decay and will add extra calories so cut down on sugary foods and drinks like cereals high in sugar, cakes, biscuits and sugary drinks. If you get a sweet craving you could try having fruit on yogurt instead, helping you to achieve your 5-a-day!
  • Use food labels to help you choose foods lower in saturated fat and sugars by choosing varieties with more green and ambers on the front of pack label.

  1. Eat less salt
  • Adults should eat no more than 6g (1 teaspoon) per day and children should have even less. A high salt intake is associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure which puts you at a greater risk of developing stroke or heart disease.
  • Most of our salt intake comes from processed foods rather than salt added during cooking or at the table, so always check food labels for the salt content! When comparing foods, a high salt content is more than 1.5g salt per 100g and low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g.
  • Try using extra herbs, spices, citrus juices (lemon and lime), or vinegar to flavour foods so you can use less salt in your recipes.
  1. Get active and be a healthy weight
  • The British Nutrition Foundation recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity physical activity for adults 19-64 years of age and muscle strength training on at least two days per week.
  1. Don’t get thirsty
  • Aim for 6-8 glasses of fluid per day. Water is the best choice as it hydrates you without adding any extra calories to your daily intake.
  • Other good options include unsweetened tea and coffee, sugar free drinks and low fat milk. Unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies count but remember intake should be limited to 150ml a day.
  • Alcohol does not count because it makes you pass urine more frequently.
  1. Don’t skip breakfast

• A healthy breakfast can provide fibre, calories, vitamins and minerals important for health.
• Choose wholegrain cereals, porridge or wholemeal toast for a healthy start to the day.
• Swap sugary breakfast cereals for plain cereals such as plain porridge, no added sugar muesli or wholegrain cereals.