A Balanced Diet
This section contains details on what a healthy diet should consist of
and why each vitamin and mineral is an essential part of staying
healthy. The majority of people in this country eat too much fat and
not enough fibre and for most people a healthy diet is simple and easy
to do. The move towards a healthy diet may just mean eating more
fruit, vegetables, bread, cereals, potatoes, and pasta. People in the
UK have a 1 in 3 chance of developing cancer at some time in their
lives, eating a healthy diet, which includes 5 portions of different
fruit and vegetables a day can help reduce the risk of developing
heart disease, or cancer. There are 7 basic food groups and a healthy
diet consists of eating a variety of foods from all of the groups but
in the correct proportion.
Carbohydrates are the fast – realise energy providers. They are the
easiest nutrient for the body to digest and are quickly converted into
glucose and used as energy. There are two types of carbohydrate,
starch and sugar. We obtain most of our carbohydrate in starch. This
is a slow realise of energy and is found in potatoes, rice, spaghetti,
bread and cereals.
The other carbohydrate is sugar. Sugar is a quick realise of energy
and can be found in cakes, sweets, fizzy drinks, jams and honey.
Carbohydrates make up 60% of a balanced diet. You should aim to base
all meals on good size serving from this group, choosing wholegrain
types when you can.
Small amount of fat is essential in our diets as it gives us energy
but the majority of us eat far too much and should try to cut down.
There are 2 main types of fat.
1. Unsaturated fats (which includes polyunsaturated and monosaturated
fats) - In moderation these can help lower cholesteal and help
maintain a healthy heart. Good sources of these fats are found in
vegetable oils like sunflower, Soya or corn, oily fish like mackerel,
sardines and pilchards, olive oils, margarines (labelled high in
polyunsaturated) and avocado pears.
2. Saturated fats - A diet high in these types of fat will increase
your cholesterol levels and also increase the risk of heart disease.
These fats are found in high quantities in meat, dairy products like
full-fat milk, cheese, and butter, pies, cakes, chocolate and
As well as cutting down on fat intake you should try to eat foods
containing unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats. You can cut
down on your fat intake by reducing the amount of butter and margarine
that you use and by avoiding biscuits, cakes and sweets. Try not to
fry food, instead bake, grill, poach or microwave. Cut any visible
fats off meats before cooking, and remove the skin from chicken and
other poultry before cooking. Fats make up 20% of a balanced diet.
Protein is essential...