Your diet: too little or too much?

Everyone should aim for a healthy diet that includes a balance of all the essential food groups. We should eat some foods more often, and limit how much we eat of others.

Put the right amounts on your plate

Each day men should aim to consume 2,500 calories and women should have around 2,000. Try and avoid snacking, and focus on eating the right portions during mealtimes.

Fruits and vegetables should be about 1/3 of what you eat – at least 5 portions a day. Carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes should form an important part of your diet too (choose wholegrain options if you can), along with a smaller amount of proteins like meat, fish, eggs or pulses, and a little portion of dairy products.

    Cut back on sugary drinks & snacks

    Although fats and sugar are important to the body, they should only make up a very small amount of your diet. We should have no more than 30g of added sugar a day (7 cubes) but on average we’re consuming more than three times this amount.

    Sugary drinks – both fizzy and fruit juices – are one of the biggest culprits, along with breakfast cereals, flavoured yoghurts, sweets and chocolate.

      Avoid saturated fats & excess salt

      Too much saturated fat can affect our health, increasing our weight, clogging up arteries and contributing to diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Fatty meats, butters and spreads, pizza, cakes and biscuits should be eaten infrequently.

      Lots of us are consuming too much salt too, without even realising. It’s added to over 75% of the food we buy off the shelf. Crisps, bacon, cheese and sauces are often high in salt. Try not to have more than 6g (1 teaspoon) in total a day.

        Swap for healthier options

        Instead of drinking fizzy drinks full of sugar and eating packets of crisps, try and swap them for healthier, low-fat or low-sugar options.

        Grab a glass of water instead of a can of cola, or a handful of grapes instead of a chocolate bar. Carrot or celery sticks with low-fat hummus is a great, tasty savoury snack too.

          What counts towards your 5-A-Day?

          Fruit and vegetables are a vital part of our diet, and we should all be aiming for at least 5 portions a day. Almost every fruit & veg counts as one of your 5-A-Day (the big exception is potatoes which are a carbohydrate), so it’s easier than you think to get your recommended amounts. Even tinned or frozen fruit & veg counts – just aim for about 80g per portion.

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