A varied diet can help both your physical and mental wellbeing. According to the NHS there are a few things you can do to improve your eating habits:
1. Base your meals on starchy carbohydrates
Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over one third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. Choose wholegrain varieties (or eat potatoes with their skins on) when you can: they contain more fibre, and can help you feel full for longer.
2. Eat lots of fruit and veg
It's recommended that we eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. It's easier than it sounds. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit? Unsweetened 100% fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies can only ever count as a maximum of one portion of your 5 A DAY. For example, if you have two glasses of fruit juice and a smoothie in one day, that still only counts as one portion.
3. Eat more fish – including a portion of oily fish
Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish contains omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease.
4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
Saturated fat in our diet - We all need some fat in our diet, but it's important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we're eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Sugar in our diet - Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay. Sugary foods and drinks, including alcoholic drinks, are often high in energy (measured in kilojoules or calories), and if eaten too often, can contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals.
5. Eat less salt – no more than 6g a day for adults
Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces.
6. Get active and be a healthy weight
Eating a healthy, balanced diet plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy weight, which is an important part of overall good health. Being overweight or obese can lead to health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. Being underweight could also affect your health. Check whether you're a healthy weight by using our Healthy weight calculator.
7. Don't get thirsty
We need to drink plenty of fluids to stop us getting dehydrated – the government recommends 6-8 glasses every day. This is in addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water and lower-fat milk are healthier choices.
8. Don't skip breakfast
We've put together a few recipes for you, so go ahead and get eating: