Eating well is considered essential to healthy lifestyle alongside keeping fit, but in a world of fad diets and added pressure to look good, do we really know what’s best for our bodies when it comes to maintaining a balanced diet?
Know your numbers
Ten percent of people we questioned in a recent survey of 1,200 UK adults said they are unsure of what their daily calorie intake should be, which in turn can lead to confusion as to how much food we should be consuming. We know that eating a balanced diet, reducing our intake of sugary foods and introducing more fresh produce is the key, but if we don’t understand our calorie intake are we really utilising this information as well as we could?
The average male needs around 2,500 calories a day to maintain his weight, and females slightly less, with an average of 2,000 calories, according to Authority Nutrition. Adults should try not to eat anymore than six grams of salt per day, and the added sugarsin our diet should make up less than 10% of the calories you eat.
To help get a better understanding of the nutritional value of foods, the majority of packaging now displays the food labelling traffic light system. This is a voluntary scheme introduced by the Department of Health in 2013, that sees foods highlighted as red, amber or green according to how much salt, sugar and fat they contain. For a healthier choice, try to pick products with more greens and ambers and less reds.
25% of people think there are too many fad diets promoted around, which is an alarming statistic. A further 15% said they feel under constant pressure to diet.
With popular figures endorsing these fad diets, it is becoming the social norm. For the one in ten of us that have tried one at some point, this can often lead to yo-yo dieting which is not often a long-term solution. For the best advice, visit your GP or a local authorised nutritionist who will help set achievable and maintainable goals.
How can you eat well?
When looking at the main barriers people face when trying to get their five-a-day, the majority of people said that the cost of fresh food is ‘too expensive’. Although this may be true for fresh meat, it’s not always the case when it comes to fruit and vegetables. Broccoli can cost as little as 49p, mushrooms 90p and pieces of fruit as little as 12p,for the likes of bananas and oranges, they are officially cheaper than packets of crisps and chocolate bars.
Another highlighted barrier was time, with one in ten admitting that they ‘don’t have enough time to eat healthily’ and ‘preparing and cooking fruit and vegetables is too much effort’ which can also increase the urge for fast food. This combined with not knowing what eating well really looks like can be detrimental to your health if not considered important sooner.
Try making healthier versions of your favourite takeaway or fast foods, such as these <skinny fish and chips or these spicy potato bhajis.
For more information see our infographic below:
Ramsay Health Care UK | 30/09/2016