Increase your fruit and vegetables every day. 10 suggestions how:
Add more vegetables and pulses to dishes such as stir fries, casseroles and stews.
Make fruit smoothies to drink.
Blend your own cold yoghurt for breakfast.
Add a banana or apple to your cereals.
Keep a bowl of cut up vegetables on the top shelf of the refrigerator.
Put extra vegetables on your homemade pizza or in your bolognese.
Stock up on frozen vegetables for easy cooking so that you can have a vegetables dish with every dinner, you can easily steam frozen vegetables.
Try fruit and vegetables as starters e.g. vegetable soups, grapefruit salad, Parma ham and melon, asparagus tips, crudités and dips.
Make Ratatouille; a classic combination of mixed vegetables cooked in a tomato sauce.
Snack on some sticks of raw vegetables like carrots, cucumbers and peppers.
Choose fresh fruit salad for dessert. For a special dessert, try a fruit parfait with low fat yoghurt or sherbet topped with lots of berries.
Cut back on salt
The sodium ion is essential for a number of metabolic processes in the cells and is involved in the regulation of the acid-base balance and a lot of other processes in the human body. But eating too much salt is bad for your health, so try to cut down on your intake. The maximum daily intake for adults should not be more than 6g a day. The main reasons why you should cut down on salt intake is that it can raise blood pressure. Having high blood pressure triples your chances of heart disease and stroke.
Where does the salt hide and how you can cut down on your intake?
You tend to find high levels of salt/sodium in many processed foods. Around 75% of all the salt we eat today is already in the food we buy such as bread, cheese, spreads, meat and fish. For example in most prepared pizzas you will see a sodium level on 1.8 g per 100 g. If you eat a full pizza (300g) you will reach you max daily amount of salt.
Also go for tinned vegetables and pulses without added salt. Smoked foods can be high in salt e.g. bacon. Ketchup, sauce, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise and salted nuts can also contain a lot of salt. If you look on the nutrition information on the back of food packs you will often see salt hidden as sodium.
Salt is nutritionally equivalent to sodium chloride. 1g of salt corresponds to about 0.4g sodium and 1g sodium is equivalent to 2.5 g salt.
How do you know if a product contains too much salt?
A product is high in salt if there is more than 1.5g salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium). If there is 0.3g salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium) the product is low in salt and therefore a healthier choice. visit www.nhs.uk for more information
Eat Dietary Fibre
The following products contains a good amount of fibre and will be a great option for your healthy diet:
Yellow peas have 43 gram of fibre per 100g.
White and brown beans have 22 gram of fibre per 100g.
Apricots have 24 gram of fibre per 100g.
Plums have 16 gram of fibre per 100g.
Barley, oats, rye(bread) have 14-16 gram of fibre per 100g.
Soy protein have 15 gram of fibre per 100g.
Do not skip breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It provides you with energy and research shows that eating breakfast can actually help you control your weight. Furthermore eating breakfast is
also associated with the positive effects of better dietary quality, cognitive function and improves performance related to memory.If you can’t stomach breakfast in the mornings just take a banana, apple or another peace of fruit with you in your bag and eat it during the morning.
How can you make a healthy breakfast?
If you want to kick-start your day start with a bowl of cereals/oats, a piece of fresh fruit e.g. banana, pear or apple and sprinkle some almonds on top. Why not try making your own smoothie by blending together your favourite fruits e.g. 200g frozen berries with 1 banana and some soya milk or fruit juice. Another idea for a healthy breakfast could be a bowl of fruit salad with organic yoghurt and sunflower seeds on the top.
My own personal favourite are porridge oats. They not only contains plenty of carbohydrates but also more protein and unsaturated healthy fat than other grains. Oats are naturally rich in B vitamins, iron and magnesium and the soluble fibre provides sustained energy, which helps stave off hunger for longer. Finally, there’s no added sugar and in particular no sodium in oats and they are great value for money. So compared to a lot of other breakfast cereals on the market oats get top grade! Also Weetabix, Shreddies and Bran Flakes are good options.
Why are wholegrain products a good idea?
Cereals are a major source of carbohydrate and dietary fibre. Cereals, especially wholegrain products, also provide you with a number of nutrients including potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, folat, and other biologically active constituents. Wholegrain contains insoluble fibre, which helps keep a healthy bowel and avoid constipation and soluble fibre, which helps to lower cholesterol levels and promote a healthy gut bacteria.
Furthermore, studies have shown a positive connection between eating wholegrain products and reducing the risk of CVD (heart disease). Other studies show a high consumption of wholegrain products has shown a reduced risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes.
Wholegrain can contain up to 75% more nutrients than refined cereal. When you eat wholegrain products instead of the white products you get a slower release of sugar into your blood and together with fibre content, it’s keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Meal in a hurry
Whether you’re busy, just don’t want to spend 2 hours in the kitchen or are tired after a long day you can still be healthy. Why not try a crunchy stir fry dish with lightly cooked vegetables. Use a mix of rainbow coloured veg. e.g. red pepper, baby corn, carrots, mushrooms, sugar pees and mix it with big pieces of fresh organic salmon, chicken breast or another piece of lean meat.Rather than frying, why not try to roast, microwave or grill your meat.
22, 23: Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2004 – Integrating Nutrition and Phyiscal Activity, 4th Edition. Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen 2004. ISBN: 9289310626