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8 tips for healthy eating

Achieving a healthy lifestyle hinges on mastering these eight fundamental tips, which encapsulate the essence of nutritious eating and pave the way for better dietary choices.

The cornerstone of a wholesome diet is caloric balance, aligning your energy intake with your activity level. Excessive consumption results in weight gain, as unutilized energy transforms into fat reserves. Conversely, inadequate intake leads to weight loss.

Variety is key; a diverse food selection ensures a well-rounded diet that caters to your body's nutritional needs. To maintain equilibrium, men require approximately 2,500 calories daily (equivalent to 10,500 kilojoules), while women should aim for around 2,000 calories daily (equivalent to 8,400 kilojoules).

By embracing these principles, you can embark on a journey toward optimal health through mindful eating.

1. Base your meals on higher fiber starchy carbohydrates

Starchy carbohydrates play a crucial role in your diet, constituting slightly over a third of your food intake. This category encompasses staples like potatoes, bread, rice, pasta, and various cereals.

For a healthier choice, opt for high-fiber or wholegrain options like wholewheat pasta, brown rice, or potatoes with their skins intact. These selections pack more fiber than their refined counterparts, aiding in prolonged satiety.

Incorporating at least one starchy component into each primary meal is a smart move. It's worth noting that despite misconceptions, starchy foods are not inherently fattening. Gram for gram, their carbohydrate content delivers less than half the calories of fat.

Pay attention to the fats you introduce during cooking or serving these foods, as they contribute to calorie increase. Examples include oil drizzled on chips, butter spread on bread, and rich, creamy sauces drenched over pasta. Making mindful choices can help you maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.

2. Eat lots of fruit and veg

Meeting the recommended daily intake of at least 5 portions of diverse fruits and vegetables may seem like a challenge, but it's entirely attainable. These portions can take various forms – fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or even in juice form.

Incorporating your "5 A Day" can be a breeze. Try topping your morning cereal with sliced bananas or replacing your typical mid-morning snack with a piece of fresh fruit.

A serving of fresh, canned, or frozen produce equates to 80g, while dried fruits, best consumed during mealtimes, measure 30g per portion.

Remember, a 150ml serving of fruit juice, vegetable juice, or a smoothie also counts as one portion. However, it's wise to limit your intake to just one glass per day, as these beverages tend to be sugary and may harm your dental health.

3. Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish

Fish is a nutritional powerhouse, brimming with protein and an array of essential vitamins and minerals.

Strive to incorporate at least 2 servings of fish into your weekly diet, with one of those servings being oily fish. Oily fish are a stellar source of omega-3 fatty acids, renowned for their potential in averting heart disease.

Oily fish selections encompass salmon, trout, herring, sardines, pilchards, and mackerel. Conversely, non-oily options encompass haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tuna, skate, and hake.

Whether fresh, frozen, or canned, the choice is yours, but exercise caution with canned and smoked fish due to their elevated salt content.

While most individuals should embrace more fish in their diet, it's vital to acknowledge recommended consumption limits for specific fish types.

4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

Saturated fat

Incorporating fat into your diet is essential, yet the type and quantity of fat merit careful consideration.

Two primary fat categories exist: saturated and unsaturated. Excessive saturated fat consumption elevates blood cholesterol levels, heightening the risk of heart disease.

As a general guideline, men should cap their daily saturated fat intake at 30g, while women should aim for no more than 20g. However, children under 11 should consume even less, though extremely low-fat diets aren't suitable for those under 5.

Saturated fat sources encompass fatty meats, sausages, butter, hard cheeses, cream, cakes, biscuits, lard, and pies. Opt for unsaturated fats instead, found in vegetable oils, spreads, oily fish, and avocados.

For a healthier alternative, utilize modest quantities of vegetable or olive oil or reduced-fat spreads rather than butter, lard, or ghee. When selecting meat, lean cuts are preferable and trim visible fat.

Bear in mind that all fats are calorie-dense, warranting their consumption in moderation.


