Nutrition

​Tips, advice and easy to follow recipes, updated monthly, along with loads of other fun and interesting foody facts.

Why is it important to eat healthily?

Eating well is essential for good health and wellbeing, and contributes to reducing the risk of conditions including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some cancers and osteoporosis. When it comes to a healthy diet, balance is the key to getting it right.

This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

The eatwell guide

The eatwell guide shows the different types of food that make up our diet, and shows the proportions we should eat them in to have a healthy, balanced diet.

Be sure to follow the Wakefield Wellbeing Facebook page.

 



Buffets and portions

Seasonally there are lots of buffets around in November and December. From the Christmas fuddle at work to the family and friends get-togethers. It can be spread after spread, and so other things can spread too, like our waistlines.

Here’s some top tips to help.

Got to hand it to you.

Many of us are eating more healthily yet still struggling to be a healthy weight.  Checking your portions can help. All you need is your hand. It’s always with you to use and is in proportion to you.

The Handy Portion Guide gives you portions for common foods in each of the 5 food groups:

Beat the buffet bloat

Eating well can be a challenge when you’re staring at heaps of tempting food loaded onto buffet tables, kitchen counters, and dining room sideboards.

Whether it’s a fancy catered affair or pizza, sandwiches and cold meats laid out on the kitchen table, we are still likely to overeat. Easily doubling our intake compared to your usual meal.

Use these tips to help.

  1. About turn

    It’s one of the easiest strategies to use.  We often eat with our eyes. We see something delicious and we want to eat it.  So sit and stand yourself where you can’t see the buffet. 
  2. Move away

    Place yourself further away. You’re far less likely to nibble and eat extras if you have to leave a conversation and walk across the room to get to the food.
    Research by Cornell University showed that for every 40 feet further away from the buffet that people sat, they made one trip fewer."
  3. Nobble the nibbles

    Nibbles can really get you.  They’re small, such as crisps, mini bites – sausage rolls and vol-au-vents, cheese biscuits but the calories really add up. Make up your mind how many you’ll eat ahead of time and stick to your plan or you’ll have eaten more than you realise.
  4. Survey the scene

    Before putting any food on your plate, walk round and survey all the buffet choices. Make up your mind, make your choice, and enjoy what you’ve decided to eat.
    Research shows healthy weight people are two times more likely than overweight people to look over the entire buffet before taking anything.
  5. Mindful eating

    Sit down to eat all food, enjoy what you’re eating and take your time.
    No nibbling while you’re filling your plate – it really adds on calories. Pizza crusts, crisps, nuts are small and easy to forget. Stick to what you decided to eat when you surveyed the buffet or you’ll have eaten countless more calories before you know it.
  6. Eat adventurously

    Don't choose the usual foods you eat on a regular basis, such as burgers, pasta salad, or chicken. Use the buffet to feed the adventurous eater in you. Try a small portion of foods you rarely, if ever, eat. If you are at a buffet out of your area, give the signature dishes of the new locale a taste.

First foods most

Research has shown the first foods people see at a buffet are more likely to be chosen than the last foods they come to.

In the study there was a higher chance that people took the first option offered, regardless of whether it was healthy (fresh cut fruit) or less healthy (cheesy eggs) – 86% took fruit when it was the first thing offered, compared to 54% taking fruit when it was the last thing offered.

Similarly, 75% took cheesy eggs when they were offered first, while only 29% took them when offered last. Overall 66% of a person’s plate was made up by the first three items they encountered, (Cornell University, New York 2013).

How can we use this research to help us?

Start with the salad or fruit, so when you are most hungry you are eating the healthy option.
Combine this food choice advice with portion control and you can be successful at eating well at a buffet. Use the ‘eat only three’ rule:

Three plates of food may seem like a lot, but if you have one plate for a salad, one for a main course, and one for a dessert, then you are eating a typical three-course meal.

You’ve chosen your first plate as the salad or fruit (as above).

