Nutrition

5 a day message

Eating a varied and balanced diet that is low in fat, salt and sugar with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is important for maintaining a healthy weight and providing your body with the fibre, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that it needs.

The government recommends that everyone should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

To get the most benefit you can from your fruit and vegetables, it is important to remember that variety is the key. Different fruit and vegetables contain different levels of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

Although many ready meals and takeaways do have fruit and vegetables included, these meals should be eaten in moderation. Ready meals can be high in fat, salt and/or sugar, which usually outweigh the goodness you would normally get from the fruit and vegetables

5 great reasons to be eating more fruit and vegetables:

  1. They're packed with vitamins and minerals.

  2. They can help you to maintain a healthy weight.

  3. They're an excellent source of fibre and antioxidants.

  4. They help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

  5. They taste delicious and there's so much variety to choose from.

What is a portion?

Below are some examples of sizes to help you to get a better idea of just how much you should be eating.

Fresh fruit

  • half a large grapefruit

  • a large slice of melon

  • two satsumas

Dried fruit

  • one tablespoon of raisins

  • three dried apricots

Juice (fruit or vegetable)

  • glass of 100% juice

(Juice is one portion a day, no matter how much you drink.)

Fresh vegetables

  • three tablespoons of carrots, peas or sweetcorn

  • one cereal bowl of mixed salad

  • Potatoes do not count as one of your five fruit and vegetables.

Pulses

  • one cup of pulses

(like juice pulses only count as one portion a day)

Helpful Tip

The more colours that you eat, the greater the variety of vitamins and minerals you are getting.

For more information about the 5-a-day message and some great tips and receipes visit: NHS

To be achieving a healthier diet, most people need to be eating:

  • More fruit and vegetables

  • More starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes, aiming for wholegrain varieties when possible

  • Some foods rich in protein, such as eggs, fish and meat

  • Less fat, salt and sugar

Traffic light labelling

To help you make healthier choices when buying food, many supermarkets and manufactors have adopted the traffic light labelling system.

Food products with traffic light labels on the front of the pack show you at-a-glance if the food you are thinking about buying has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt, helping you get a better balance.

For more information about traffic light labelling visit the Governments Eat Well website: http://tna.europarchive.org/20100929190231/http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/foodlabels/trafficlights/

Water intake

Drinking water is particularly important for your body, and helps it to function efficiently. The average person requires 6 to 8 glasses of water a day in a cool climate. If you are in a hot climate or participating in physical activity your body will need more to stop it from getting dehydrated.

How many glasses of water have you had today?