Eating a healthy, balanced dietis an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.
This means eatinga wide varietyof foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
This page covers healthy eating advice for the general population.
People with special dietary needs or a medical condition should ask their doctor or a registered dietitian for advice.
The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:
If you're having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.
Try to choose a variety of different foods from the 5 main food groups to get a wide range of nutrients.
Mostpeople in the UKeat and drink too many calories, too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fishor fibre.
The Eatwell Guide does not apply to children under the age of 2 because they have different nutritional needs.
Between the ages of 2 and 5 years, children should gradually move to eating the same foods as the rest of the family in the proportions shown in the Eatwell Guide.
Fruit and vegetables area good source of vitamins and minerals and fibre, and should make up just over a third of the food you eat each day.
It's recommended that you eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.
There's evidence that people whoeat at least5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Eating5 portions is not as hard as it sounds.
A portion is:
Just 1 apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is 1 portion each.
A slice of pineapple or melon is also 1 portion, and 3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion.
Adding a tablespoon of dried fruit, such as raisins, to your morning cereal is an easy way to get 1 portion.
You could also swap your mid-morning biscuit for a banana, and add a side salad to your lunch.
In the evening, have a portion of vegetableswith dinner and fresh fruitwith plain, lower fat yoghurt for dessert to reach your 5 A Day.
Find out more about what counts towards your 5 A Day
Starchy foods should make upjust overa third of everything you eat. This means your meals should be based on these foods.
Choose wholegrain or wholemeal varieties of starchy foods, such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta, and brown, wholemeal or higher fibre whitebread.
They contain more fibre, and usually more vitamins and minerals, than white varieties.
Potatoes with the skins onarea great source of fibre and vitamins. For example, when having boiled potatoes or a jacket potato, eat the skin too.
Find out more about starchy foods
Milk and dairy foods, such as cheese and yoghurt, are good sources of protein.Theyalso contain calcium, which helps keep your bones healthy.
Go for lower fat and lower sugar products where possible.
Choose semi-skimmed, 1% fat or skimmedmilk, as well as lower fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese, and lower fat, lower sugar yoghurt.
Dairy alternatives, such as soya drinks, are also included in this food group.
When buying alternatives, choose unsweetened, calcium-fortified versions.
Find out more about milk and dairy foods
These foods are all good sources of protein, which is essential for the body to grow and repair itself.
They're also good sources of a range of vitamins and minerals.
Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc and Bvitamins. It's also one of the main sources of vitamin B12.
Choose lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Always cook meat thoroughly.
Try to eat less red and processed meat like bacon, ham and sausages.
Find out more about meat
Eggs and fish are also good sources of protein, and contain many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Aim to eat at least 2 portions of fish a week, including 1 portion of oily fish.
You can choose from fresh, frozen or canned, but remember that cannedand smoked fish can oftenbe high in salt.
Pulses, including beans, peas and lentils, are naturally very low in fat and high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Nuts are high in fibre, and unsalted nuts make agood snack. But they do still contain high levels of fat, so eat them in moderation.
Read more abouteggs and pulses and beans.
Some fat in the diet is essential, but on average people in the UK eat too much saturated fat.
It's important to get most of your fat from unsaturated oils and spreads.
Swapping to unsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol.
Remember that all types of fat are high in energy and should be eaten in small amounts.
Find out more about the different types of fats
Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay.
Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which increases your risk of getting heart disease or having a stroke.
See 8 tips for healthy eating to find out more about why you need to cut down on saturated fat, sugarand salt, which foods they're found in,and how to make healthier choices.
Find out more about how to eat less saturated fat
Most adults in England are overweight or obese. Check whether you're a healthy weight using the BMI calculator.
If you need to lose weight, you can use the NHS weight loss plan. It's a free 12-week diet and exercise plan to help you lose weight and develop healthier habits.
The plan, which has been downloaded more than 2 million times, is designed to help you lose weight safely, and keep it off.
Page last reviewed: 27 March 2019Next review due: 27 March 2022
Originally posted here:
Eat well - NHS