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The Food Standards Agency has developed healthy eating guidelines.

1. Base your meals on starchy foods

Starchy foods include bread, potato, cereals, pasta, rice, noodles, oats and couscous.
Try and choose wholegrain varieties of these foods that count towards your fibre intake  Starchy foods should account for about a third of the amount of food we eat per day. This can be achieved by serving a starchy food at each meal time
eg. toast made from wholemeal bread for breakfast, pasta salad for lunch and dinner served with boiled potatoes


High fibre foods include wholegrain bread, brown rice, pasta, oats, beans, peas, lentils, grains, seeds, fruit and vegetables.
There are 2 types of fibre soluble and insoluble.

fibre can be partially digested and can help to reduce blood cholesterol.
Insoluble fibre cannot be digested by the body and passes through the gut and helps move other waste products through the gut more easily.

2. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables

Try to eat at a variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet and aim for 5 or more portions a day,  one portion is about 80g.
For example:

  • 1 apple, banana, pear, orange or other similar sized fruit
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables (raw, cooked, frozen or tinned)
  • 1 glass (150ml) of fruit juice
  • 2 plums or similar sized fruit
  • 1 dessert bowl of salad

3. Eat more fish

Fish is a great source of protein in our diets and contains lots of vitamins and minerals that our body needs. We should aim to eat two portions per week and one of these portions should be oily fish.  Fresh, frozen or canned can all be eaten but be careful as canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.

4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

We need fat in our diet fat as it helps the body to absorb some vitamins, it's a good source of energy and a source of some of the essential fatty acids that the body can't make itself. However, it is important that we are eating the right type and amount of fat. If we are taking in too much fat then our body has more energy then we need and we put on weight.

There are two types of fat Saturated and Unsaturated

Too much saturated fat in out diet can increase the amount of cholesterol in our blood that can cause heart disease where as unsaturated fat can help to red the amount of cholesterol in our blood.

Foods high in saturated fat – Cakes, biscuits, pastry, hard cheese, cream, butter, lard, sausages, meat pies and meat with visible white fat. These foods should be eaten in small amounts.

Foods high in unsaturated fat- Vegetable oils (including sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil), oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados. We should try and include more of these in our diets. One way to do this is to sprinkle seeds on top of your breakfast cereal.


Having too many sugary foods and drinks in your diet can cause tooth decay.  Foods that contain added sugar can also be high in calories and that can cause weight gain. Sugars occur naturally in some foods such as fruit and milk.  We do not need to cut down on these types of sugars but it is the foods that contain added sugars that we should be cutting down on.  These include cakes, pastries, ice cream, puddings, sweets, biscuits and fizzy drinks.

5. Eat less salt

 Adults and children over 11, should have no more than 6g salt a day and younger children should have even less. Currently 85% men and 69% women eat too much salt.  Food manufacturers are now working hard to reduce the amount of salt in their foods. Too much salt in the diet can have an adverse effect on our health causing high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes.

6. Get active and try to be a healthy weight

It is not healthy for us to be overweight or indeed underweight, as both can affect our health. For us to be a healthy weight we need to combine healthy eating and exercise. If you're worried about your weight, ask your GP or a dietitian for advice. It is important to eat foods from all the different food groups so we get the nutrients the body needs. Being active helps to control our weight as it burns excess calories.

7. Drink plenty of water

We should be drinking about 6 to 8 glasses (1.2 litres) of water, or other fluids, every day to stop our bodies from getting dehydrated. We may need more water when the weather is warm or when we get active.

8. Don't skip breakfast!

Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight.  Missing meals doesn't help us lose weight and it isn't good for us, as we can miss out on essential nutrients that are body needs.  Breakfast gives us energy we need to face the day, as well as some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health.