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Eating a Healthy Diet

Introduction

Fruit and Vegetables

Starchy Foods

Meat

Fish


Introduction

Tips to eating more healthily;

  • You may be eating too much fat, sugar and salt which increases your chances of getting heart disease 
  • You're possibly not eating enough bread, cereals and fruit and vegetables.  These provide important vitamins which can reduce your chances of getting heart disease
  • If you already have heart disease then it is important to follow a healthy diet
  • If you eat less fat and more starchy foods (bread, chapattis, rice, pasta, potatoes) you can lower your cholesterol level and help to keep your weight down 

Eating less sugar helps balance your weight 

  • Which will lower your cholesterol level and help to keep your weight down 
  • You will lower your chances of a heart attack if you eat more fruit and vegetables (due to there vitamin content).  They also help to fill you up so you'll have less room for the sugary, fatty foods 

Eating less salt helps to keep your blood pressure down.  



Here are some helpful hints if you want to change what you eat.

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Fruit and vegetables

Try to eat more fruit and vegetables.    Try to have at least 5 servings every day; fresh, tinned or frozen.  You can count one glass of fruit juice but don't count potatoes. One serving is:

  • banana /apple / pear/ kiwi fruit
  • A small bunch of grapes / 2 plumbs
  • 1 glass of fresh orange juice
  • Some carrots/turnip / spouts / cauliflower / salad
  • A bowl of vegetable soup

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Starchy foods
 
(e.g. bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, breakfast cereals)

Eat plenty of starchy foods; preferably of the wholemeal or wholegrain variety. These foods give out their energy more slowly than sugary foods and keep you going longer.  Spread butter or margarine thinly on bread and try choosing low fat sauces when adding to pasta.   

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Meat

To help cut down on fat, use lean meat, chicken (without skin) or fish for a main course.  Peas, beans and lentils can be used instead of meat and these are also low in fat, cheap and filling.

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Fish

Try to eat oil rich fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines or pilchards at least twice a week. They are good for your heart and circulation.

Cut down on fat, sugar and salt:

  • Grill, bake or microwave food rather than fry. If you really must fry, use polyunsaturated oil (corn or sunflower oil) or monounsaturated oil (olive or rapeseed) (read the label) instead of hard fat
  • Choose skimmed or semi skimmed milk, low fat yogurt and cheese.  Try a low fat spread but whatever you use – spread it thinly  
  • Try to avoid sugar in food and drink to help with weight control.  Choose artificial sweeteners and low calorie/sugar free drinks or water instead 
  • You should think of cakes, biscuits, crisps, chocolate, sweets and soft drinks as treats and only have them once in a while  They contain lots of sugar and/or fat so they add to your weight and don't help your cholesterol.  They are not filling and so you'll want more food too soon 
  • Salt increases your blood pressure. Try to can decrease the amount of salt you use by:
    - Using less salt when you are cooking
    - Not adding salt to food before eating
  • Try flavouring food with herbs, spices, pepper or mustard
  • Cut down on salty snacks like crisps or salted nuts – and beware of foods like pies, ready-made meals, sausages and most tinned and packet foods – they contain high amounts of salt (read the label!)
  • Avoiding bicarbonate of soda (and other fizzy medicines for your stomach) they have a lot of salt 

If you are finding it hard to change what you eat and want some help then ask your practice nurse for further information, or why not attend a hearty eating group?  These are sessions run by community dietitians where you will learn more about planning and cooking your meals, food labeling and take part in food tasting sessions, and you can bring your husband/wife/partner to join in too. 

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