What is a healthy diet?
Eating well helps you to achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle. A healthy, balanced diet includes a range of different types of foods eaten in the right amounts. This helps to keep your body healthy and reduce your risk of poor health now and in the future. Eating well gives you energy, helps you concentrate and boosts your mood too.
What is a Healthy Diet?
Understanding what to eat as part of a healthy balanced diet can be confusing. The Eatwell Guide is a visual representation of which foods most people should eat and in what amounts to achieve a healthier diet.
There are five main types of foods to include in your diet, and it is important to each a variety of different foods within each group. The five groups are:
Having a varied diet is important to get a range of nutrients. Eating foods in the right amounts is also important towards maintaining a healthy weight. In the Eatwell Guide the size of each sections suggests how much of each food group you need to eat. The bigger the section the more you need. Fruit and vegetables are one of the largest sections which mean you should eat lots from this group – at least five portions a day. Some foods should only be eaten in small amounts as the section of the plate is much smaller, such as oils and spreads.
Many of us enjoy treat foods and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar but we don’t actually need these in our diet, These foods are set to one side of the Eatwell Guide to show not to eat these very often or in large amounts. Most children and adults eat too much saturated fat, salt and sugar and should make changes to cut down on these.
Who is the Eatwell Guide for?
The Guide is recommended for most people, regardless of their weight, ethnicity or preference as a meat eater or vegetarian. Children aged 2 to 5 years should start to follow the guide. Everyone aged 5 and older should eat a healthy, balanced diet shown by the Eatwell Guide. Some people may need to seek advice first, such as people with dietary requirements or medical needs.
When should you follow the Eatwell Guide?
Try to follow the Eatwell Guide most of the time. Not every meal or snack you have will include a food from each of the five main sections but aim for a balance over the day and week. Imagine putting all the food you eat in a day or week in to the sections of the Eatwell Guide, would your sections be the same proportion as the guide? If not then consider what you would need to change in your diet, do you need to eat more of some foods and less of others?
Top Tips for a healthy diet
Here are just eight suggestions to help you and your family follow a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle;
- Include starchy carbohydrates at meals, these include; potatoes, bread, rice pasta and other sources.
- Aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
- Eat more fish. It is recommended to eat two portions of sustainably sourced fish per week, of which one portion should be an oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, trout, herring, pilchards and salmon.
- Cut down on foods high in fat and sugar.
- Eat less salt.
- Eat well and exercise to reach and stay a heathy weight.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of fluid a day. (Plain water and milk are the only tooth friendly drinks for children).
- Have breakfast.