#1: Cut Down On Saturated Fat & Sugar
Saturated Fat In Our Diets
Now we all need some fat in our diet, however, it's important to pay attention to the amount of fat as well as the type of fat we're eating. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood whilst it increases your risk of developing heart disease.
The average man should take in no more than 30g saturated fat per day while the average woman should take in no more than 20g saturated far per day. So what foods contain saturated fat? Here are a few common foods that contain a high amount of saturated fat:
- hard cheese
Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake, and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados. It can be difficult to change diets so the small gains can be a huge success. Try swapping out some of the foods with saturated fats for unsaturated fats.
Sugar In Our Diets
Consuming foods and drinks which are high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay as you may already know, however, what isn't mentioned nearly enough is the contribution to weight gain which has a highly detrimental effect on your health.
If you've ever tried to monitor the amount of sugar you're taking in you might have noticed that it's everywhere!
Foods High In Sugar:
- sugary fizzy drinks
- alcoholic drinks
- sugary breakfast cereals
These foods contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on, rather than sugars that are found in things such as fruit and milk.
Food labels can help: use them to check how much sugar foods contain. More than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g means that the food is high in sugar, while 5g of total sugars or less per 100g means that the food is low in sugar.
#2: Eat More fish – Including A Portion of Oily Fish
Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish contains omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease.
Oily fish include:
Non-oily fish include:
If you regularly eat a lot of fish, try to choose as wide a variety as possible. You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned: but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.
#3: Never Skip Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Opt for something that will release energy slowly — porridge and a handful of blueberries are a great option!
Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that people who regularly eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight. Breakfast has also been shown to have positive effects on children’s mental performance and increase their concentration throughout the morning.
A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. A wholegrain, lower-sugar cereal with fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and nutritious breakfast.
#4: Get Active & Be A Healthy Weight
Eating a healthy, balanced diet plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy weight, which is an important part of overall good health. Being overweight or obese can lead to health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. Being underweight could also affect your health.
Most adults need to lose weight, and need to eat fewer calories to do this. If you're trying to lose weight, aim to eat less and be more active. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help: aim to cut down on foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar, and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Don't forget that alcohol is also high in calories, so cutting down can help you to control your weight.
Physical activity can help you to maintain weight loss or be a healthy weight. Being active doesn't have to mean hours at the gym: you can find ways to fit more activity into your daily life. For example, try getting off the bus one stop early on the way home from work, and walking.
Being physically active may help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. For more ideas, see Get active your way. After getting active, remember not to reward yourself with a treat that is high in energy. If you feel hungry after activity, choose foods or drinks that are lower in calories, but still filling.
#5: Stay Hydrated
We need to drink plenty of fluids to stop us getting dehydrated – the government recommends 6-8 glasses every day. This is in addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water and lower-fat milk are healthier choices.
Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars and calories, and are also bad for teeth.
Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies are high in free sugar. Your combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies should not be more than 150ml a day – which is a small glass.
For example, if you have 150ml of orange juice and 150ml smoothie in one day, you'll have exceeded the recommendation by 150ml. When the weather is warm, or when we get active, we may need more fluids.