Then a plate of your main course, remembering to pick those things you liked the look of most when you ‘surveyed the buffet.’

Then your third plate is for dessert.

Just be sure not to pile the food too high!

Healthy buffet inspiration.

Use these healthier buffet choices to make healthy eating part of your spread.

Veggie pasty bites

Ploughman’s on a stick

Red onion crustless quiche


October nutrition

Healthy pumpkin pancakes served in assorted dishesHealthy pumpkin pancakes

Did you know pumpkin is a rich source of vitamin A?

This is an important immune booster. Ideal at this time of year to fight off bugs, as well as all things ghoulish.

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 30 mins

Easy

Makes 9 large or 27 mini pancakes

Make the most of the sweet flavours of butternut squash to rustle up these healthy pancakes. Use a really good non-stick pan and you won't need any butter

Ingredients

200g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

200ml milk

100g cooked butternut squash or pumpkin, mashed

1 egg, separated

Method

  1. Tip the flour into a bowl and add the baking powder. Measure the milk into a jug and stir in the butternut squash, followed by the egg yolk.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour and gradually add the milk mixture until you have a lump-free batter. Alternatively, tip everything into a blender and whizz it.
  3. Whisk the egg white until stiff, then fold it into the batter.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan and cook 1 large or 3 small pancakes at a time (if making small pancakes, use 1 tbsp for each). Wait until lots of bubbles have risen to the top and the surface has begun to dry out before turning them over, but keep an eye on the base to make sure it doesn’t get too brown. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  5. Serve with a blob of low fat yoghurt and a handful of fruit such as chopped banana, apple or berries

www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/healthy-pumpkin-pancakes

Creamy pumpkin and lentil soupEasy easy pumpkin soup with a mediterranean twist.

Pumpkin is a low calorie, nutrient rich food. It is naturally low in fat and cholesterol. The lentils are equally good and  promote that mediterranean ideal of eating more pulses.This soup is great to fill you up and keep your heart healthy.

Creamy pumpkin and lentil soup

Prep: 15 mins

Cook: 35 mins

Easy

Serves 4

Whether you're carving a Halloween pumpkin or have picked up a cheap squash, use the plentiful flesh and seeds in this soup

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

approx 800g chopped pumpkin flesh, plus the seeds

100g split red lentil

½ small pack thyme, leaves picked, plus extra to serve

1l hot vegetable stock

pinch of salt and sugar

50g crème fraîche, plus extra to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Fry the onions until softened and starting to turn golden. Stir in the garlic, pumpkin flesh, lentils and thyme, then pour in the hot stock. Season, cover and simmer for 20-25 mins until the lentils and vegetables are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the pumpkin seeds. Remove any flesh still clinging to them, then dry them with kitchen paper. Heat the 1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan and fry the seeds until they start to jump and pop. Stir frequently, but cover the pan in between to keep them in it. When the seeds look nutty and toasted, add a sprinkling of salt and a pinch of sugar, and stir well.
  3. Whizz the cooked pumpkin mixture with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth, then add the crème fraîche and whizz again. Taste for seasoning.
  4. Serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche, a few thyme leaves and the toasted seeds scattered on top.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7730/pumpkin-soup

Rich in antioxidants to protect your heart and blood vessels, pumpkin has potential. Potassium adds to the benefits by keeping your blood pressure healthy.

and

PPumpkin curry with chickpeasumpkin curry with chickpeas

Prep: 20 mins

Cook: 20 mins

Easy

Serves 4

A veggie dinner party dish which stands alone as a vegan main course or as a complex side dish perfect served with spiced roast meat or fish

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil

3 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste, or vegetarian alternative

