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A healthy diet is really important for how we feel today and also on our longer term health. It can really help with managing our weight, and can also help us to get into and stay in the healthy weight range. It is also important for:
- reducing our risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and some cancers
- helping us manage mood swings and stress
- better sleep and rest
- helping our skin, hair and nails look healthier.
A healthy diet is a way of life, rather than a quick change. It can make a real difference to how we look and feel. It is easier to manage your diet when you know what you are eating. Cooking for yourself, rather than eating ready meals, will help you to have a better understanding of what is in your food.
Here’s some simple guidelines for you:
- Find the right balance – it’s not about never having the foods that you love, it’s about finding a good balance and enjoying a variety of foods to you get the nutrients your body needs.
- Make some simple swaps – making some simple swaps can have a big effect for example, if you eat chips more than once a week, maybe swap them for a jacket potato or brown rice, if you have sugary cereal in the morning maybe swap it for porridge with honey.
- Watch how much you are eating - Eat the right amount of calories for how active you are. If you eat or drink too much, you'll put on weight. If you eat and drink too little, you'll lose weight. It is recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should have around 2,000 calories a day (8,400 kilojoules).
- Watch out for hidden calories – ready meals, cooking sauces, oils, fats etc can often go unaccounted and yet can be high in calories and fat. Don’t be tempted to think they don’t count!
- Eat lots of fruit and veg – try and get at least five different portions in every day
- Eat more fish – Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week, including at least one portion of oily fish.