Nutrition Week 2023: 8 Small Diet Changes For Better Health

Staying healthy can sometimes feel like a full-time job. And in a way, it is. Rather than following fad diets or aiming for a shortcut ‘1-week weight loss’ scheme, the best route to being fit and healthy is to make better diet choices in your everyday life.

Improving your health through dietary changes need not be a daunting task. These eight simple adjustments can make a significant difference in your overall well-being. Remember that small, consistent changes over time can lead to substantial improvements in your health. By prioritising wholesome foods, portion control, and mindful eating, you can take proactive steps towards a healthier and happier life.

Balance Your Portions

To maintain a healthy weight, it's crucial to match your energy intake with your energy expenditure. Overeating leads to weight gain as excess energy is stored as fat, while undereating causes weight loss.

Don’t Skip Carbs

Emphasise starchy carbohydrates, which should comprise roughly one-third of your diet. Opt for whole grain options like wholewheat pasta, brown rice, or potatoes with skins for increased fibre, promoting fullness. Whole grains are higher in fibre and essential nutrients, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and support digestive health.

Eat Your 5 A Day

Include at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables in your daily intake. These can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or juiced. Be cautious with fruit juices, limiting them to one glass per day due to their sugar content.

Boost Omega-3

If you are a meat-eater, consume fish at least twice a week, with one portion being oily fish. Oily fish like salmon and mackerel are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats. But be mindful of salt levels in canned and smoked fish. And if you’re vegetarian, include things like flax or chia seeds and walnuts in your diet.

Cut Out Unhealthy Fats

Reduce saturated fat intake to lower cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease. Opt for unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils, fish, and avocados. Minimise sugar consumption, especially free sugars added to foods and drinks. Sugary items like fizzy drinks, sweets, and pastries contribute to obesity and tooth decay. Check food labels for sugar content.

Regulate Your Salt Intake

Limit salt intake to 6g daily to maintain healthy blood pressure. Most salt comes from packaged foods, so use labels to identify high-salt items. High salt intake can elevate blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Use herbs and spices to season your food instead of salt and be cautious with processed foods, which often contain hidden sodium.

Stay Hydrated

Water is essential for good health, helping with digestion, regulating body temperature, and maintaining overall well-being. Stay adequately hydrated by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of non-alcoholic fluids daily. Water, low-fat milk, and unsweetened tea or coffee are preferable choices. Avoid sugary drinks, even fruit juices, to protect your teeth.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to rush through meals without paying attention to what you're eating. Don't skip breakfast; opt for a high-fibre, low-fat, low-sugar, and low-salt meal. A whole grain cereal with semi-skimmed milk and fruit is a nutritious choice to kickstart your day.