2 onions, finely chopped

3 large stalks lemongrass, bashed with the back of a knife

6 cardamom pods

1 tbsp mustard seed

1kg pumpkin

250ml vegetable stock

400ml can reduced-fat coconut milk

and 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 limes

large handful mint

Boiled jasmine rice to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan, then gently fry the curry paste with the onions, lemongrass, cardamom and mustard seed for 2-3 mins until fragrant.
  2. Stir the pumpkin or squash into the pan and coat in the paste, then pour in the stock and coconut milk. Bring everything to a simmer, add the chickpeas, then cook for about 10 mins until the pumpkin is tender. The curry can now be cooled and frozen for up to 1 month.
  3. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the curry, then cut the other lime into wedges to serve alongside. Just before serving, tear over mint leaves, then bring to the table with the lime wedges and boiled  jasmine rice.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7732/pumpkin-curry-with-chickpeas

Pumpkin seeds in black bowl

To clean the seeds, tip them into a sieve and wash under cold running water, pulling away any of the pulp from the pumpkin to discard it. Don’t worry if it doesn’t all come off, as it will once the seedsare boiled.

Next, boil some salted water in a large saucepan, add the seeds and boil for 5-10 minutes depending on the size, thendrain on kitchen towel. Toss the drained seeds with a little oil, some seasoning and spread evenly across a large baking sheet before roasting at 180C/gas 4 for about 8-10 minutes

You can add lots of different flavours to your seeds before roasting. Trypaprika, chilli, cumin or a little brown sugar and honey for candied seeds.

How to use pumpkin seeds


Salt and blood pressure

We all love salty foods in our diets. Meat, nuts, crisps or cheese; we have them on a regular basis. As a nation, we devour around 183 000,000 kg of salt a year!

It’s easy to have too much salt in your daily diet from hidden salt in processed foods, and sprinkling extra salt on your meals.

The average person in the UK eats about 8.1 grams of salt per day. This might not seem a lot but it is a third more than the safe amount to eat of 6 grams a day. Below are some common questions and some recipes to help you kick start your diet that contains a healthy amount of salt.

What is salt and sodium?

Salt is sodium chloride and it is the sodium we are concerned about. To convert sodium to salt, you need to multiply the sodium amount by 2.5. For example, 1g of sodium per 100g is 2.5 grams of salt per 100g. Adults should eat no more than 2.4g of sodium per day, as this is equal to 6g of salt.

You can use this handy calculator to covert between sodium and salt.

What’s the problem with too much sodium?

Sodium makes your kidneys hold onto more water and less able to lose water through your urine. The extra water in your system pushes up your blood pressure. Higher blood pressure puts a strain on the arteries, kidneys, heart and brain.  Too much salt can cause asthma, stomach cancer, brittle bones, stroke and heart disease.

 How much should I be eating a day?

Adults should have no more than 6 grams of salt per day.

The most salt children should have a day depends on their age:

  • 0-6 months less than 1g salt a day
  • 6-12 months up to 1g a day
  • 1 to 3 years – 2g salt a day
  • 4 to 6 years – 3g salt a day
  • 7 to 10 years – 5g salt a day 
  • 11 years + – 6g salt a day

Children and salt

Ill health from eating too much salt can start as a child.

Baby’s kidneys haven’t developed enough to cope with any added salt. During weaning no salt should be added to any foods. Avoid any processed foods that haven’t been designed for weaning as these can be too high in added salt, such as gravy and cooking sauces. This can be dangerous for a baby.

Once your child is eating the same foods as the rest of the family it is important to continue not adding any salt to their food. This will also benefit the rest of the family! It is at this point that children’s salt intake tends to increase dramatically due to eating higher salt foods.

Homemade meals cooked using fresh ingredients are naturally lower in salt than convenience meals and processed food. Limit foods that are high in salt, and always check nutritional information, even on products aimed at children. Choose those with less salt.

A low salt diet throughout childhood will help prevent children developing a taste for salty foods and reduce the likelihood of them eating a diet high in salt during adulthood.

Simple changes can be made to a child’s diet to make sure they don’t consume too much salt.

Giving them healthy snacks such as fruit and yogurt rather than crisps, swapping ham and cheese sandwiches for chicken or tuna, never adding salt to their food and checking labels of products such as sauces, bread and cereal can all help to reduce the salt intake of children.

