It’s surprising how much of an impact starting to eat more healthily can have on your daily life. They say “you are what you eat” and eating healthier can certainly help you look and feel good.
Making a few small changes to your diet can help lift your mood, give you more energy, stay on top of your weight, look after your health and make you feel good. The list goes on and on… eating well can even help you sleep better and improve brain function too.
Tips for eating well
Keep an eye on fat
Eating too many foods that are high in fat, and not being active, can make you more likely to gain weight. This can then lead to you becoming overweight or obese, which can increase your risk of cancer, type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Trimming away visible fat from meat and opting for fish or skinless chicken can help you cut out unnecessary fat.
Watch out for added sugar
It’s surprising how much sugar is hiding in many things we eat and drink. Too much sugar can lead to the build-up of harmful fat on the inside of our bodies that we can’t see. Eating too much sugar can also cause tooth decay. See how much sugar is in popular children’s drinks, cereals, yoghurts and snacks.
Try reducing salt
Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. This can lead to high blood pressure, which can make you more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Cutting down on salt is a good way to help reduce this risk. Remember, most of the salt we eat is hiding in foods we buy. Watch out for sausages, bacon, ham, pastries, pizza, cheese, crisps, gravy and sauces like ketchup.
Eat more fruit and veg
You should aim for at least five portions of fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruit and veg a day. A good way to start is filling half your plate with salad, fruit or vegetables (potatoes or yams don’t count because they’re starch). Fruit and veg are packed with vitamins and minerals and help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. They’re also a great source of fibre, which can help you maintain a healthy gut, prevent constipation and reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
Get family involved
Eating well is important for the whole family. Preparing and making food can be a fun activity for all the family of all ages, teaching kids a life skill and helping them to make healthy choices when they grow up.
Switch to lower fat dairy
Trying skimmed or semi-skimmed milk instead of full fat is a good way to reduce fat. Look at choosing cheese that’s lower in fat too. Remember, children should be given whole milk and dairy products until they are two years old because they may not get the calories or essential vitamins they need from lower-fat products.
Use less cooking oil
Reducing cooking oil can reduce the amount of fat you’re eating, and you’ll barely notice a difference to your food. Similar changes like avoiding high fat dressings such as mayonnaise or using olive or sunflower spread instead of butter can be effective too.
Swap white rice, pasta and bread for wholegrain varieties. These varieties keep you fuller for longer and contain more fibre.
Smaller plate, smaller portions
It might seem obvious but switching to a smaller plate can help reduce your portion sizes. It really does work!
Losing weight makes a big difference
Losing just 5% of your body weight can have enormous health benefits. This isn’t as much as you might think. If you are 14st 5 (92kg) you would need to lose 10lb (4.6kg). If you are 20st 6 (130kg) the amount to lose is 14lb (6.5kg).
A good diet for your baby
Breastfeeding is a great way to give a baby the best start in life. Breastmilk helps babies fight off illness and infections in the first 6 months (such as diarrhoea and chest infections). Breastfeeding also lowers a mother’s risk of some serious illnesses such as breast cancer.
Becoming underweight can also be bad for your health. So it’s better to try to eat a balanced well-rounded diet, rather than just eating less!
Find out more
You can find out more by visiting the following websites