A healthy diet is one that provides the right amount of nutrients and helps to keep you at a stable weight. This is achieved by eating a wide variety of foods and drinks that are low in calories, fats, salt and added sugars and are high in vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Eating a healthy diet is also about making smarter choices at every meal and snack to ensure you get the most out of your food. This means avoiding ultra-processed foods, choosing whole and minimally processed grains and fruit instead of white breads, pasta, cereals and cookies and drinking water, unsweetened milk and low-fat fruit juice as much as possible.
Start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes whole-wheat, multigrain or muesli cereal, yoghurt, or fruits and vegetables. This will help you avoid unhealthy choices at the snack and lunch tables, such as a chocolate or fried burger.
Ensure you eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, including dark green leafy veggies like kale, chard, spinach, broccoli and cabbage. These are all rich in fibre and vitamins and can be eaten alone or mixed with other vegetables. Try grilled, steamed, or sauteed vegetables with herbs or spices for extra flavor and texture.
Vegetables and fruits have a milder effect on blood sugar and insulin than foods made from refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and white rice. Choose foods made with whole and intact grains (such as wheat berries, quinoa, brown rice and oats) and foods that have been fortified with nutrients to improve their health benefits.
Fish and poultry, as well as eggs, are good sources of protein and contain vitamins, minerals and a range of other nutrients. They are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve your mood.
Meats are also a good source of protein, but try to cut back on red meat, particularly pork and veal. If you do eat red or processed meats, make sure they are cooked thoroughly and are made from lean cuts of beef or chicken.
Dairy products are a good source of protein and calcium, and are a key part of a healthy diet. Go for low-fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, and lower fat hard cheeses and yoghurts. Soya drinks are also a healthy choice and come in a range of flavours.
When shopping for dairy products, read the labels carefully and buy only low-fat or fat-free options. You’ll save money, feel better and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
Be creative when preparing your meals and snacks to avoid temptations for junk foods such as pizza, chips and other deep fried or pastry-based dishes. For example, try a wrap or kebab with lettuce and tomato instead of fries and a salad with dressing rather than mayonnaise to reduce the kilojoules and saturated fat in your meal.
Whenever you’re out and about, ask for smaller portions or share with another person to reduce the amount of food and kilojoules you consume. This will also help you stay hydrated, as a single energy-dense meal can often contain more than your daily kilojoules intake!