When cooking for children of all ages do not add salt to their food and discourage them from adding salt and sauces at the table. Habits formed in childhood continue through to adulthood so give your children a good start by reducing their salt intake today.

More ideas

How much salt is in foods?

Three quarters of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy.

These examples are from leading supermarkets and bakers.

  • Bacon breakfast roll contains 2.1g of salt
  • A sausage roll contains 1.6g of salt
  • 1 bag of crisps contains 1.7g of salt
  • A ham and cheese sandwich contains 2g of salt
  • 6 chicken nuggets contain 1.6g of salt

Could this be your food choices in a typical day?

​FoodSalt content (g) SwapSalt content (g)
​2 slices toast and butter​1​2 Weetabix with milk​0.3
​Crisps​0.3​Banana​ 0
​Ham sandwich and
half a tin of tomato soup
​ 2
1.1
​Tuna mayonnaise sandwich
yoghurt and a pear
​1.2
0.1
​2 slices Deep pan Pepperoni pizza and salad with salad cream​4​½  Tescos stonebaked vegetable pizza and salad with salad cream​1.1
​Totals​8.4​3.7

Swaps have less salt and are more nutritious containing more vitamins, iron, calcium and fibre.

How can I lower the amount of salt I eat?

Choose lower salt foods- Read the labels on the food packaging. Opt for green, lower salt content as oppose to the orange or red colours. Foods with more than 1.5 grams of salt tend to be red. Eat these occasionally.

Go for a low salt option- Low salt is made from potassium instead of sodium. This will still taste similar to normal table salt, the only difference is it has less effect on your blood pressure. This way you can still make your food taste more salty, just with a healthier effect on your body.

Cook with less salt- This includes soy sauce, stock cubes or gravy granules. Substitute salt with herbs, spices or strong flavours. Some ideas include basil, black pepper, garlic, lemon or paprika.

Eat fresh- choose more unprocessed foods for snacks such as fruit slices and vegetables sticks.

Healthy eating tip

While you need to watch the salt content of some foods, it’s important to look at the food as a whole rather than deciding on one nutrient alone.

Don’t forget to check the energy (kcal), sugar and saturated fat content too to make sure you are making the best choice.  Base what you eat on foods that are naturally low in salt like fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice, nuts and seeds.

Healthy recipes

Traffic light omelettes

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 6 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 tbsp 1% fat milk
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat 1 tsp vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the peppers and spring onions, and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until soft. Tip them out of the pan into a bowl. Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper. Preheat the grill.
  2. Beat the eggs and milk together. Heat a few drops of vegetable oil in the non-stick frying pan and pour in one quarter of the egg mixture. Let it flow over the surface and cook for 1-2 minutes to set the base.
  3. Sprinkle one quarter of the pepper mixture evenly over the surface, then grill for 1-2 minutes until set. Slide onto a warm plate.
  4. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make four omelettes. Serve, seasoned with black pepper and a mixed salad.

Chicken drummers

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp reduced-salt soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 8 skinless chicken drumsticks
  • 880g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 (or 320g) carrots, sliced
  • 320g frozen peas
  • 4 tbsp 1% fat milk
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

Method

  1. Put the tomato purée, reduced-salt soy sauce and lemon juice into a mixing bowl (not a metal one). Mix well and season with black pepper. Add the chicken drumsticks, turning to coat them in the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight if preferred.
  2. Chicken skin has a high fat content, so that's why it's best to remove it.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/gas mark 6. Arrange the drumsticks in a foil-lined roasting tin and roast for 30 minutes, brushing them with the remaining glaze after 20 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is roasting, boil the potatoes and carrots in water without adding salt in separate saucepans until tender - they will take about 20 minutes. Boil the peas in unsalted water for 5 minutes, before the chicken is ready.
  5. Drain and mash the potatoes, beat in the milk and season with black pepper. Serve with the chicken drumsticks, carrots and peas.

