The good news is, looking at your food choices can have a huge impact and help you make those first steps to reduce your risk.
What should I eat?
The Eatwell guide shows how to maintain a healthy balanced diet, by showing how much of what we eat should come from each food group.
Try to get the balance right over a day or week, it doesn’t need to be at every meal.
Foods like crisps, chocolate, ice cream and pastries contain sugars and fats that your body doesn’t need. Eat these less often and in small amounts.
Go for water or reduced fat, sugar-free drinks and have 6-8 glasses each day.
We should all aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg each day. Fresh, frozen, tinned – they all count.
Aim for 2 portions of fruit and 3 portions of veg to make up your 5 a day
Over 1/3 of our food each day should be a combination of fruit and veg.
Try high–fibre options such as brown rice or wholewheat bread, or try leaving the skin on your potatoes
1/3 of our food each day should be a combination of starchy foods.
Unsaturated fats are better, so opt for rapeseed oil or olive oil.
All types of spreads and oils are high in calories and are still fats, so try to use them in small amounts
Milk, cheese and yoghurt are all great sources of protein and calcium which makes our bones strong.
Give lower fat products a go – semi skimmed or skimmed milk, lower fat yoghurts etc.
Low in fat and packed with fibre; pulses, chick peas, lentils and beans offer a healthy alternative to meat.
Try and introduce fish twice a week and include at least one good source of Omega-3 such as sardines, mackerel and salmon.
It’s best to limit the amount of red and processed meat such as minced beef and sausages, so swap for white meat, and keep it healthy by trimming the fat.
Even when you make a healthier choice, over-eating will increase the calories, fat and sugarconsumed,which can lead to putting on weight
Check manufacturer’s food labels to see how many portions they state is in a pack. You may be eating more than you think!
What do the traffic light labels mean?
The traffic light system gives calorie information and shows whether the item is high or low in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. The information also tells you the Reference Intake (RI) of the item – what percentage of your daily reference intake the item is.
Here are some examples of traffic light labels and how you might use them:
Red shows you at a glance that the food you are thinking of buying is high in fat, saturated fat, sugars or salt. Be mindful of portion sizes and try to eat them less often.
Amber foods need a little caution when choosing. If the label is amber for fat but contains oily fish or is amber for sugars but contains a lot of fruit, it may still be a healthy choice. It’s best to check for hidden fats and sugars on the ingredients list.
Green lets you know that the food you are thinking of buying is a healthier choice. Try to choose these most often and if there are a mixture of colours on the label, try and go for more greens.
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Eating better isn’t just about watching calories, it’s about making sure you are eating the right type of foods and in the right portion sizes.