Eating healthily does not need to be difficult, expensive or tasteless. In fact just 8 simple steps can get you on the way to a healthy balanced diet:
- Base your meal on starchy foods such as breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam or plantain.
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
- Eat more fish, and try to include oily fish at least once each week.
- Cut down on saturated (often called bad) fat and sugar.
- Try to eat less salt – no more than 6g per day (about one teaspoon).
- Get active and try to be a healthy weight.
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
- Don’t skip breakfast.
Child or adult, sporty or not, healthy eating is for everyone. Choosing the right balance of foods is essential in keeping ourselves healthy.
Regular physical activity is good for both your physical health and mental wellbeing. People of all ages can benefit from regularly taking part in all activities of moderate intensity. For example you can swim, cycle, run, walk or go to the gym as all activity counts, including ironing, gardening and cleaning the house.
Aim for at least 30 minutes exercise or physical activity on five days each week. The good news is that this could be three ten minute bursts, two 15 minute bursts or one 30 minute session, whatever suits you best and fits in with your lifestyle. Just make sure that your heart rate increases and usually you feel a little puffed out afterwards!
- 7 out of 10 women and 6 out of 10 men do too little activity to stay healthy.
- An active lifestyle can help improve mood, control body weight, strengthen bones and can help to reduce the risk of developing a wide range of diseases including heart disease and diabetes.
- You are never too old or too unfit to start being more active. In fact the greatest benefit will be for inactive people who start to take regular activity or exercise.
- For optimum health, experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity on five days of the week – this can include everyday tasks such as cleaning or heavy gardening along with specific leisure activities such as swimming or dancing.
Activity is vital for weight control
It’s pretty simple really. Weight gain occurs when you eat more calories than you burn off. More people are overweight and obese today than ever before. In essence the cause is a mismatch in energy balance as a result of our changing lifestyle and environmental factors such as our increasingly sedentary behaviour. Controlling your weight isn’t just about eating less it’s important to be regularly active too.
The key is energy balance...
If energy IN equals energy out = Weight maintenance
If energy IN exceeds energy out = Weight gain
If energy IN is less than energy out = Weight loss
4 good reasons to move your body
- Makes you feel good – exercise promotes the release of 'feel good' hormones in the brain
- Burns body fat and can help to maintain your weight
- Helps tone flabby muscles
- Increases muscle mass which in turn increases your metabolic rate helping to keep you in good shape.
What's your BMI?
An important indicator of health is body weight. Being overweight can put extra strain on our hearts and joints and can be a trigger for other problems including diabetes. Equally, being underweight is not good for us either. A simple calculation called the BODY MASS INDEX (BMI) gives us an idea of how our body weight relates to our height. Enter your height and weight into a BMI calculator and check your results against the table.
Less than 20 – Your weight is quite low. Try to eat a little more, and make sure you have three meals a day and the odd snack.
20 – 25 – This is the ideal range, you have a good balance between the energy you eat and the energy you use.
More than 25 – Think about how you could cut back a little, and perhaps do a bit more exercise. Keeping our body trim is important for our health and wellbeing.
To calculate your BMI online please click here.