Lots of people use the word ‘diet’ when they talk about trying to lose weight. The word diet actually just means the food or drink someone usually eats or drinks.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet means choosing a variety of nutritious foods from different food groups. It also means eating the right amount of these foods to balance the energy we use each day. If we eat food giving us the same amount of energy as we use, we should be able to maintain a healthy body weight.
Eating a balanced diet is important because your body needs a range of vitamins and minerals to work properly. The Eatwell Guide helps us understand:
- What the different food groups are.
- Which foods are included in each group.
- How much of each group is healthy for us to eat.
You can explore the Eatwell Guide and find out more about the different food groups on the NHS.uk website. You can also find an African and Carribean Eatwell Guide from The Diverse Nutrition Association.
Tips for healthy eating
- Eat your 5 a day – to make sure you get a range of nutrients, try to eat vegetables and fruit of different colours such as berries, peppers, spinach, kale and sweet potatoes. Frozen fruit and vegetables can be a good alternative when fresh is not available. The NHS has tips for healthy eating.
- Stay hydrated – drink 6 to 8 glasses each day.
- Keep to regular meal times – this can help you keep to a plan and avoid mindless snacking.
- Eat healthy snacks – it’s easy to turn to sugary snacks and crisps especially when you’re staying or working from home. Prepare some healthy snacks in advance for when you feel those hunger pangs such as cheese and apple, berries, nuts or carrots.
- Use your freezer – cook batches of chillis, curries or stews and freeze portions and freeze leftovers to reduce food waste. Some raw vegetables like onions, peppers and carrots can be chopped and frozen.
- Make use of your store cupboard – dried spices, nuts, cans of beans and tomatoes can enrich and inspire many meals. Tinned oily fish is a great store cupboard staple as well. Jamie Oliver has ideas for 14 store cupboard meals.
- Plan meals in advance – to keep shopping trips to a minimum and prevent food waste, meal planning is a must. It can also help prevent you from making unhealthy choices like buying a takeaway. Make a list of what you need and what will keep. Remember some fresh foods like bread, milk and cheese can also be frozen. Follow Jamie’s Ministry of Food Leeds on Facebook for ideas and tips.
- Organise deliveries if you’re self-isolating – arrange a contact-free delivery from a supermarket, friend or family member.
- Cook for less – you can cook for yourself and eat well on a budget with the Cooking on a Shoestring recipe book from Zest Leeds.