Lunchbox ideas

Egg mayonnaise and lettuce bap

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 level tablespoon reduced calorie mayonnaise
  • Large pinch black pepper
  • 1 wholemeal bap (size of palm)
  • 2 lettuce leaves, washed

Method

  1. Place the egg in a small saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Plunge into cold water and leave to cool.  Tip: You can cook the egg the day before.
  2. Remove shell and mash the egg with the mayonnaise and black pepper.
  3. Use to fill the bap and top with the lettuce.


Complete the lunchbox with:

  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • A fruit snack pot (tinned fruit in juice)
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk

Fish 'n' chips

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes, scrubbed, each cut into 8 wedges no need to peel)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 slices white or wholemeal bread
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 fillets white fish (cod, haddock, pollock)
  • 4 handfuls frozen peas
  • Pinch ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/fan oven 180c/gas mark 6. Lightly grease a baking sheet with a little oil.
  2. Put the potato wedges into a roasting tin. Add the remaining vegetable oil and toss to coat. Season with the black pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning after 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto a large plate. Season with black pepper.
  4. Dip each fish in the beaten egg then coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on the baking sheet and put in the oven as you turn the potatoes, so the fish cooks for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Boil the peas in a small pan for 5 minutes and serve with the fish and chips.

Barbeques

Everybody loves a good British BBQ during summer, here are some things to look out for when barbequing as well as easy to follow recipes to spice up your spread.

What is the enemy and how do you defeat it?

Do you own a charcoal barbeque?

Did you know that the smoke and direct flames related could have very bad side effects for you and your families health?

Well this is all down to a thing called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). These come direct from the smoke and flames of charcoal barbeques and have been linked to causing some cancers.

The smoke releases poisonous gases, including carbon monoxide and PAHs.

Further research into PAHs has shown that their production is linked to three key factors:

  1. Fat content of the food
  2. How close the food is to the heat source
  3. Time taken to cook the food

Jessica Kirby from Cancer Research UK has said: “There is some evidence to suggest cooking meat at high temperatures, such as barbecuing, can create chemicals that may increase the risk of cancer”.

How do I avoid these dangerous chemicals?

Here are our 5 top tips to a safer and healthier barbeque for you this season:

1. Marinate food in alcohol before cooking it

According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, soaking meat in a marinade of beer or wine reduces the health risks by around 50%. Marinating the meat also gives it a lovely flavour.

Marinate fruit in a bowl of flavoured vodka overnight for a tasty BBQ desert option.

The alcohol will protect your food from cancer-causing agents whilst adding extra flavour! But don’t worry, it won’t get you drunk as the alcohol is cooked off when the food is being barbequed!

2. Scrape off the black bits

If your food does overcook and go black (charring), scrape off the black bits as that’s where those harmful chemicals are hiding.

3. Part cook food before barbequing

Jessica Kirby from Cancer Research UK also points out: “Part-cooking larger items such as chicken pieces in a microwave or oven means less time on a barbecue. It’s one way of reducing charring.” This means you can still get the classic, smoky barbecue flavour without the nasty side effects!

4. Include more vegetables in your barbeque menu

Vegetables don’t create those chemicals when they char and the lack of fat also means there are no flare-ups that can create smoke. Also, they are naturally low in fat and calories, and are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, fibre and vitamins A & C, which will maintain a healthy blood pressure, reduce blood cholesterol levels and keep your skin healthy and beautiful!

5. Make the switch! Go from charcoal to gas or electric.

Cooking over natural gas or propane grills reduces the pollution emitted, so is much safer for you and the environment.

Don’t overdo it!

It is so easy to eat too much at a barbeque, just think how many times you’ve said ‘oh I’ll just have one more’ or ‘go on as there’s only one left’. Portion control is very important. A review published in 2013 stated that larger plates of food can lead to us eating up to 45% more than what our average intake would be . That’s a lot!

