8 tips for healthy eating (2024)

These 8 practical tips cover the basics of healthy eating and can help you make healthier choices.

Thekey to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of calories for how active you are so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use.

If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you'll put on weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat. If you eat and drink too little, you'll lose weight.

You should also eat a wide range of foods tomake sure you're getting a balanced diet and your body is receivingall the nutrients it needs.

It's recommended that men havearound 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should have around 2,000 calories a day(8,400 kilojoules).

Most adults in the UK are eating more calories than they need and should eat fewer calories.

1. Baseyour meals on higher fibre starchy carbohydrates

Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat. Theyinclude potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals.

Choose higher fibre or wholegrain varieties, such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice or potatoes with their skins on.

They contain more fibre than white or refined starchy carbohydrates and can help you feel full for longer.

Try to include at least 1 starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram the carbohydrate they contain provides fewer than half the calories of fat.

Keep an eye on the fats you add when you're cooking or serving these types of foods because that's what increases the calorie content – for example, oil on chips, butter on bread and creamy sauces on pasta.

2. Eat lots of fruit and veg

It's recommended that you eat at least 5 portions ofa varietyof fruit and vegevery day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.

Getting your 5 A Day is easier than it sounds. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit?

A portion of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables is 80g. A portion of dried fruit (which should be kept to mealtimes) is 30g.

A 150ml glass of fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothie also counts as 1 portion, but limit the amount you have to no more than 1 glass a day as these drinks are sugary and can damage your teeth.

3. Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish

Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals.

Aim to eat at least 2 portions of fish a week, including at least 1 portion of oily fish.

Oily fish are high in omega-3 fats, which may help prevent heart disease.

Oily fish include:

  • salmon
  • trout
  • herring
  • sardines
  • pilchards
  • mackerel

Non-oily fish include:

  • haddock
  • plaice
  • coley
  • cod
  • tuna
  • skate
  • hake

You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned, but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.

Most people should be eating more fish, but there are recommended limits for some types of fish.

Find out more about fish and shellfish

4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

Saturated fat

You need some fat in your diet, but it's important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat you're eating.

There are 2 main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.

On average, men should have no more than 30g of saturated fat a day. On average, women should have no more than 20g of saturated fat a day.

Children under the age of 11 should have less saturated fat than adults, but a low-fat diet is not suitable for children under 5. In addition, full-fat dairy products, such as cheese, fromage frais and yoghurt, are recommended up to the age of 2 years.

Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as:

  • fatty cuts of meat
  • sausages
  • butter
  • hard cheese
  • cream
  • cakes
  • biscuits
  • lard
  • pies

Try to eat less saturated fat and choose foods that contain unsaturatedfats instead, such as vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados.

For a healthier choice, use a small amount of vegetable or olive oil, or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee.

When you're having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.

All types of fat are high in energy, so they should only be eaten in small amounts.

Sugar

Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugarincreases your risk of obesity and tooth decay.

Sugary foods and drinks are often high in energy (measured in kilojoules orcalories), and if consumed too often can contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals.

Free sugars are any sugars added to foods or drinks, or found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies.

This is the type of sugar you should be cutting down on, rather than the sugar found in fruit and milk.

Many packaged foods and drinks contain surprisingly high amounts of free sugars.

Free sugars are found in many foods, such as:

  • sugary fizzy drinks
  • sugary breakfast cereals
  • cakes
  • biscuits
  • pastries and puddings
  • sweets and chocolate
  • alcoholic drinks

Food labels can help. Use them to check how much sugar foods contain.

More than 22.5g of totalsugars per 100g means the food is high in sugar, while5g of total sugars or less per 100g means the food is low in sugar.

Find out how to cut down on sugar in your diet

5. Eat less salt: no more than 6g a day for adults

Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.

Even if you do not add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much.

About three-quarters of the salt you eat is already in the food when you buy it, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces.

Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt.

Adults and children aged 11 and over should eat no more than 6g of salt (about a teaspoonful)a day. Younger children should have even less.

Get tips for a lower salt diet

6. Get active and be a healthy weight

As well as eating healthily, regular exercise may help reduce your risk of getting serious health conditions. It's also important for your overall health and wellbeing.

Read more about the benefits of exercise and physical activity guidelines for adults.

Being overweight or obese can lead to health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. Being underweight could also affect your health.

Most adults need to lose weight by eating fewer calories.

If you're trying to lose weight, aim to eat less and be more active. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Check whether you're a healthy weight by using the BMI healthy weight calculator.

Lose weight with the NHS weight loss plan, a 12-week weight loss guide that combines advice on healthier eating and physical activity.

If you're underweight, see underweight adults. If you're worried about your weight, ask your GP or a dietitian for advice.

7. Do not get thirsty

You need to drink plentyoffluids to stop you getting dehydrated. The government recommends drinking 6 to 8 glasses every day. This is in addition to the fluid you get from the food you eat.

All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water, lower fat milkand lower sugar drinks, including tea and coffee, are healthier choices.

Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks, as they're high in calories. They're also bad for your teeth.

Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies are high in free sugar.

Your combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies should not be more than 150ml a day, which is a small glass.

Remember to drink more fluids during hot weather or while exercising.

