A healthy, balanced diet is essential for good health and wellbeing. It can be a challenge to change what we eat but even small, simple changes can make a difference to our health.
Be Food Smart
When it comes to food we all like it to be cheap, easy and tasty. That often means ready-made foods, snacks, and takeaways.
But if you look inside some of these food, you'd discover lots of hidden nasties like salt, sugar and fat. Too much of which can increase cholesterol, block our arteries and even lead to heart attacks, strokes and diseases like diabetes and cancers.
Register with Change4Life Wales today to receive a free Food Smart Recipe brochure packed with ideas for food smart breakfasts, lunches and evening meals that'll each feed 4 adults.
Get lots of tips and advice from the don't stop it, swap it! booklet
Are you eating too much salt ? Check out the new NHS guide
Would you like to learn more about a healthy way to lose weight, become more active and get support and ideas to help change you eating habits ? Learn more about Foodwise For Life.
Be Calorie Smart
Counting calories doesn't mean you're on a diet. They're just a handy way of helping you choose balanced meals each day.
Remember, we don't all need to eat the same sized portions; 'me sized meals' are much better. E.g. a 5 year old needs less than a 10 year old and a 10 year old needs less thana grown up.
The calorie rule of thumb is simple :
Aim to have 400 calories at breakfast, 600 at lunch and another 600 for your evening meal. That leaves you with some left over for drinks and snacks.
Hey Big Saver
Being food smart isn't just healthier, it can be cheaper too. Here's how :
* swapping takeaways for home cooking can save a staggering £800 a year. Try our healthier Food Smart recipies for delicious fish and chips, super stews and easy curries - and start saving today !
* Always write a shopping list. Only buying what you really need can help you bring your shopping bills right down ?
* Want to save on fruit and veg ? Try buying what is in season. It is usually cheaper and tastier. or join your local food co-op
* Make vegtables the main event. They tend to cost less than meat, so adding more veg to your meals can cut your food bills, as well as cutting back on fat.
Food Smart Snacks
If your family raid the cupboards as soon as they get in, try these quick and simple snacks :
* snacks don't have to be salty! Swap crisps for rice cakes or breadsticks, dunked in lower fat cream cheese
* Fancy something fizzy ? Mix pure fruit juice with sparkling water for a great alternative to sugary colas
* Got a sweet tooth ? Forget the cakes or biscuits; dried fruit like bananas, raisins and slices of fruit bread are great for munching on the go
* Pick cereals with no added sugar. You can always sweet it up with a bit of chopped fruit
* Swap white toast and honey for an energy-packed banana on whole grain toast
Tips and Advice
Avoid eating too many foods high in fat. Trimming fat from meat, having fewer meat products, such as pies and sausages, and choosing lower fat dairy products will reduce the amount of fat you eat.
Also grill, oven-cook, steam, boil or microwave your food instead of frying. When looking at food labels, 3g fat per 100g of the food is low and over 20g is high.
Keep to a healthy weight by eating the right amount of food for how active you are. This may mean reducing your portion sizes.
Base your diet on starchy foods such as bread, pasta (especially wholegrain varieties) and potatoes. These fill you up and are relatively low in calories, provided that no fat is added during cooking.
Eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, aiming to have at least 5 portions a day. A portion is about 80g, one medium fruit such as an apple.
Try not to have sugary foods and drinks too often as they damage your teeth and are high in calories, without providing any other nutrients. When looking at food labels, 5g sugar per 100g food is low and over 15g is high
Get out of the habit of adding salt to your food, use pepper, herbs, spices, lemon juice or vinegar instead. www.salt.gov.uk
Drinking plenty of water and other fluids (but not alcohol) is beneficial. Aim for about 2 litres (3.5 pints or 6-8 glasses)
If you drink alcohol, keep to sensible amounts, 21 units a week for men and 14 for women
Only 34% of adults living in Wales reported eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily. Caerphilly County Borough has one of the lowest rates in Wales!