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Nutrition, Healthy Weight and Exercise

Fruit & Vegetables - Get your Five A Day

Getting your Five A Day (eating 5 portions of fruit & veg per day) is easy. There are plenty of ways to add more fruit and vegetables to your everyday eating habits.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • At breakfast, add fruit to cereal, porridge or lower-fat yoghurt. Try a handful of berries or a chopped banana. Add mushrooms or tomatoes to scrambled eggs.
  • Frozen fruit and veg count towards your 5 A DAY. It only takes a couple of minutes to microwave some frozen peas, mixed vegetables or mini corn on the cob.
  • Canned fruit and veg count too. It's healthier to choose fruit canned in juice rather than sugary syrup, and veg canned in water without added salt or sugar.
  • It's easy to add fresh, frozen or canned fruit and veg to meals. Sprinkle sweetcorn or pineapple chunks on top of a thin-based pizza, or liven up soups and sauces with a handful of kidney beans, peas or sweetcorn.
  • Add fruit and veg to your favourite meals. Try adding chopped carrots to bolognese sauce, sprinkle chopped red peppers on your pasta, or mix veg such as peas into mashed potato to make it even tastier. Add tomatoes to your omelette or mushrooms to your next stir-fry.
  • Add some crunch to your sandwiches with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber or grated carrots.
  • Sticks of cucumber, peppers and carrot, and cauliflower or broccoli florets are delicious with dips such as salsa or lower-fat cheese spread.
  • Swap sugary snacks, such as biscuits, for a piece of fruit. There are lots of healthy snack ideas in the Change4Life snack swapper
  • Add beans, lentils and pulses to stews, bakes and salads. However much you eat, beans and pulses count as a maximum of one portion a day.
  • Have a salad or vegetable side dish with your main meal. If you're having shepherd's pie, have some peas too. If you're having a roast dinner, add some carrots or broccoli to your plate.
  • One glass (150ml) of unsweetened 100% fruit juice counts towards your 5 A DAY. Fruit or vegetable juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day.
  • Make a quick smoothie in a blender using your favourite fresh or frozen fruits. A smoothie containing all of the edible pulped fruit or vegetable can count as up to two portions a day, depending on how it's made.

Weight Loss - Tips

 

Evidence shows that the best way to lose weight is to make long-term changes to diet and physical activity that result in a steady rate of weight loss. Aim to lose weight at around 0.5kg to 1kg a week (1lb to 2lb), until you achieve a healthy BMI

To lose weight, we need to change our current habits. This means eating less - even when eating a healthy, balanced diet - and getting more active.   The key to success?   Making realistic changes to your diet and level of physical activity that can become a part of your daily routine.

For tips on losing weight, visit:  NHS Choices - start losing weight

Exercise

The recommendations for adults are to participate in 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, five times a week.   For children and young people this goes up to 60 minutes every day.

 

People who do regular activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers.

Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression , dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

What counts?

 

To stay healthy or to improve your health, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate intensity activity each week.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can't sing the words to a song.

Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities are:

  • walking fast
  • water aerobics
  • riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
  • playing doubles tennis
  • pushing a lawn mower

It's medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:

 

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

For information on how to build exercise into your lifestyle or to get more active, visit: 
NHS Choices - start losing weight

For information on fitness videos, how to work out your BMI, physical activity recommendations for children, young people, adults and older people, visit: 
NHS Choices - Health and fitness