During these worrying times it can be difficult to eat well but it is still important to try and have a healthy balanced diet.
Making a few small changes to your diet can also help lift your mood, give you more energy, stay on top of your weight, look after your health and make you feel good. The list goes on and on… eating well can even help you sleep better and improve brain function too.
To help we’ve provided a list below of healthy meal options for breakfast, lunch and dinner that include at last one portion of fruit and/or veg. We’ve provided some snack ideas too.
Healthy meal ideas
Boiled eggs and wholemeal soldiers with small glass of orange juice
2 egg omelette with freshly grilled or tinned mushrooms and/or fresh tomatoes
Porridge or cereal topped with fruit (fresh, dried or tinned, made/served with milk)
Baked beans on brown toast with cheese
Full English – grilled bacon or ham, an egg, tomatoes (fresh or tinned), mushrooms (fresh or tinned), brown toast
Tomatoes (fresh or tinned) on brown toast with a poached or fried egg
Eggy bread (made with two eggs and brown bread) with a small glass of orange juice
Take a look here for more breakfast ideas.
Lunch and snacks
Cheese and tomato, salad or cucumber sandwich on bread with spread
Corned beef and tomato sandwich
Leftovers: pasta, potato salad or stir fried noodles (if reheated, check the food is piping hot and eaten no more than 2 days after cooking)
Tin of soup with slices of bread and spread
2-3 biscuits or small slice of cake
Yogurt with fruit and sprinkle of nuts
Fruit (fresh or tinned)
Handful of nuts with dried fruit
2-3 slices of cheese
Take a look here for more lunch and snack ideas
Sliced ham/cured chicken breast, new potatoes and any boiled vegetables (fresh or tinned)
Wholegrain pasta shapes with mackerel/sardine/salmon/tuna and tomato sauce with vegetables (peas/sweetcorn) and grated cheese
Corned beef hash made with onions and topped with sliced tomatoes and a ½ tin of baked beans
½ tin of spaghetti hoops on brown toast and two fried eggs
Jacket potato with baked beans and cheese or tuna and sweetcorn
Egg fried rice – cooked rice mixed with a selection of cooked veg, with an egg added at the end
Vegetable chilli and rice made with chopped tomatoes, baked beans, mixed beans, peas. Add tomato puree, chilli powder and pepper.
Savoury rice – cook rice and diced vegetables (carrots, celery, cauliflower, peas and sweetcorn) together in a pan with stock. Add a sprinkle of dried mixed herbs.
Take a look here for more dinner ideas.
Tips for eating well
Eat more fruit and veg
Try to aim for at least five portions of fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruit and veg a day. Fruit and veg are packed with vitamins and minerals to help keep us healthy. For top tips on getting your five a day on a budget click here.
With so many people staying indoors at this time it’s important to make sure we are getting enough Vitamin D which is important for healthy bones and muscles. Vitamin D can be found in some foods but mainly comes from the sun, so for those self isolating or shielding they should consider taking a daily Vitamin D supplement. For more information take a look here.
Get family involved
Eating well is important for the whole family. Preparing and making food can be a fun activity for all the family of all ages, teaching kids a life skill and helping them to make healthy choices when they grow up.
Switch to lower fat dairy
Trying skimmed or semi-skimmed milk instead of full fat is a good way to reduce fat. Look at choosing cheese that’s lower in fat too. Remember, children should be given whole milk and dairy products until they are two years old because they may not get the calories or essential vitamins they need from lower-fat products.
Losing weight makes a big difference
Losing just 5% of your body weight can have enormous health benefits. This isn’t as much as you might think. If you are 14st 5 (92kg) you would need to lose 10lb (4.6kg). If you are 20st 6 (130kg) the amount to lose is 14lb (6.5kg).
Breastfeeding and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
There is a lot of evidence that breastfeeding reduces the risk of babies developing infectious diseases. There is currently no evidence that Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be passed through breastmilk. Therefore given the protection that breastmilk offers babies and the benefits it can give to mums, if you are breastfeeding you should continue to do so.
Becoming underweight can also be bad for your health. So it’s better to try to eat a balanced well-rounded diet, rather than just eating less!
Keep an eye on fat
Eating too many foods that are high in fat, and not being active, can make you more likely to gain weight. This can then lead to you becoming overweight or obese, which can increase your risk of cancer, type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Trimming away visible fat from meat and opting for fish or skinless chicken can help you cut out unnecessary fat.
Watch out for added sugar
It’s surprising how much sugar is hiding in many things we eat and drink. Too much sugar can lead to the build-up of harmful fat on the inside of our bodies that we can’t see. Eating too much sugar can also cause tooth decay. See how much sugar is in popular children’s drinks, cereals, yoghurts and snacks.
Try reducing salt
Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. This can lead to high blood pressure, which can make you more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Cutting down on salt is a good way to help reduce this risk. Remember, most of the salt we eat is hiding in foods we buy. Watch out for sausages, bacon, ham, pastries, pizza, cheese, crisps, gravy and sauces like ketchup.
Use less cooking oil
Reducing cooking oil can reduce the amount of fat you’re eating, and you’ll barely notice a difference to your food. Similar changes like avoiding high fat dressings such as mayonnaise or using olive or sunflower spread instead of butter can be effective too.
Swap white rice, pasta and bread for wholegrain varieties. These varieties keep you fuller for longer and contain more fibre.
Smaller plate, smaller portions
It might seem obvious but switching to a smaller plate can help reduce your portion sizes. It really does work!
Find out more
You can find out more by visiting the following websites