- Eat the right number of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight. If you eat too little you’ll lose weight. The average man needs around 2,500 calories a day. The average woman needs 2,000 calories. Most adults are eating more calories than they need, and should eat fewer calories.
- Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
These practical tips cover the basics of healthy eating, and can help you make healthier choices:
- Base your meals on starchy foods
Starchy foods include potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread. Choose wholegrain varieties when you can: they contain more fibre, and can make you feel full for longer. Starchy foods should make up around one third of the foods you eat.
Most of us should eat more starchy foods: try to include at least one starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram they contain fewer than half the calories of fat. Learn more in Starchy foods.
- Eat lots of fruit and vegIt’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day. It’s easier than it sounds. A glass of 100% unsweetened fruit juice can count as one portion, and vegetables cooked into dishes also count. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for some dried fruit? Learn more in 5 A DAY.
- Eat more fishFish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least two portions a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease. You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned; but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards. Non-oily fish include haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tinned tuna, skate and hake. Anyone who regularly eats a lot of fish should try to choose as wide a variety as possible.