What we eat affects how we feel and how healthy we are.
Top tips for healthy eating
- Eat regular meals: It's tempting to skip meals when we're rushing, but regular meals are best.
- Grab your 5 a day: Eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables will help to keep your body healthy and ensure you get plenty of vital vitamins and minerals. Try to eat as many different types of fruit and vegetables, too – there are literally hundreds to choose from, and loads of different way to cook and combine them
Have carbohydrates (a starchy food choice) with every meal: Carbohydrates include bread, rice, pasta, wraps, pitta, chapattis, pancakes, cereals and potatoes. These foods provide your body with energy, so having a starchy choice at each meal will boost your energy levels.
Have 3 portions of lower fat dairy each day: Milk, yoghurt and cheese all count towards your dairy intake. These foods are high in calcium, which is needed to keep your teeth and bones healthy. A portion would be 200ml of milk, 150g of yoghurt or 25g of cheese.
Eat 2 portions of protein-rich food each day: Protein is found in pork, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, fish and eggs. Don’t eat some of those meats? Vegetarian? No problem, you can still get all the protein you need from beans, lentils and other ‘pulses’ and from vegetarian options like soya mince or Quorn products. Protein is needed for growth, development and repairing your body – so it’s vital to keep you fit and strong.
Cut down on high fat/sugary foods: These foods do give you energy, but if you have too many then you’re more likely to put on weight. Even if you are a healthy weight, if you have too much fat and sugar you will be putting a strain on your body – even if you can’t see it and don’t feel it.
Eat your breakfast: Eating breakfast is a great way to kick start your day, getting in those important vitamins and minerals, giving you the energy you need and helping boost your concentration. Healthy breakfast ideas include cereals (Weetabix, porridge, Shreddies etc), brown toast, yoghurt with fruit, toasted teacake, fruit bread or crumpets.
Drink 6-8 drinks a day: You need to drink 6-8 drinks a day to keep your body hydrated. If you don’t drink enough, you might find it hard to concentrate, feel tired or get headaches. This should be mostly water – one can be a 150ml of fruit juice (see point 2), but don’t fill up on fruit juice as it’s high in sugar. The same goes for some flavoured waters.
The food pyramid is a good place to start – giving you the nutrients you need to grow, be active, and do the things you love.
You could try cooking for yourself or help prepare meals at home, Healthy eating doesn't need to be dull.
For quick meal menus and recipes visit the Change 4 Life recipe section, where you'll find a lot of great ideas to whip a healthy meal. It's worth cooking in bulk too because this means you will have home-made ready meals available for super quick healthy dinners.
We know that fussy eating is not uncommon. The following things may help:
- Keep trying new foods and be adventurous by making them in different ways (e.g. carrot cooked, uncooked, grated, mixed in a sauce etc.)
- Challenge yourself! Try food that you haven't had before or revisit food you disliked in the past.
- Aim for no more than two snacks a day