We are starting a series on Health in Wombourne. The following is a guest post from Reece Crooke, who runs Evolution Leisure and is also a personal fitness trainer.
When it comes to healthy eating I think we all have a rough idea of what’s good or bad for you and we tend to put what we eat into either of these categories. Understanding the types of food we eat can add a middle ground where not everything is good or bad for you. In moderation almost everything we consume day to day can be beneficial to a healthy lifestyle. Breaking foods down into the 5 main food groups can be make healthy eating quite straightforward.
When it comes to a healthy diet, balance is the key to getting it right. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Most adults in England are overweight or obese. That means many of us are eating more than we need, and should eat less. And it’s not just food: some drinks can also be high in calories. Most adults need to eat and drink fewer calories in order to lose weight, even if they already eat a balanced diet.
Food groups in our diet are broken down in to Grains, Vegetable, Fruits, proteins and dairy. By knowing the benefits and amounts of each we need can make putting a nice healthy meal together really simple. Lets get started…
Grains/starchy are also known as carbohydrates and should make up around one third of everything we eat. These include breads, rice, pasta and potatoes and are a good source of energy and fibre. Try to choose wholegrain or wholemeal varieties of starchy foods as these usually have more vitamins and minerals than white varieties.
Vegetables and fruits are a vital source of vitamins and minerals. It’s advised that we eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day which can help reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. What’s more, eating five portions is not as hard as it sounds. Just one apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is one portion. A slice of pineapple or melon is one portion. Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion.
Proteins such as meat, fish, eggs and beans are all good sources of protein vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc and B vitamins. Try to eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Again aim for up to about one third of your diet to be protein.
Beans, nuts and seeds are also great sources of protein. Nuts are high in fibre and a good alternative to snacks high in saturated fat, but they do still contain high levels of fat, so eat them in moderation.
Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are good sources of protein. They also contain calcium, which helps keep your bones healthy. To enjoy the health benefits of dairy without eating too much fat, use semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmed milk, as well as lower-fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese, and lower-fat yoghurt.
Eat less fat and sugar
Most people in the UK eat too much fat and sugar. Fats and sugar are both sources of energy for the body, but when we eat too much of them we consume more energy than we burn, and this can mean that we put on weight. This can lead to obesity, which increases our risk of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.
Try to cut down on foods that are high in saturated fat and have smaller amounts of foods that are rich in unsaturated fat instead. For a healthy choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. When having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.
Sugar occurs naturally in foods such as fruit and milk, but we don’t need to cut down on these types of foods. Sugar is also added to lots of foods and drinks such as sugary fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, pastries, ice cream and jam. It’s also contained in some ready-made savoury foods such as pasta sauces and baked beans.
Most of us need to cut down on foods high in added sugars. Instead of a fizzy drink, for example, try sparkling water. Have a currant bun as a snack instead of a pastry.
Planning your healthy meals weekly is a great way to get some good eating habits and will hopefully stop the snacking or reaching for the easy ready meals. Buy only the foods in your planner to eat and leave the junk on the shelves in the super markets. A Healthy balanced diet and regular exercise is the key to sustainable weight-loss.
For help or more information feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org, you can also book in for a free health check and advice on improving your health and fitness.
Image courtesy of lobster20 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net