Category Archive Fit for life

Healthy eating

Getting started on eating healthily can be challenging, but making some simple changes can make a world of difference to our health!

Here you’ll find information about what constitutes a healthy diet, as well as our food plate model which shows the types and proportions of foods needed to make a well-balanced and healthy diet.

Putting the principles of healthy eating into practice is not always the easiest of tasks.

That’s why we’ve created some tasty healthy recipes for you to try, and some helpful tips on meal times. Adopting some of these healthy recipes, and using them to devise your own, should help you take the first step toward healthier eating and a healthier lifestyle.

You’ll also find healthy recipes in our free information packs. Take the first step toward healthier eating and get these healthy recipe cards and other useful healthy eating information by ordering here.

If you’re wondering whether you’re already eating healthily, why not check out our quiz: How healthy is your diet? to really test yourself! If you then need some quick tips on making your everyday eating and cooking habits that bit healthier, why not check out our top tips section?

What is healthy eating?

There’s no need to be confused about food and health any longer.

For the last 20 or 30 years, nutritionists, dieticians and doctors have provided the same diet information and recommended the same basic food and health principles to guide everyone towards healthier eating.

Research into health and diet continues to confirm what we already know – ignore fad diets and follow these pointers to reduce your risk of illness and manage your weight:

  • Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Change the way you cook food – try grilling instead of frying, and steam instead of boiling.
  • Reduce the amount of fat and sugar in your diet.
  • Remember to check food labels for the amount of fat and sugar in foods. To keep yourself right, check out how much is alot?
  • Increase the amount of starchy foods (pasta, rice and potatoes).

Just as good food and health go hand-in-hand, you also need to combine all this with more physical activity to improve your overall health.

It’s also very important to enjoy your healthier eating, as this way you’re more likely to stick to the changes you make to your food and health. Also make sure that what you eat boosts your energy – a healthy balanced diet will do this!

For some more diet information and easy guidance on food and health, and what to eat each day, check out our meal ideas. You can follow some good value, good tasting, healthy recipes to give you more ideas.

Cutting down on fat

Reduce the amount of fat in your diet by grilling instead of frying. If you have to fry, use a spray oil (instead of a pouring oil or a solid fat like lard, margarine or butter). Swap your fatty snacks for breadsticks, scones, fruit, low-fat yoghurts and small sandwiches with low-fat fillings e.g. banana, low-fat cheese and cucumber or salmon.

Low-fat alternatives

Seek out the reduced or low-fat alternatives to your favourite foods. Reduced fat sausages and oven chips for example are easy to find these days – they may be labelled with phrases such as ’healthy choice’. It is worth noting that these foods may still have a substantial amount of fat in them, so it’s worth checking the labels.
for more information on food labels visit the Food Standards Agency.

When it comes to fatty foods and snacks, think F.A.T! Frequency – how often do you eat them? Try to reduce them and / or find lower fat alternatives; Amount – try to reduce the portion sizes; Type – avoid saturated fats.

For example, choose sunflower or olive oil-based margarine. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories – weight for weight, that’s a lot more than other nutrients such as the starchy foods like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. No wonder it’s best to fill up on starch.

How healthy are you?

Healthy living isn’t just about eating the right food in the right quantities or about getting the right amount of physical activity.

For genuine, all-round health, you need to think about both your diet and your activity levels.

In this area you’ll find interactive tools, namely our bmi (body mass index) calculator and our calorie expenditure calculator. These allow you to assess how healthy you really are.

Calorie expenditure calculator

For a rough guide to how many calories you will burn if you participate in 30 minutes of physical activity at a moderate intensity (remember daily recommendation!) use  calorie expenditure calculator.

BMI calculator

Use  bmi calculator (body mass index calculator) to check out your weight for height and see how it compares with recommendations for health.

Food and health quizzes

In order to help you think about how healthy you really are, why not check out our quizzes in the physical activity and healthy eating sections entitled: how active are you? and how healthy is your diet?