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Healthy Eating

The key to healthy eating is a varied and balanced diet. You should aim to, eat foods from each of the main food groups every day.

The five main food groups are starchy foods (like bread, cereals and potatoes), fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy foods, protein rich foods (meat, fish, nuts, beans and pulses)and finally fatty and sugary foods.
Eat plenty of foods rich in starch and fibre. Aim to increase the amount of starchy foods you eat, like bread, rice, potatoes, chapattis, yams and breakfast cereals. These foods help to fill you up and provide fibre.

Eat at least five helpings of fruit or vegetables every day. One helping is a medium sized piece of fruit, a bowlful of salad, two tablespoonfuls of vegetables or a glass of fruit juice. These types of foods provide the vital vitamins, minerals and fibre, and some can even protect against some kinds of cancer.

Eat three servings of dairy foods a day. A serving is equal to a third of a pint of milk, a pot of yoghurt or a matchbox-sized piece of cheese. These foods provide valuable protein, vitamins and calcium.

You should try and cut down on fatty meats and choose lean protein instead.Eat lean cuts of meat or trim excess fat from meat before cooking. Sources of protein like chicken and turkey, fish, eggs and beans or pulses are lower in fat.

Cut down on fats in general. Be sparing with butter, margarine, oil and other fats. Avoid saturated fats, and choose polyunsaturated such as sunflower oil or a monounsaturated alternative like olive oil instead. Bake, grill, poach or casserole foods instead of frying, and be careful of the hidden fat in cakes, biscuits and chocolate.

Keep sweet foods for occasional treats. Cut down on added sugar and keep sweets and chocolate for treats rather than daily snacks. Your teeth will benefit as well as your waistline!

Avoid adding salt in cooking, and read labels to check the salt content of prepared foods. Things like bread, ready-made soups and pizza can be surprisingly high in salt. Try to keep to 2.0–2.5g of sodium a day – the equivalent of about 4–6g of table salt (one teaspoon full).

Men should not drink more than 21 units of alcohol a week; women should drink less than 14 units. A unit is half a pint of beer, a pub measure of spirits or a small glass of wine. The good news is that red wine appears to have benefits for your heart, and moderate drinkers seem to have better overall health than teetotallers.