“You are what you eat. So don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake.”
Eating healthily doesn’t have to be dull or difficult. More than ever now, you can enjoy delicious, healthy meals from foods that are affordable, available, and easy to prepare.
At the Mary How Trust we’re great believers in enjoying a wide variety of food – including treats!
It’s all about moderation, and the ‘eat well plate’ is a helpful guide to getting the balance right. Our nurses will be happy to give you all the advice or guidance you need at your consultation.
Aim for at least 5 portions of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables every day. Tuck into a rainbow of different colours – as well as enjoying the variety you’ll benefit from the widest range of nutrients.
In the UK only 31% of adults up to 64 years, 32% of adults aged 65-74 years, and 19% of older adults aged 65 and over, eat the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. And only 8% of 11-18 year olds meet the 5 A Day recommendation. (Source: The National Diet And Nutrition Survey Years 7 & 8 Combined, 2014-2016)
Aim to eat 2 or more portions a week. Try to make one of those an oily fish like mackerel. Oily fish are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids – essential for a healthy heart. If you’re a vegetarian, beans, nuts and seeds are proteins high in Omega 3, so you won’t miss out!
A small amount of fat is essential for a healthy diet. It’s a major source of energy, and helps your body absorb certain nutrients from food. But too much fat can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. Try to cut down on saturated and trans fats (such as meat products, butter, cheese, biscuits) and replace these with unsaturated fats (such as vegetable oils, avocados, brazil nuts, oily fish).
These are rich in fibre and B vitamins, and help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Ditch the white bread and white rice in favour of wholemeal bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and wholegrain breakfast cereals. As well as being a healthier choice, they’re tastier too!
(eg) lentils, beans, and chickpeas. These amazing foods are low in calories, low in fat, high in fibre, an excellent source of cheap protein, and packed with iron, other minerals and B vitamins. What could be better?
Too much salt can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure. Don’t eat more than 6g of salt a day – keep an eye on food labels, and add herbs and spices in your cooking rather than that customary pinch of salt.
As well as causing tooth decay, affecting your complexion and making it harder to control your weight, sugary foods leave you feeling hungrier sooner. Our love affair with sugar is fuelling an obesity epidemic – which is associated with cancer, cardiovascular risk, disability in old age, diabetes and osteoarthritis. Avoid it! Sugars include sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolised starch, invert sugar, corn syrup, and honey.
Your favourite foods may contain surprising amounts of added sugar. A good rule of thumb is: 4g of sugar equals one teaspoon. It’s a shock to picture 5 spoons of sugar in that small pot of fat-free fruit yoghurt!
If you have a sweet tooth it can be hard to cut all sugary foods from your diet. But a square of dark chocolate could do the trick! Dark chocolate (containing at least 70% cocoa beans) has health benefits – it’s packed with antioxidants and can help lower your blood pressure. Remember it’s also packed with calories, so try to enjoy one square rather than a whole bar…
It can be hard to leave food on the plate, and large portions mean you’ll end up eating more than you need. While they may brighten your dinner table, fashionable large dinner plates are bad news for the waistline. Even a large portion of food can look lost in the middle of a 12” plate! Eat slowly – it’ll give you time to feel full before you reach for more. And if you’re going to pile your plate high with anything, make sure it’s with vegetables (this does NOT include potatoes!).
In the 20 years from 1993 to 2013, portions grew by 50%. (British Heart Foundation study, “Portion Distortion”)
Eat little & often. Healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts or oatcakes will beat hunger pangs, and you won’t be so tempted to eat large portions at your next meal. And never skip breakfast – a healthy breakfast will sustain your energy levels, balance your blood sugar, keep you feeling mentally sharper – and its effects last all day.
This will help you keep an eye on what you’re eating, with at-a-glance information to help you make the healthiest choices. The label will also include useful guidelines for the approximate amount of nutrients and calories you need each day for a healthy, balanced diet. As part of a balanced diet, your reference intakes (RIs) per day are as follows:
Our bodies are 50-65% water – don’t let yourself get dehydrated! The recommended daily amount of water to drink is 1½ to 2 litres, and this includes the water in coffee, tea and the foods you eat.
When you exercise, your fluid intake should increase.
As well as quenching your thirst, water has many health benefits, such as:
And it's free!
The average adult body contains roughly 41 litres (72 pints of water).