“Let him who would enjoy a good future waste none of his present” -Roger Babson
I’m feeling really positive about this one. I have been attending an NHS healthy eating group locally and its really clearer up alot of myths around food for me. Before I start, here’s where I’m at with my hierarchy of needs:
I have always had a really
destructive negative relationship with food. I have always been very thin which most people think is a blessing. I find it to be very challenging. For years in my teens people commented on how thin I was, strangers in the street would randomly come up to me to comment on how wafer thin I was.
Not a bad problem to have? Well to the outside I was this skinny happy girl who could eat what she wanted and just never put weight on. On the inside it was very different. I have a very big appetite plus I’m greedy. I could mostly control it in my 20’s with a very restrictive diet (no carbs, calories counting) I was so used to people telling me that my skinniness was effortless that It really didn’t feel like effort to me to control every mouthful I ate. Then from the age of 25 I discovered chocolate. I had never really eaten it before. Enter my destructive relationship and a love of chocolate. I found it really hard to control the amount of extra calories that chocolate contained. Did I cut down on chocolate? Hell no! I just learn’t to burn off the extra calories. I worked out that spending 30 – 60 minutes on my indoor rowing machine or bike would burn that off and that’s what I did.
Of course its different now. Mr Fire and I love food but its good healthy food. Our problem being portion size!
Why is healthy eating important?
- Provides the body with energy
- Prevents illness (some cancers, heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes types 2)
- Provides nutrients and vitamins
- Provides satisfaction and pleasure (improves mental wellbeing)
- Improves long term health
Here in the UK we use something called the Eatwell Guide
How to eat healthy
I have been bombarded over the years with conflicting advice/research about eating more protein to build muscle, eating less carbs to lose weight and other fad type diets.
What I like about the NHS’s guide to eating healthy is that you can adjust it to suit you. Here it is explained hopefully as easily as possible.
Calories – If your interested in your daily calorie intake then this is it for maintining your weight:
To lose weight its usually 500 calories less.
This is how much from each food group you should eat daily:
5 – 7 portions of fruit and veg a day
Yes that’s right, its at least 5 a day. The guidelines are also to eat 3 fruit and 4 veg since fruit is very high in sugar!
1 portion is what fits into the palm of your hand so:
3 teaspoons of veg
1 dessert bowl of salad
Your also allowed 150 ml fruit juice or smoothie to count towards your fruit allowance.
7 carbs portions of for women and 8 carbs for men
I was shocked when I heard 7 portions as it seems like a lot but did you know some people can get as much as 5 portions just from their breakfast!
1 portion is:
2 egg sized potates
1 bread roll
1 piece of bread
Gram for gram carbs contain less then half the calories of fat!
3 portions of dairy or alternatives
Good for calcium which is good for bones!
1 portion is:
30g hard cheese
small pot of yogurt
200 ml milk
2 portions of protein
Good for protein, vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least 2 portions of oily fish a week (unless your pregnant)
1 portion is:
2 fish fingers
60g – 90g lean meat
200g baked beans
2 portions of oils and spreads
Some fat in the diet is essential but as a nation we eat way too much!
1 portion is
1 teaspoon of olive, rapseed or sunflower oil
You are allowed some food that don’t contain any value to the food groups above. These are foods that are high in fat, sugar, alcohol. The allowance is 100 calories for women, 200 for men. I would love to put pictures of cake and chocolate up under this one but I think its slightly counter productive.
So does healthy eating work? I don’t know. I have been working on a meal plan to help me hit all my targets as above so I’ll let you know. I find it infurieting that the UK governement hasn’t issued any updated clear portion size directions in 20 years!
Interestingly, USA and Australia have there own eat well plates:
Whats your eating like? Do you have an eatwell plate in your country?
*I’m sure its pretty obvious but I have to say it anyway that I AM NOT a health professional. I have completed my own research and documented what I have found. Anyone wishing to change their eating habits should do so under guidance from a medical professional*