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Healthy Eating Tips
You need to eat a variety of foods that give you the nutrients your body needs.
What you eat
If you eat a lot of fried foods and other foods high in fat (saturated fat), sugars and salt,
plus an extra helping of dessert, your diet is probably not balanced. These foods should
only be eaten rarely and in small amounts and should be balanced with other more
nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, fish, pasta and dairy products.
Where you eat
If you eat in places such as your room or in front of the TV, you may want to change that
habit. By eating at a table, you can pay more attention to what you are eating so that you
do not overeat. If you want to snack while watching TV, take a small amount of food
with you- such as a handful of nuts, or a fruit or yoghurt.
Why you eat
Most people eat because they are hungry, or because it is the time of day to eat, the food
looks tempting or because everyone is eating. Boredom, frustration, nervousness or
sadness, are also reasons why people eat.
The best reason to eat is because your body tells you that you are hungry. If you are
eating when you are not hungry, try doing something else to get food out off your mind.
Call a friend, exercise, read, listen to music, or work on a craft. These activities can help
you to cut back on eating when you are feeling bored, upset or stressed.
Healthy eating
The Mediterranean diet has become very popular and trendy. The Mediterranean diet
consists of high consumption of legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables.
Moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products but low
consumption of meat and meat products. Also the Mediterranean diet is famous for using
olive oil instead of other fats.
The Mediterranean diet’s typical dessert is fruit. Olive oil is used as the main fat, as it is
high in monounsaturated fats that protect the body’s circulation. Be careful when using
olive oil as it is still a fat and provides many calories.
Generally, the Mediterranean diet is low in fat, especially saturated fat, and high in
vitamins and minerals from plant foods, making it a good choice.
For a healthy Mediterranean diet, base what you eat on foods from plant sources (bread,
pasta, rice, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and legumes) and eat less of the foods from the
animal sources (red meat, processed meat and diary products).
Eat daily from the first 4 food groups:
Breads, Cereals, Rice, Pasta and Potatoes
Enjoy plenty of these foods as they are rich in carbohydrates which are our main
source of energy. Nearly half the calories in your diet should come from theses
foods. You should eat at least 6 servings of your food daily. A serving is 1 slice
of bread, 3 medium-sized potatoes, 30g breakfast cereal (low in sugar and salt and
high in fibre) or 100g of cooked rice or pasta.
Try wholemeal bread, pasta and rice to increase your fibre intake. Go easy on
high fat spreads like margarine and butter. Try tomato sauces which are lower in
calories than cream sauces.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre and antioxidant
vitamins and minerals (protect the arteries and veins). Eating lots of fruits and
vegetables improves Vitamin C intake in your diet and may help you reduce
cancer risk. Also fruit and vegetables taste good and are the original fast and easy
Eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. A serving of fruit is one fresh
fruit or ½ a cup of chopped or cooked fruit, or a glass of fruit juice. A serving of
vegetables is 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables or ½ cup of other cooked or raw
vegetables. One portion of fruit and vegetables is approximately 80g.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs and Nuts
These foods provide protein which are the building blocks of life. Try and eat
protein food twice a day during your meals. Choose 100g of lean red meat,
poultry, rabbit or fish, or 100g of cooked dry beans.
Limit your intake of red meat (e.g. beef). Dry beans and peas are also high in
protein and low in fat. Try to eat fish at least twice a week as it is important for
your physical and intellectual development. You can choose fresh, frozen or
canned fish.
Milk, Yoghurt and Cheese
Foods from this group contain calcium which is very important for healthy bones
and teeth. Do not miss out on these foods because you think they are fattening or
do not taste good. Go for a glass of skimmed milk for breakfast or before you go
to bed. Try different varieties of low-fat fruit yoghurts, as well as low fat cheese
such as Edam cheese, cheeselets, ricotta, and light cheese spread.
As a young person you need about 3 servings of dairy products daily. This would
mean one glass of skimmed mils, one carton of yoghurt and a portion of low-fat
cheese (e.g. 45g Edam cheese).
Fats, Oils and Sweets
These should be eaten only sparingly. One needs to have these in small amounts
and preferably not everyday.