A healthy diet is one that gives you plenty of energy, helps you maintain a healthy weight and can reduce your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer. It’s also important to get all the vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients your body needs to function properly.
A balanced diet should include a variety of foods, from the five main groups: fruits, vegetables, protein, fats and grains. Eating the right types of food can prevent a range of health problems and give you a longer, healthier life.
Choose whole foods instead of processed ones. Processed foods often contain sugars, trans fats, refined grains and high amounts of sodium. These can cause problems for you and your family, especially if you are overweight or have health conditions like diabetes.
Eat more fruit and veg to lower your risk of heart disease, some cancers and other illnesses. Fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are a good source of fibre, potassium, vitamins and minerals. They can be eaten alone or combined with meat, fish or dairy products for a balanced meal.
Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits at every meal and snack. These are full of fibre, vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy and help control your weight.
Cut back on saturated fat (like butter, lard and ghee) to lower your risk of heart disease and some cancers. Try to eat less of these fats and instead use vegetable oils, such as olive or canola oil, as much as possible.
Replace white flour with whole wheat and whole grain products to keep your diet high in fibre and low in calories. Look for products labeled “100% whole wheat” or “high in fiber.”
Limit salty snacks to avoid the risk of high blood pressure and other health problems. Refined salt is bad for your health and can lead to hypertension, kidney disease and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
Add extra fibre to your diet by eating whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa and hulled barley. They are naturally high in B vitamins and have fewer calories than processed and refined breads, pastas and crackers.
Include proteins in your diet more often from plant sources, such as beans, seeds and nuts. They are a healthy alternative to red meat and can be eaten in many different dishes.
These protein sources are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and have fewer calories than most animal proteins. They also have less saturated fat than most animal proteins, which can contribute to heart disease.
Eat more whole grains and whole grain products, such as oats, wheat berries, barley, millet, rye and brown rice to provide extra fibre and protein in your diet. These foods will fill you up more and make you feel fuller longer.
Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. The government recommends drinking 6 to 8 glasses a day, including water, milk and other low-fat drinks.