This article was written by Julie, our registered associate nutritionist. She works with School Children with Special Dietary Requirements as well as supporting clients with personalised nutrition plans.
The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) marks its 10th anniversary of Healthy Eating Week this month and its focus is around Eating well for both ourselves and the planet. Each day there is a different theme, starting with how we can increase our fibre intake to being more creative with protein as well as how we can reduce food waste.
The BNF have created some great packs and resources if you would like to get involved. These range from early years through to secondary school as well as workplace and community groups. Find out more here as well as where you can order a free pack https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthy-eating-week/what-s-it-all-about/
Let’s take a closer look at the week and see what we can do to help.
Monday - tips for increasing fibre intake:
What is fibre? It is a carbohydrate that is found naturally in plants, you may of heard of ‘soluble and insoluble fibre’, but what is the difference. Let’s take a closer look! Soluble fibre is found in foods such as oats and fibre, whilst unsoluble fibre is found in wholegrains, potato skin and nuts. We need both in our diets as they help to keep our digestive system healthy, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer. It is recommended that adults try to eat 30g of fibre per day. Here is an example of what this looks like; 40g wholegrain bran flakes; 1 banana, 1 apple, 150g baked beans; 2 slices of wholemeal toast; a baked potato with skin; a small salad; 100g strawberries and a handful of nuts. There is a great video here if you would like to find out more: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthy-sustainable-diets/starchy-foods-sugar-and-fibre/fibre/?level=Consumer
Tuesday - how can I ensure I get my 5 a day?
Eating fruit and veg is a great way of ensuring that we are getting a good supply of vitamins, minerals, and fibre in our diets. They can help us to maintain a healthy weight as well as reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer, but what counts towards our 5 a day and what does a portion look like? Fresh, canned, and frozen fruit and veg count towards our 5 a day but remember to look at the labels on canned fruit and vegetables to ensure they do not have any added salt or sugar. Fresh fruit or vegetable juice also counts too as does a smoothie but remember all these drinks contain sugar which can damage your teeth so limit these to 1 glass per day of no more than 150ml. Dried fruit count too, around a 30g portion, but these are also high in sugar too so not too many! Beans and pulses are also a great way to get your 5 a day as well as fibre too! A portion for an adult is around 80g, this is about a handful. Do you need more advice on portion size? Take a look here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/5-a-day/5-a-day-what-counts/
Wednesday - it’s all about protein
Protein is essential in our diets to maintain muscles, bones, and skin. Good sources are meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, and pulses. Small amounts are also found in cereal. Here are a few top tips you might want to try:
Swap half the meat in a dish such as bolognaise with pulses like beans or lentils This is a great way to increase your fibre intake as well as reducing your food costs too…
Add a handful of unsalted nuts to your breakfast cereal. Not only are they a good source of protein, but also provide healthy fat in the diet!
Add chickpeas to salads, casseroles or curries, they are a great source of fibre too.
Thursday - staying hydrated
Water is essential for our health, and did you know that it makes up over half of our body weight? Every day we lose water when we go to the loo, breathe and through our skin so that’s why it is so important to drink regularly throughout the day. It’s not just water that counts either, drinks like tea and coffee can help us to stay hydrated as can milk, fresh juices and smoothies, but be careful not to drink too much fruit juice as it can be bad for your teeth! If we get dehydrated it causes us to feel very lethargic and often leads to headaches as well as making it difficult for us to concentrate too so try to drink around 6-8 drinks a day.
Friday - tips for reducing food waste - Every year a whopping 7 million tonnes of food and drink is thrown out of our homes, costing an estimated £12.5 billion per year. What can we do to cut this down as well as help the environment? Here are a few tips:
Keep an eye on your fridge temperature, it should be between 0-5C and think about what you need to store in the fridge too. Things like bread, potatoes and onions don’t need to be stored in a fridge.
Plan your meals before you go shopping, this will not only help you to save money, but help reduce waste too!
If you have any fruit and vegetables left over don’t throw them out, make up a soup with the veggies or freeze the fruit. You can use it in a smoothie, a fruit crumble or pie as well as your morning bowl of porridge.
Freeze bread rather than leaving it in the breadbin, simply defrost as you need it.
Saturday and Sunday - keep up the good work 👍
Julie is an Associate Registered Nutritionist and believes in providing a personalised approach to her clients to help them reach their health and lifestyle goals. Julie has experience working with clients on a one to one basis to support digestive disorders, weight management, women’s health, and special dietary requirements and menu development for
children. In addition, Julie is a qualified chef and lecturer, and is able to support clients with their culinary skills, education and training.