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Getting #HealthyTogether: Meal Planning

Last in our Getting #HealthyTogether series covers meal planning; what you need to think about when plating up, as well as all the info you’ll need about all the main food groups, in order to help you cook and serve healthier portions for you and your family.

First, let’s start with the five food groups. These are:
1. Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
You should base each of your meals on a starchy food and they should make up a third of your daily food intake as they provide an essential source of energy that your body needs.
Healthy options: Go for wholemeal bread, pasta and rice as it will fill you up for longer and it’s packed with fibre!

2. Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
These foods, such as oily fish, chicken, nuts and beans, provide protein and other minerals and vitamins, which are essential for the growth and repair of our bodies.
Healthy options: Grill or poach, rather than fry and eat more lean meats, such as chicken and fish and trim any visible fat from the meat.

3. Fruit and Veg
We’re all aware that we should be aiming for at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, but it doesn’t just include fresh fruit and veg, tinned and dried, frozen and cooked, all count, even fruit juice does.

4. Milk and Dairy
Dairy foods, such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and soya products, all provide us with calcium, essential A-vitamins and protein and we should aim to have three portions of these products each day.
Healthy Options: Go for cottage cheese and natural yoghurt, and try and choose low fat options when possible.

5. Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar
We’re pretty sure you don’t need telling that we all need to cut down on these foods as much as possible, but not all fat is bad! Healthy fats, or mono and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts and fish are much better than foods high in bad, or saturated, fat, such as cakes, chocolate and biscuits.

Knowing the food groups is all well and good, but how much should we be consuming of each per day. Well here’s some things to think about when planning what you will be consuming over the course of the day:
• Is there a starchy/carbohydrate food at each main meal?
• Have you included 2-3 portions of protein?
• Have you included 2-3 dairy portions?
• Have you included 5 portions of fruit or veg?
• Have you limited your intake of foods high in fat and/or sugar?

For more tips and ideas on staying fit and healthy, enrol at one of our Healthy Together courses. Find out when and where they are next being held by contacting the Project Co-ordinator, Debbie Boulter on or give her a call on 01792 556561

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