Eat well Guide food groups and supporting information Over a third of the diet should come from fruit and vegetables.
Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. A portion is 80g or one of the following:
- A slice of a large fruit such as a watermelon
- A whole piece of fruit such as an apple or banana
- Two pieces of small fruit such as satsumas
- Three tablespoons of cooked vegetables
- A bowl of mixed salad
Limit the consumption of 100% fruit and vegetable juices and/or smithies to a combined total of 150ml (one portion) per day and consume with meals to reduce the risk of tooth decay. 30g (1 heaped tablespoon) of dried fruit (such as raisins and apricots) also counts as one portion.
Consume at mealtimes rather than as a between-meal snack to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
- Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates; choosing wholegrain versions where possible. This includes whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or simply leaving the skins on potatoes. Wholegrain food contains more fibre than white or refined starchy food, and often more of other nutrients too.
- Have some dairy and alternatives; choosing lower fat and lower sugar options. Look at labels and choose milk lower in fat, such as skim, 1% or semi-skimmed; yogurts lower in fat and sugar and cheeses lower in fat and salt. When buying dairy alternatives like soya drinks, go for unsweetened, calcium-fortified versions.
Healthy Eating Plan
A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss.
A healthy eating plan also will lower your risk for heart disease and other health conditions.
A healthy eating plan:
- Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Limits saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars
To lose weight, most people need
Controls portion sizes (Calories)
to reduce the number of calories they get from food and beverages (energy IN) and increase their physical activity (energy OUT).
For a weight loss of 1–1 ½ pound per week, daily intake should be reduced by 500 to 750 calories. In general:
- Eating plans that contain 1,200–1,500 calories each day will help most women lose weight safely.
- Eating plans that contain 1,500–1,800 calories each day are suitable for men and for women who weigh more or who exercise regularly.
- Very low-calorie diets of fewer than 800 calories per day should not be used unless you are being monitored by your doctor.
A good diet is important for our health and can help us feel our best – but what is a good diet? Apart from breast milk as a food for babies, no single food contains all the essential nutrients the body needs to stay healthy and work properly.
For this reason, our diets should contain a variety of different foods, to help us get a wide range of nutrients that our bodies need. This is illustrated by the UK’s healthy eating model.
How much food do I need to have a healthy diet?
A healthy diet should provide us with the right amount of energy (calories or kilojoules), from foods and drinks to maintain energy balance.
Energy balance is where the calories taken in from the diet are equal to the calories used by the body.
We need these calories to carry out everyday tasks such as walking and moving about, but also for all the functions of the body, we may not even think about. Processes like breathing, pumping blood around the body and thinking also require calories.
So, foods and drinks provide the calories we need to go about our daily lives, but consuming more calories than we need over a period of time will cause weight gain. This is because, any extra calories we consume but we don’t use, will just be stored as fat.
Over 50% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese. There is also a huge concern about childhood obesity, where 1 in 3 children aged 4-5, and 1 in 5 children aged 10-11, are overweight or obese.
Being overweight as a child increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers in adulthood. So, maintaining a healthy weight is really important for health.
Healthy eating facts
- Apples are more effective than coffee at waking you up in the morning.
- Bananas aren’t the only fruits with potassium. Avocados have twice the amount of potassium as bananas and are rich in monounsaturated fat that is burned easily as energy. Green-tipped bananas are better for you than over-ripened bananas. Bananas contain a lot of sugar, if eaten with protein, the insulin levels are normalized.
- Broccoli contains twice the amount of Vitamin C than an orange. It contains as much calcium as whole milk and is more readily absorbed by our bodies.
- Cilantro is good for digestion and also soothes many common ailments such as headache, coughs, and nausea.
- Onions are great antioxidants, containing anti-allergy, antiviral, and anti-histamine properties. The sulphur compounds found in onions help in the detoxifying the body and aid in cellular repair. Maximum health benefits are seen in raw or lightly-steamed onions.
- Parsley is also great for use as a digestive aid. It is a natural breath freshener, anti-carcinogen, contains three times the amount of vitamin C as oranges, and twice the amount of iron as in spinach.
Basic nutrition guidelines
The foods you eat have big effects on your health and quality of life.
Although eating healthy can be fairly simple, the rise in popular “diets” and dieting trends has caused confusion.
In fact, these trends often distract from the basic nutrition principles that are most important.
This is a detailed beginner’s guide to healthy eating, based on the latest in nutrition science.
For example, eating healthy can drastically reduce your chances of developing heart disease and cancer, the world’s leading killers.
A good diet can improve all aspects of life, from brain function to physical performance. In fact, food affects all your cells and organs.
If you participate in exercise or sports, there is no doubt that a healthy diet will help you perform better.
Healthy eating guidelines
The Healthy Food for Life resources are for the entire population over the age of five and they define the Irish Government recommendations on healthy eating and a balanced diet. They provide a consistent and
An evidence-based approach for healthy eating advice
The Healthy Food for Life guidelines and resources provide practical support for individuals and families to make healthier food choices and to ultimately improve their health and wellbeing. They include a leaflet, infographic of the food pyramid, sample daily meal plans, guidelines on portion sizes and fact sheets.
The key messages from Healthy Food for Life are:
- Eat more vegetables, salad, and fruit – Up to seven servings a day
- Limit intake of high fat, sugar, salt (HFSS) food and drinks
- Size matters: Use the food pyramid as a guide for serving sizes
- Increase your physical activity levels
- Small changes can make a big difference. Start TODAY!
- See below the downloadable Healthy Food for Life resources. You can also download a copy of 101+ Square Meals.
101+ Square Meals uses the Irish Food Pyramid and Healthy Eating Guidelines to help you plan healthier meals and get the best value for your money.
The book also contains shopping tips, food safety messages, menu planning advice and even some treats and snacks for special occasions. The recipes are easy to follow and will be useful to improve health and wellness for you and your family.
Food and nutrition play a crucial role in health promotion and chronic disease prevention. Every 5 years, HHS and USDA publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Nation’s go-to source for nutrition advice.
The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines reflects the current body of nutrition science, helps health
professionals and policymakers guide Americans to make healthy food and beverage choices and serve as the science-based foundation for vital nutrition policies and programs across the United States.
Diet recommendations with so much conflicting information out there, it is easy to become confused about healthy eating.
In this section, we will take a look at what, based on the latest scientific research, the UK government recommendations are for the general population.