Bread, rice, pasta, cereals and potatoes should make up a third of what we eat. They are a good source of energy and contain fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram they contain less than half the calories of fat.
Eat at least five portions of a variety of the colourful stuff a day. You can choose from fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced - all good for you. Remember that a potato counts as a starchy food and should not be included in your five a day.
Include a portion (140g) of oily fish each week. Oily fish is rich in certain fats called Omega 3 which keeps our hearts healthy. Fish is an excellent source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including one oily fish. Remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.
We need fat but too much saturated fat (bad cholesterol) will increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. If in doubt, look at the food labels. High saturates is more than 5g per 100g. Add nuts and seeds to your diet they are great sources of healthy fat. They're quite calorific though so don't eat them like sweets.
Six grams a day is the maximum for adults and the amounts for young children depends on their age group as shown below. Just because you don't add it to your food doesn't mean it isn't there. Three quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy - cereals, soups, sauces and arguably the worst culprit, the ready meal. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure.
High salt content is more than 1.5g per 100g food. Low is 0.3g or less.
|Age||Grams per day|
About six to eight glasses of water or other fluids are needed every day to avoid being dehydrated. In the warmer months you may even need more than this. Avoid drinking soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugar.
It gives us the energy we need to face the day as well as some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. Research shows that eating breakfast can actually help with weight management - we are less likely to snack on foods high in fat or sugar before lunch.
It's not good to be either overweight or underweight. If you think you need to lose a little weight remember to only eat as much as you need. Physical activity uses up extra calories and helps control weight but you don't necessarily need the gym to do it, walking to work every day counts as exercise! Crash dieting is bad. The best way to reach a healthy weight is to change your lifestyle gradually - aim to lose about 0.5kg to 1kg per week.