So, how can you take control?

Visualise it! – Visualise your portion sizes so you can learn and understand what they look like. For example one portion of meat is the same size as your outstretched hand and a sausage should be the size of your index finger.

Track it! – Make use of technology and download an app to track what you are eating so you eat the daily recommended for calories, carbs, proteins and fats. There are many out there already to choose from.

Prep it! – Invest in measuring cups and scales and prep your meals weekly following recipes so you can better understand what you’re eating. For your barbeque this summer, follow our recipes below, we’ve even included all the nutrition facts so you know exactly what you’re preparing for yourself, friends and family.

Veg it up! - Vegetables are the food group lowest in calories and most of us don’t get enough. Swap out calorie rich foods, sides, and snacks for example: crisps, French fries or pasta with non-starchy veggies for example: celery sticks, corn on the cob or olives. Eating plenty of these good for you, and they’ll fill you up better because of the water and fibre content, not to mention they’re full of wonderful body-pleasing vitamins and minerals!

So remember at your next BBQ, just because there is an extra one going it doesn’t mean you have to eat it right there and then!

Easy, Healthy BBQ Recipes!

Red meats like beef burgers and sausages are the more likely to pick up high levels of harmful chemicals when using a charcoal BBQ. To enjoy a lighter, healthier BBQ treat with items less likely to pick up those sneaky PAHs this summer, follow these simple recipes below!
They’re all 400 calories or less per serving too!

Download the recipes including:

  • Pork and pineapple skewers
  • BBQ chicken burgers
  • Barbecued bananas
  • Stuffed peppers

Food Safety

Make food safety your number one priority this BBQ season by following our simple ways on how to cook with confidence

Before Cooking

  • Make sure frozen foods are fully thawed (preferably in the fridge on the bottom shelf defrosting overnight) before you start cooking them.
  • Keep foods you plan to cook properly chilled in the fridge or a cool box until needed.
  • Light your barbecue in advance (especially if it's charcoal!)

How to handle raw vs. cooked meats

  • Keep raw meat separate from cooked meat and ready-to-eat foods like salads
  • Use separate utensils for handling raw and cooked meat whilst cooking
  • Never put cooked food on a dish that has been used for raw meat or poultry (unless it's been thoroughly washed in between)

Cook with confidence

Make sure food is cooked thoroughly, you will notice this when;

  1. They are piping hot all the way through
  2. There is no pink meat left
  3. The juices run clear
  • If cooking too quickly move to the edges of the BBQ
  • Remember not to overcook till turning black

And always wash your hands thoroughly before cooking and eating!


Alcohol and Weight

The key to healthy weight is getting the right amount of calories. If you're working hard in the gym, but not quite getting the results you were hoping for, it's probably down to your calorie intake not being quite right.

Weekly recommendations. The UK government recommends that men and women should drink 14 or less units of alcohol in a week.

Who drinks the most?

  • In the UK, the peak age bracket for alcohol-related deaths is 45 to 65, and alcohol is a contributing factor in over a quarter of all deaths in men aged 16 to 24 years.
  • The figures released by UK's Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that there were 8,697 alcohol-related liver deaths in 2014.
  • Alcoholic drinks account for 10% of 29 to 64 year old's daily intake of added sugar. All alcoholic drinks contain some sugar, and Dr Sarah Jarvis, a member of Drinkaware's medical panel, identifies fortified wines, sherries, liqueurs and cider as containing the most sugar. Remember mixers like coke and lemonade are high in sugar. Choose a diet coke or diet lemonade, soda water or sparkling water.
  • How does alcohol affect your liver? Extra alcohol calories are stored in the body as fat causing a disease called fatty liver. This can lead to cirrhosis and death if you do not reduce alcohol intake. This causes permanent damage to your liver.

Health risks and benefits.

