The Balance of Good Health continued
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are an important source of the vitamins that may help to protect against heart disease. These vitamins A, C and E are known as antioxidants, they may also protect against some cancers.
To get enough of these vitamins, aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day (this does not include potatoes).
|A table of snacks prepared by Rose during the Colts Nutrition Fortnight|
Click here to find out what counts as a portion and for more information on ways to include fruit and vegetables in your diet.
- Remember that fruit and vegetables contain soluble fibre
- Fruit is an ideal snack to have between meals, and for a pudding, fresh or stewed
- Try to have vegetables with your main meal, perhaps add a salad vegetable e.g. cucumber or tomato, to a sandwich
- Use low calorie or fat free dressings on salads; try not to add butter or margarine to cooked vegetables
Pure fruit juice and dried fruit contain concentrated amounts of natural sugar and can be high in calories. Try these ideas if you are aiming to lose weight:
- Only have a small (100ml) glass of fruit juice with a meal, or dilute it with water
- Try not to eat dried fruit as a snack between meals, you could add a small handful to cereals or use it in baking
- Try tinned fruit in natural juice rather than syrup
Youngsters enjoying fruit at the Colts Nutrition Fortnight
It is important to preserve the vitamins in fruit and vegetables. Cook vegetables quickly in a small amount of water, or try steaming or microwaving instead. Do not add bicarbonate of soda to your vegetables as this destroys the vitamins.
Fats and Oils
Fats and oils, whatever the type, contain the same amount of calories. It is important to cut down on all fats, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
You may come across the following types of fats:
- Saturated Fats
- Polyunsaturated Fats
- Monounsaturated Fats
These are the fats that cause your blood cholesterol level to rise. It is important to cut down on these fats.
- Fat on meat
- Skin on poultry
- Palm oil
Saturated fats are also found in pies, pastries, cakes, biscuits and crisps. These foods may also contain trans fats. Trans fats affect your cholesterol in the same way as saturated fats. It is important to cut down on these sources of fat.
These fats do not cause your blood cholesterol level to rise.
They can be monounsaturated such as olive oil, rapeseed oil and peanut (groundnut oil).
They can be polyunsaturated such as sunflower oil, corn oil, soya oil, safflower oil and the oil found in oily fish.
If you do want to use a small amount of fat, try using one of these.
Cutting down on fat
- Try cooking without adding extra fat e.g. by grilling, poaching, steaming, baking or using a microwave
- Using less of your usual fat is a helpful way of cutting down
- Spread butter or margarine thinly, or use very small amounts of oil or ghee in cooking. Measure the amount of fat you are going to use with a teaspoon
- Some low fat products are useful when trying to cut down on fat, for example, low fat spreads and low fat cheeses
- Others are not so useful such as low fat crisps, low fat sausages, low fat cakes and biscuits. These foods can still contain large amounts of fat and some are high in sugar.