A well-balanced diet is one of the most important factors for your health. It provides the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep the body and mind strong and healthy. Maintaining a healthy body weight is also important for avoiding serious illness.
Eat the right balance
Most of us are still not getting enough fruit & veg - don’t forget your 5 a day. Try to ensure that your intake across the week includes a variety of foods in the proportion of the eatwell guide.
Top tip: Fruit and vegetables don't have to be fresh to count as a portion. Nor do they have to be eaten on their own: they also count if they're part of a meal or dish.
Most of us should eat less sugar, especially added sugar (sugar added by manufacturers to food such as sweets, chocolate, cakes, and some fizzy and juice drinks) . Cut down by watching out for sugar when you shop and making some smart switches.
Added sugar should not make up more than 5% of your energy intake per day. That is about 30g or 7 sugar cubes per day.
Top Tip: The nearer to the beginning of the ingredient list the sugar is, the more sugar the product contains.
Download the Change 4 Life Food Scanner App
Eat Less Salt
A diet high in salt can cause raised blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Don’t add salt to food automatically, taste it first. Watch out for salt by checking the labels and looking for low salt or reduced salt foods. Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day (2.4g sodium) – that's around 1 teaspoon.
Top tip: You don't have to add salt to your food to eat too much of it – around 75% of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods such as bread, breakfast cereal and ready meals.
Eating On the Go
Aim for 400-600-600
Eating healthily and keeping track of your calorie intake can be tricky sometimes. Research has shown on average we're eating an extra 200 to 300 calories every day! The 400-600-600* rule of thumb can help you keep track of how many calories you eat in a day.
Aim for around 400 calories for breakfast, 600 calories for lunch and 600 for dinner – leaving room for a couple of healthier snacks and drinks.
This should all add up to around 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men, in line with the Eatwell Guide.
Cook Tasty Recipes at home
Cook from scratch and watch your portion sizes. Reducing how often you have takeaways, ready meals and/or eating out is a quick way to reduce the amount of fat (especially saturated fat), sugar and salt from your dietary intake and ensure you’re portion sizes don’t creep up on us.
Download the Easy Meals app for lots of recipe ideas.
What support does Kingston have to offer?
Healthy Start is a national programme that provides free milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and vitamins for you and your family. If you are pregnant or have a young child under the age of four years, you could get Healthy Start vouchers worth £3.10 a week for you and your child.
The vouchers can be spent on milk, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk at your local shops and supermarkets. You’ll also receive coupons for free vitamins too.
To join this scheme see your midwife, health visitor and children’s centres and ask for an application form, or you can apply online.
To apply and/or to find your nearest participating shop visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk or call the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823. Ask your midwife, health visitor and children’s centres where you can exchange your coupons for vitamins.
If you’re a retailer that sells milk, fruit and/or vegetables, join the scheme and increase your income by accepting vouchers. For further information visit www.hsru.co.uk/retailerguide.pdf
Are you looking for support to help you manage your weight? Kingston has a range of free or low cost programmes that can help you.
Visit the weight management page here