If you drink at low level and do not exceed the weekly guidelines then you are drinking in a way that is unlikely to harm your health. Drinking consistently within these limits is called 'lower-risk' rather than 'safe' because drinking alcohol is never completely safe. Cutting down on alcohol can help you manage your weight and reduce your risk of illnesses such as stroke, heart disease and liver disease.

Tips for healthy drinking

  • Drink with a meal to slow your drinking.
  • Alternate your drink with water or a low calorie soft drink.
  • Spread 14 units over a week rather than in one or two days.
  • Cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength. Check the % ABV (Alcohol By Volume).
  • You can still enjoy a drink, but go for smaller sizes. Try bottled beer instead of pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.
  • Have several drink-free days each week.
  • Try switching to low alcohol drinks.

The best and easy mocktail recipes for you to enjoy


It’s all in the smile! Here’s how to look after your most attractive feature.

A healthy smile is your most attractive feature according to research by the Oral Health Foundation. Here’s some tips to keep you smiling. Foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals can help prevent gum disease.

Choosing foods from each of the colours on the eatwell guide  everyday is a good start. 

What is the best thing to eat to keep your teeth beautiful?

Calcium rich foods such as milk, cheese and unsweetened yoghurt are important to keep your teeth in good condition.

Eating these at the end of a meal also helps to lower acidity in your mouth which protects them from decay.

Regular meals or grazing?

Eating regular meals rather than grazing is best for your teeth. The more times your teeth have food or sugary drinks on them the more decay is possible.

Choose 3 meals a day with 1-2 low sugar snacks and 6-8 sugar free drinks for tooth-friendly eating.
Remember to brush twice a day, spit not rinse and visit your dentist regularly for full smile protection.

Tooth-friendly snacks ideas to get your teeth into.

These snacks are also under 100 calories so they are fine as part of a healthy diet for everyone with a good appetite. Tooth-friendly means low in sugar and a texture that doesn’t stick in your teeth for ages. Even savoury foods like crisps can be broken down into sugars as they start to be digested in your mouth when they are stuck in your teeth.

  • a banana
  • 2 satsumas
  • 1 tablespoon hummus and 12 carrot sticks
  • 2 mini Babybel Light
  • a handful of grapes
  • a hard- boiled egg
  • a slice of toast with marmite
  • 15 olives
  • an apple
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese with 12 cucumber sticks
  • 2 kiwi
  • a pear
  • 12 unsalted peanuts
  • 2 plums

Get chewing - find out how chewing protects your teeth.

Chewing sugar-free gum after eating or drinking can help protect your teeth and gums in between meals.

Did you know chewing gum for up to 10 minutes can remove 100 million bacteria in your saliva?
An easy way to clean your mouth and freshen your breath on-the-go.

Sweet tooth?

If you have a sweet tooth try to choose sugar free sweets and drinks that contain xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener that is extracted from plants and has 40% less calories than sugar. It has an added bonus of helping to protect teeth. It can be found in toothpaste, mouthwash, chewing gum, peanut butter, sugar-free candy, sugar free breath mints, fruit drinks, jellies and jams.

Stevia is another sweetener that is natural and zero calories. It is recommended by DiabetesUK and marketed as Truvia.

Look out for flavoured drinks that use this sweetener rather than sugar or syrups.


Stress and caffeine

A stress response speeds up your heart rate, raises your blood pressure to get you ready to fight or take flight. Some foods can cause a similar response in your body and so make you feel stressed.

Long term this is not good for any of our bodies.

Coffee, energy drinks, strong tea and coke can contain a lot of caffeine which can do this to your body.

Caffeine can also disturb your sleep leaving you low in energy and mood.

Caffeine can affect your gut too, upsetting digestion, and may cause IBS type symptoms.

Caffeine can be addictive and leave you reliant on another caffeinated drink as a pick-me-up. 

What you think is helping you cope may be making you worse.

Check if you’re addicted: https://www.caffeineinformer.com/caffeine-addiction-diagnosis

Stopping your regular drinks suddenly can give you bad headaches so gradually swap coffee, strong tea, coke and energy drinks to healthier options.

