What makes a healthy diet?

Our Senior Nutritionist for Grocery, Luise Kloster, says: “It’s really important to eat the right amount 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 and drink too little, you'll lose weight. It’s also important to enjoy 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 tips from the NHS can help you make healthier choices.

1) Base your meals around starchy carbohydrates 

 Sharwoods-wholewheat.jpgStarchy carbohydrates should make up just over one third of the food you eat, and include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. 

Choose wholegrain varieties when you can: they contain more fibre. If you can, try to include at least one starchy food with each main meal.

Luise says: ”If you’re making a stir fry, why not try our Sharwood’s wholewheat noodles?  Or if you’re going to enjoy a jar of Loyd Grossman tomato sauce, pair it with some wholewheat spaghetti. But keep an eye on the fats you add when you're cooking or serving these types of foods, because increase the calorie content”.

2) Eat lots of fruit and veg 5000354904714_T1.jpg

It's recommended that we eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. 80g of fruit or vegetable count as one portion for adult or children over the age of 11. It's easier than it sounds. For example, a 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit juice or smoothie can count as one portion, and vegetables cooked into dishes also count.

Luise adds, “Cooking sauces are a good way to get a portion of vegetables . Did you know that 70% of all the Homepride, Loyd Grossman and Sharwood’s pasta sauces we sell contain one of your five-a-day?”

3) Eat more fish 

fish-2230852_640.jpgFish 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, such as salmon, mackerel trout, sardines and fresh tuna. Oily fish contains 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, so remember to read the label.

4) Limit your intake of saturated fat and sugar

Saturated fat in our diet

5000354906640_L.jpegWe all need some fat in our diet, but it's important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we're eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease. 

You should try to limit your saturated fat intake, so check the labels and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils, oily fish, avocados and plain nuts.

For a healthier choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced-fat spread instead of butter or lard. When you're having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat. 

Sugar in our diet

Sugary foods and drinks, including alcoholic drinks, are often high in energy (measured in kilojoules or calories), and if eaten too often, can contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals. Free sugars are any sugars added to foods or drinks, or found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices.

Traffic-lights2.JPGJenny Hardwick, Nutritionist in our Sweet Treats division, says: “It’s OK to have a treat, like one of our Mr Kipling cake slices, but these should be eaten in moderation. At Premier Foods, we’re committed to front of pack traffic light labelling so that people can make more informed choices about what they eat. When you’re looking at labels to decide what to buy, try to limit the amount of products showing ‘red’ for sugar.”

The latest recommendations say that 5% of our daily energy should come from free sugars, the equivalent of 30g per day for adults and 19-24g for 4-10 year olds.

5) Cut down on salt bisto-best.jpg

Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure, 
and people with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces. 

Luise says, “At Premier Foods, we’ve worked very hard to reformulate our products so that they meet Government guidelines for salt. In fact, we’ve removed 40 tonnes of salt from the diet from our sauce brands alone, and we’ve introduced lower salt variants in brands like Oxo and Bisto. Seasoning your foods with reduced salt stock or even just herbs and spices is a great way of adding flavour to your dishes without the need for salt.'”

Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt (about a teaspoonful) a day. Younger children should have even less. 

6) Get active 

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. A good rule of thumb is to get 30 minutes of activity at least five times a week.

7) 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 cut back on sugary soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars and calories. Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies are high in free sugar, so limit how much you drink to no more than one 150ml glass of fruit juice each day. When the weather is warm, or when we get active, we may need more fluids.

8) Start your day with a healthy breakfast 

Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides vitamins and minerals we need for good health. For example, a good option is low-fat yogurt with some fruit and nuts or seeds on top. Or why not try some wholemeal toast with crushed avocado and a poached egg?

More information

Traffic-light-labelling.jpgTo help you get the right balance of the five main food groups, take a look at the Eatwell Guide. To maintain a healthy diet, the Eatwell Guide shows you how much of what you eat should come from each food group. 

And to support a healthy diet, make sure you stay informed. To help you make the right choices, make sure you know your label, colours, portions, daily allowance and calories. 

Label: checking the nutrition label is a good way to compare products, make healthier choices and eat a balanced diet.
Colours: The red, amber and green colours show at a glance whether a product is high, medium or low for fat, saturates, sugars or salt. Use the colour coding to compare two products. For example, if a jar of sauce or quick meal has less red and more green than another, it’s the healthier choice.
Portions: Check the pack for the portion size. This is what the numbers on the nutrition label are based on. If you are eating more or less than the portion size shown, you need to adjust the numbers shown on the nutrition label.
Daily allowance: Reference Intake (RI) has replaced the terms Guideline Daily Amount (GDA). Aim to stay below 100% of your daily allowance (RI) for calories, fat, saturates, sugars and salt when you add up everything you consume in a day.
Calories: To make the choice that is right for you, use the calorie information to compare products. Check the pack for the number of calories there are in a portion and 100g of a food product or 100ml drink. 


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