A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Achieving a healthy diet means eating a variety of foods in the right proportions. Often the foods we eat contain too much fat, sugar and salt and don’t have enough starchy foods and fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Starchy foods such as bread, potatoes and pasta, provide the body with energy. A healthy meal should be base on starchy foods, which should make up about a third of what we eat.
- Fruit and vegetables provide us with vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, which helps us to digest our food. Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
- Meat, fish, eggs and beans provide us with protein which is essential for the growth and repair of our bodies. Lean meat is also a great source of vitamins and minerals such as iron. There is evidence to show that oily fish protects against heart disease when eaten two or more times a week. However it is important to remember that women who are pregnant or breast feeding should eat no more than two portions of oily fish per week.
- Milk and dairy foods are important sources of calcium and other nutrients. Try to choose low-fat varieties wherever possible, for example semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt and half-fat hard cheese.
- Fat and sugar- try to cut down on foods such as fried food, pastry, butter, biscuits, sweets, cakes and sugary drinks like cola. Cutting down on foods containing fat can reduce your risk of heart disease and can help you to avoid putting on weight.
For further information on healthy eating visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/eatwell-plate.aspx