In recognition of Healthy Eating Week, food data and nutrition manager Lizzie Hennig shares her five top tips to having a nutritious balanced diet:
- Focus on fibre. Many of us need to eat more fibre and have fewer added sugars in our diet. Eating plenty of fibre is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Always pick the wholemeal option, such as brown rice or bread, where possible to make sure your fibre intake is higher. If you’re making bread from scratch, use 50% wholemeal flour and 50% white flour to increase fibre content. Vegetable sticks, fresh fruit, oatcakes and unsalted nuts or seeds are great snacks too.
- Put plenty on your plate. Fill most of your plate with vegetables at dinner. It’s important you get at least 5 a day – the majority should be veg rather than fruit, to keep sugar intake low.
- Vary your protein. Don’t be scared to be more creative. The protein on your plate doesn’t always need to be meat or fish. Why not try legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds. There are so many exciting recipes you can experiment with, including one of my favourites – Nasi Goreng.
- Stay hydrated. Start the day with a pint of water. You may not always feel thirsty but by the time you do, you’re already slightly dehydrated. I love to add cucumber slices in there to wake me up! Cucumber contains magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K – three key nutrients for the functioning of the cardiovascular system. A regular intake of cucumber has been found to decrease bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels too. Aim to have between 1.5-2 litres of water a day.
- Reduce food waste. Avoid throwing away odds and ends from your veg drawer in the fridge. Why not make marmalade from orange peelings or chutney from melon rind? The also make great additions to curry or soup and increase the nutritional value – it’s a win win! Also know your portions. Make enough to feed you and/or your family or plan to batch cook and freeze portions to avoid wastage.
For further practical advice and tips on maintaining a balanced diet, visit British Nutrition Foundation for more information.