Try decaffeinated tea and coffee, water, herbal and fruit tea. If you love your fizzy drinks opt for caffeine free low sugar versions.


Amazing Rhubarb - fruit or veg?

​It’s actually a vegetable with an edible stalk.
The redder the stalk the sweeter the taste.
It is a good source of fibre to help your gut work properly.
Rich in vitamin C so great for protecting your body’s cells and for healing.
Rhubarb used to be an important medicine in the 17th century and was more expensive than opium.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

​A dessert with some tang and crunch, plus packed with a third of your vitamin C for the day. Crunchy oats boost the fibre as a treat for your insides.

Recipe

Rhubarb and Strawberry Meringues

​Airy meringues are a healthier and gorgeous stand-in for whipped cream on these easy rhubarb desserts and keep them heart healthily low fat. Get over half of your vitamin C in one of these yummy meringues.

Recipe


Highly Hydrating Facts

  • We get 20% of the water we need from food You can survive weeks without food but only days without water
  • Fill your water bottle and take it with you
  •  Do your bit for our planet and choose a reusable bottle
  • The  Human body is nearly two thirds water
  • Drinking enough water each day can help reduce heart disease and cancer – water helps flush toxins out of the body
  • Adults need to drink at least 6-8 glasses of fluid per day
  •  Although water is the best source of fluid, milk, fruit juice, tea and coffee count
  • Drinking enough keeps you alert and able to concentrate so you are at your best
  • Cucumbers are 95% water – slice them up and chuck them on sandwiches, salads, or infuse them in water to stay hydrated!

More hydrating facts and tips

Make your own hydrating ice lollies

​Pick fruits that have high water content like these watermelon or strawberries.

More ideas


The good, the bad and the ugly - facts on fats

Research shows some types of fat and eating too much fat can lead to heart disease. Some fats are good for you and keep you and your heart healthy. It’s all about finding the balance.

Eat more of these [Good fats]

  • Use olive oil for cooking and dressings
  • Eat mackerel, sardines, salmon, trout, fresh tuna once a week
  • Add a handful of walnuts, pistachios, pumpkin or flax seeds to your morning bowl of cereal or to replace a less healthy snack

Eat less of these [Bad fats]

See if there’s any you can swap them for from the list above, or have them less often.

  • butter, ghee, suet, lard, coconut oil and palm oil 
  • cakes  and biscuits
  • fatty cuts of meat
  • sausages and burgers
  • bacon, salami, chorizo and pancetta
  • cheese
  • pastries, like pies, quiches, sausage rolls and croissants
  • cream, crème fraîche and sour cream
  • ice cream
  • coconut milk
  • milk shakes
  • chocolate and chocolate spreads

Salivating Salmon

Salmon with spring onion mash

Delicious, and a winner with the family. Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fats, good for you heart and cholesterol.

Recipe

Family Fishcakes

​Easy to make fishcakes.

Get the kids involved.

Mackerel contains vitamin D which is good for our bones.

Recipe

Mighty Meaty

​Research shows red meat: beef, pork and lamb are linked to heart disease as they are high in saturated fat.

A quarter of the bad fats we eat come from meat or meat products.

The benefits of red meat

Iron and vitamin B12 to keep nerve and red blood cells healthy. Zinc for the immune system and protein which helps build bones and muscles.

  • Choose leaner meat such as 5% mince, trim visible fat
  • Opt for lower fat burgers and sausages
  • Bacon, ham, chorizo and pancetta are cured so eat occasionally

[Recommended intake - Men 2 palm sized pieces / Women 1 palm sized piece for a main meal]

Super stew and dumplings

Traditional and tasty - who knew this could be good for you!

A good source or iron, with vitamin C in the mash to help your body absorb the iron better.

Recipe

Sausage and mash with a twist.

Lean beef is a good source of zinc to keep up your immunity and fight off winter germs.

Recipe