Frequent consumption of high-sugar foods and beverages escalates the risk of obesity and tooth decay, posing significant health concerns.

Sugary items are often calorie-dense and, when overindulged, can contribute to weight gain. Moreover, they're notorious for promoting tooth decay, particularly if consumed between meals.

The culprits are free sugars, which include sugars added to foods or beverages and those naturally occurring in honey, syrups, unsweetened fruit juices, and smoothies. Notably, this pertains to added sugars, not the sugars inherent in fruits and milk.

Surprisingly, many packaged products harbor substantial amounts of free sugars, including sugary fizzy drinks, breakfast cereals, cakes, biscuits, pastries, puddings, candies, chocolates, and alcoholic beverages.

Perusing food labels proves invaluable. Look for the sugar content—anything with more than 22.5g of total sugar per 100g is high in sugar, whereas 5g of total sugar or less per 100g signifies a low-sugar option. Making informed choices about sugar intake is paramount for better health.

5. Eat less salt: no more than 6g a day for adults

Excessive salt intake can elevate blood pressure, a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

It's crucial to recognize that even without adding salt to your meals, you might still be surpassing healthy limits. Approximately 75% of the salt consumed comes from pre-packaged foods like breakfast cereals, soups, bread, and sauces.

Empower yourself by utilizing food labels to reduce salt intake. Foods containing over 1.5g of salt per 100g are considered high in salt.

For optimal health, adults and individuals aged 11 and above should restrict salt intake to no more than 6g daily, roughly equivalent to a teaspoon. Younger children should consume even less to maintain a balanced diet. Reducing salt can safeguard your cardiovascular well-being.

6. Get active and be a healthy weight

In addition to adopting a nutritious diet, incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle holds the potential to mitigate the risk of serious health ailments while nurturing your overall well-being.

Exercise yields a myriad of benefits; it bolsters physical fitness, fosters mental health, and reduces the likelihood of chronic health conditions. To explore these advantages further, delve into the comprehensive guidelines for physical activity among adults.

Maintaining a healthy weight is pivotal, as excess weight can precipitate conditions like type 2 diabetes, specific cancers, heart disease, and stroke. Conversely, being underweight can also pose health risks.

For those striving to shed pounds, the formula often involves a combination of calorie reduction and increased physical activity. Aligning with a well-rounded, balanced diet further facilitates weight management.

Curious about your weight status? Utilize the BMI healthy weight calculator to gauge your condition accurately. If you're pursuing weight loss, explore the NHS weight loss plan—a 12-week program integrating guidance on healthier eating and physical engagement.

In the event you find yourself underweight, refer to resources for underweight adults. Should weight concerns linger, seek counsel from your GP or a dietitian to embark on a path to optimal health.

7. Do not get thirsty

Staying adequately hydrated is imperative to prevent dehydration. The government recommends a daily intake of 6 to 8 glasses of fluids, alongside the hydration derived from your food.

All non-alcoholic beverages contribute to your daily fluid intake, but opting for water, lower-fat milk, and beverages with reduced sugar content, like tea and coffee, promotes better health.

Steer clear of sugary soft drinks and fizzy beverages, as they pack a calorie punch and pose a threat to your dental health.

Even seemingly innocent unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies are laden with free sugars, so moderation is key. The combined total of fruit juice, vegetable juice, and smoothie consumption should not exceed 150ml daily, equivalent to a petite glass.

In hot weather or during physical activity, remember to boost your fluid intake to stay adequately hydrated.

8. Do not skip breakfast

Breakfast is a meal often omitted by some in pursuit of weight loss, but the approach may not align with health goals.

A nutritious breakfast, rich in fiber and devoid of excess fat, sugar, and salt, plays a pivotal role in a well-rounded diet. It serves as a prime source of essential nutrients essential for overall health.

Opt for a breakfast that encompasses wholegrain, lower-sugar cereal paired with semi-skimmed milk. Top it off with slices of fresh fruit for a delectable and health-conscious start to your day. This combination not only tantalizes the taste buds but also fulfills your nutritional requirements, promoting your well-being.

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