8. Do not skip breakfast

Some people skip breakfast because they think it'll help them lose weight.

But a healthy breakfast high in fibre and low in fat, sugar and salt can form part of a balanced diet, and can help you get the nutrients you need for good health.

A wholegrain lower sugar cereal with semi-skimmed milk and fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and healthier breakfast.

Further information

  • The Eatwell Guide can help you get the right balance of the 5 main food groups. The guide shows you how much of what you eat should come from each food group.
  • Read more about eating a balanced diet andunderstanding calories.
8 tips for healthy eating (2024)

FAQs

What are the 8 top tips for healthy eating? ›

The eight tips are:
  • Base your meals on starchy foods.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Eat more fish – including a portion of oily fish each week.
  • Cut down on saturated fat. and sugar.
  • Eat less salt – no more than 6g a day for adults.
  • Get active and try to be a healthy weight.
  • Don't get thirsty.
  • Don't skip breakfast.

What are 10 ways to stay healthy? ›

Let's look at 10 science-backed healthy choices you can make to help you thrive throughout your life.
  • Get moving. ...
  • Eat more whole foods (and less processed food) ...
  • If you smoke, try to quit. ...
  • Make sleep a priority. ...
  • Stay hydrated. ...
  • If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly. ...
  • Make preventive care a priority. ...
  • Know your numbers.
Feb 7, 2023

What are 8 healthy foods? ›

Top 15 healthy foods you should be eating
  • Fish. ...
  • Broccoli or any of the cruciferous vegetables. ...
  • Beets. ...
  • Spinach and other leafy green vegetables. ...
  • Kale. ...
  • Peanut butter. ...
  • Almonds. ...
  • Mangos.
Apr 5, 2019

What are 5 healthy tips? ›

Five tips for a healthy lifestyle
  • Get regular checkups. These are important even when you feel healthy. ...
  • Exercise. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes most days a week. ...
  • Quit tobacco. ...
  • Limit alcohol and avoid drugs. ...
  • Eat healthy foods.
Jun 21, 2017

What are the 7 ways to be healthy? ›

7-ways-to-maintain-a-healthy-body-the-key-to-a-happy-and-productive-life
  • Practice Balanced Diet Habits. ...
  • Exercise Regularly. ...
  • Get Enough Sleep. ...
  • Avoid Smoking and Excessive Alcohol Consumption. ...
  • Maintain Mental Health. ...
  • Maintain Body Hygiene. ...
  • Drink Enough Water.
Feb 7, 2024

What are 4 healthy eating tips? ›

8 tips for healthy eating
  1. Base your meals on higher fibre starchy carbohydrates. ...
  2. Eat lots of fruit and veg. ...
  3. Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish. ...
  4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar. ...
  5. Eat less salt: no more than 6g a day for adults. ...
  6. Get active and be a healthy weight. ...
  7. Do not get thirsty. ...
  8. Do not skip breakfast.

What are the 20 good food habits? ›

20 Healthy Tips for Eating Right
  • Eat Breakfast. Start your day with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. ...
  • Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables. ...
  • Watch Portion Sizes. ...
  • Be Active. ...
  • Get to Know Food Labels. ...
  • Fix Healthy Snacks. ...
  • Consult an RDN. ...
  • Follow Food Safety Guidelines.
Mar 10, 2022

What are the 4 main healthy eating guidelines? ›

Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and grain products. Use sugars only in moderation. Use salt and sodium only in moderation.

What are 3 ways to stay healthy? ›

Steps you can take:

Healthy movement may include walking, sports, dancing, yoga, running or other activities you enjoy. Eat a well-balanced, low-fat diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose a diet that's low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and moderate in sugar, salt and total fat.

What are the 6 ways to stay healthy? ›

But a healthy lifestyle is much more than just diet and physical activity, she says.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. ...
  • Use good judgment with alcohol. ...
  • Get your beauty sleep. ...
  • Avoid tobacco. ...
  • Be smart in the sun. ...
  • Get screened.

How can I stay 100 healthy? ›

Don't smoke. Be physically active every day. Eat a healthy diet rich in whole grains, lean protein, vegetables, and fruits. Reduce or avoid unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats.

What are good health tips? ›

Eat a healthy diet

Adults should eat at least five portions (400g) of fruit and vegetables per day. You can improve your intake of fruits and vegetables by always including veggies in your meal; eating fresh fruit and vegetables as snacks; eating a variety of fruits and vegetables; and eating them in season.

What are the 10 food habits? ›

As explained by Ameya World School, here are 10 good eating habits that you can teach your kids:
  • Eat breakfast daily. ...
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. ...
  • Eat snacks in moderation. ...
  • Drink plenty of water. ...
  • Listen to your body's hunger cues. ...
  • Avoid overeating. ...
  • Eat meals together as a family. ...
  • Avoid eating in front of screens.

What is 5 healthy food? ›

5 major food groups

fruit. lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes or beans. grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain or high cereal fibre varieties. milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

What are 3 tips to eating healthy fast food? ›

Keep these three quick tips in mind when making your fast food order:
  • Aim for lean protein, veggies and fiber.
  • Avoid supersized or jumbo meals.
  • Try to keep your meal at about 500 calories or less.
Feb 9, 2023

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