Your body needs the right fuel to function. An ideal diet should be a balance of:
Fruit ‘n’ veg. Around five portions per day of fresh, frozen, tinned or dried fruit and vegetables
Starchy food. Seven or eight portions of starchy food per day such as rice, bread, potatoes and pasta. Wholegrain tends to be best.
Dairy. Three portions per day of cheese, yoghurt, low fat milk or other dairy products.
Protein. Two portions of meat, fish, eggs or beans to include two portions of fish per week and 70g of red meat per day.
Sugar. An occasional sugar rich item of no more than 100 calories.
What should I be eating less of?
Eating high amounts of salt, fat and sugar can cause serious health problems.
Don’t eat more than around 6g of salt per day. Salt raises blood pressure and causes damage to the insides of your blood vessels.
Don’t eat more than 20g of saturated fat and 70g of total fat per day. Too much fat will raise your cholesterol and lead to health issues such as heart disease and stroke.
Don’t eat more than 90g of sugar per day. Eating too much sugar reduces how effectively your pancreas works. This leads to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The traffic light system
The traffic light system was introduced by the Food Standards Agency and the government to help guide us to make healthier choices more quickly and easily. Look out for the wheel on your food.
Eating healthily and fuelling your body well reduces the risk of many diseases and illnesses such as;
Coronary heart disease
Some forms of cancer
Eating well helps you look and feel good, improving symptoms of mental illness such as depression. It can boost your mental/physical performance and improve your self-esteem.
What should I be drinking?
That’s an easy one. Water. And plenty of it.
Depending on your lifestyle you should be drinking around eight glasses of water (or two litres) per day. It’s a convenient and cost effective resource, however if you’re not keen on water you can always try sparkling water or water infused with a slice of lemon or lime.
What should I be drinking less of?
Drinks with caffeine such as tea and coffee dehydrate the body so you should limit these to around three cups of coffee and four cups of tea per day.
Like caffeine, alcohol dehydrates the body but is fine in moderation. Around two to three units per day for women and three to four per day for men is the maximum daily guideline
Regularly exceeding this will have a detrimental effect on your physical and mental health.
Your body is 60 – 70% water and it uses this water to help with many different processes, including:
Transporting nutrients and oxygen around your body
Getting rid of waste products
Controlling your temperature
The function of your digestive system
Drinking enough water will also help to keep your skin healthy.
Changing from an unhealthy diet to a healthy one can feel like an epic step. It doesn’t need to be. Try one change at a time and make it a small one. Changing something like how often you have a fatty takeaway from twice a week to once a week will make a big difference. You’ll feel your body thanking you as you make more changes and healthier choices. You’ll most likely feel more energised, be able to concentrate better and even start to look healthier from your waist-line to how your skin and hair look. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference to your health, waist-line and purse.
Want to know more?
Here are some good places to start. These sites will give you in depth information on making the right choices with your food and what happens to your body if you continually use the wrong the fuel.
Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about how we can support you with your healthy eating and drinking, we’d be delighted to help.
0800 862 0142
Four tips to get you started…
Eating healthier starts with one small step. Why not try one of these today?
Don’t add extra salt to your cooking, and remove the salt cellar from the table.
Keep a food diary for a month and review what you eat, the things you can afford to lose, or eat more of.
Meal plan, this will help you make healthier choices and reduce the time it takes to shop. Good plans can help reduce your weekly shopping bill.
Put a water bottle on your desk and fill it up when it gets empty. This will encourage you to drink water throughout the day.