Getting started with healthy eating

Healthy eating starts with learning new ways to eat, such as adding more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and cutting back on foods that have a lot of fat, salt, and sugar.

A change to healthier eating also includes learning about balance, variety, and moderation.

  • Aim for balance. Ensure you are eating from each food group—grains, protein foods, vegetables and fruits, and dairy. Aim to have your 5 a day portions of your fruit and vegetables. Eat two portions of fish per week including at least one portion of oily fish. Also pay attention to the amount and type of fat in your diet and cut down on the amount of saturated fat, sugar and salt.
  • Look for variety. Be adventurous. Choose different foods in each food group. For example, don’t reach for an apple every time you choose a fruit. Eating a variety of foods each day will help you get all the nutrients you need.
  • Practice moderation. Don’t have too much or too little of one thing. All foods, if eaten in moderation, can be part of healthy eating.

Benefits of healthy eating:

Healthy eating will help you get the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It will help you feel your best and have plenty of energy. It can help you handle stress better.

Healthy eating is one of the best things you can do to prevent and control many health problems, such as:

· Heart disease.

· High blood pressure.

· Type 2 diabetes.

· Some types of cancer.

How do you make healthy eating a habit?

  • First, think about your reasons for healthier eating. Do you want to improve your health? Do you want to feel better? Are you trying to set an example for your kids?
  • Next, think about some small changes you can make. Pick ones you can keep doing.
  • Don’t try to change everything at once.
  • Set an easy goal you can reach, like having a salad and a piece of fruit each day.
  • Make a long-term goal too, such as having one vegetarian dinner a week.
  • Incorporate some exercise alongside your healthy eating regime as both together will help reduce your risk of getting serious health conditions.
  • Ensure you remain hydrated and remember to drink more during hot weather and also while exercising.

Where can you get support?

Having support from others can be a huge help. The more support you have, the easier it will be to make changes. Ask family and friends to practice healthy eating with you. Have them help you make meals, and share healthy, delicious recipes and cooking tips.

If you need more help, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. Look online for groups that support healthy eating and share success stories.

Sources

Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise Incorporated.

NHS Choices