Keeping fit and healthy is so important for everyone for so many reasons. A balanced diet and excersice can give us a feeling of better wellbeing through improved energy and vitality. This in turn makes us feel better about ourselves as well as about our lives.
Better diet and fitness can help make the activities in our day to day life easier to manage; improving our overall quality of life. By maintaining a good standard of health we can prevent or delay heart related diseases.
The amount and type of food we eat has a major influence on our health. If we work hard to eat a well-balanced diet, it can reduce the risk of various diseases as well as help maintain a healthy weight.
There’s never a bad time to make some changes and improve our eating habits; with this in mind ubu is doing our bit to help in the battle against the bulge with our 'Food Points Guide'.
Click the link below to see the online booklet which can help keep you in-shape and healthy:
Dive deeper to find out more about how to have a healthy diet.
We should all aim to eat three balanced meals a day with healthy snacks in between if we feel we need them.
Breakfast is important so don’t skip it, especially if you’re trying to lose weight!
Generally, if you want to improve your diet, there are certain foods to aim to eat more of and others that it’s best to eat less of:
- fruit and vegetables
- foods high in fibre, such as wholemeal and wholegrain bread, beans, pulses and potatoes with the skins on
- low-fat dairy products, such as semi-skimmed milk, low-fat cheese and yoghurt
- starchy foods, such as wholemeal rice, pasta and bread
- processed meat products, such as sausages, salami, meat pies and burgers – replace these with lean meat (with the skin and fat removed)
- foods high in salt, such as crisps and processed foods like ready meals and sauces
- sugary foods and drinks, such as fizzy drinks, sweets and biscuits
- high-fat foods, such as cream, butter and cakes
The ubu food points guide will help you to work out what foods you can eat and how much. The guide is an easy way to stick to a healthy diet, we hope you find it useful.
So, why is healthy eating important? There is plenty of evidence now that eating a healthy diet can reduce our risk of obesity and illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and some types of cancer!
The food we eat contains several different types of nutrients, which are all required for the many vital processes in your body. Key nutrients in your diet include the following.
- Carbohydrates provide energy.
- Proteins are another source of energy and essential for the growth and repair of all tissues in our bodies.
- Fats are a very concentrated source of energy and also have a number of other roles, including helping to transport essential vitamins around the body.
- Vitamins and minerals are important to keep our bodies healthy and functioning.
- Another important element in our diet is fibre. Although, fibre isn’t classed as a nutrient, it’s essential to keep our digestive systems healthy and certain types of fibre can help to control our blood cholesterol levels.
In order to eat a balanced diet we need to eat a range of foods to get all of the nutrients and fibre your body needs. The five main food groups are:
Eating the right balance of foods from these groups makes sure our body gets all it needs to stay healthy. Something to remeber is that we don't have to entirely give up the less healthy foods we like, just adjust the amount of them we eat in proportion to the amount of healthy foods in your diet.
Starchy foods (such as pasta, potatoes or grains) contain energy in the form of carbohydrates, and release this energy slowly throughout the day. Eating starchy foods as your main source of energy will make you feel full so you will be less likely to feel hungry and snack during the day.
Fruit and vegetables (like apples and broccoli) are good sources of many nutrients, in particular vitamins, minerals and fibre. We should aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Rememeber dried, frozen, tinned, and juiced fruit and vegetables count too!
Milk and dairy products (such as cheese and yoghurt) are important sources of protein, calcium and vitamins. Aiming to eat lower-fat options, such as semi-skimmed or skimmed milk can hel[p us keep the balance of fat on our side.
Protein can come in the form of meat, fish and alternatives, such as beans, pulses, eggs and nuts.
We should try to eat two portions of fish a week (one portion is about 140g). You might like to make one of these portions an oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon or pilchards. Oily fish is particularly rich in long chain omega 3 fatty acids, which may help prevent heart disease, although more research is needed to prove this effect.
Some types of meat are high in fat, so always cut off any extra fat and skin. Grill, bake or poach meat and fish rather than fry it. Try to limit the amount of processed meat you eat (such as sausages and beef burgers) as these foods often contain a lot of fat and may increase your risk of bowel cancer.
Fat is an important part of your diet but you don’t need very much. Try to eat less fat overall but remember that the type of fat you eat is also important; replace foods that are high in saturated (bad) fats, such as butter, pastries and cheese with foods that are rich in unsaturated (good) fats, such as yummy avocado and olive oil.
Sugary foods, such as sweets and biscuits provide you with energy but not many nutrients. They can also cause tooth decay and gum disease, so try to limit the amount you eat.
Swim on to find out tips about making a change to your diet today...