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.
Going out for dinner or grabbing a cafe lunch is currently off the table – meaning lockdown has plunged the majority of us into a world of constant cooking and incessant washing up, as we cycle repetitively through our staple dishes, and turn again and again to the freezer. In need of some inspiration? Check out Wakefield Libraries FREE e-cookbooks, offering, a huge choice of recipes that are healthy, speedy and budget-friendly, which will help you up your game in the kitchen.
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Borrow free e-Books and e-Audiobooks Check out some of the below titles for some healthy, easy inspirational dishes
- Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals Delicious Nutritious, Super-Fast Food Jamie Oliver
- Joe’s 30 Minute Meals 100 Quick and Healthy Recipes Joe Wicks
- Eat Well for Less Quick and Easy Meals Jo Scarratt-Jones
- The Hairy Dieters Fast Food 30 Minute Recipes to Fill You Up In a Flash Si King and Dave Myers
- Carbs and Calorie Counter Count your carbs and calories with over 1700 food photos Chris Cheyette and Yello Balolia
- Carbs and Cals World Foods A visual guide to African, Arabic, Caribbean and South Asian foods for diabetes and weight management Salma Mehar, Dr Joan St John, Chris Cheyette and Yello Balolia
- Carbs and Cals Salads 80 healthy salad recipes plus 350 photos of ingredients to create your own! Chris Cheyette and Yello Balolia
- Carbs and Cals Soups 80 healthy soup recipes plus 275 ingredient photos to create your own! Chris Cheyette and Yello Balolia
- Carbs and Cals Very Low Calorie Recipes & Meal Plans The perfect support guide to help you lose weight, improve blood sugar levels and reverse type 2 diabetes Chris Cheyette and Yello Balolia
- 5:2 Diet Photos 600 food photos, 60 great tasting low-calorie recipes, 30 snack ideas Chris Cheyette and Yello Balolia
- Cooking on a Bootstrap Over 100 simple budget recipes Jack Monroe
Preserve your muscles and bones with tomatoes’ high potassium levels. Potassium helps keep your blood pressure at the right level by widening your blood vessels. Tomatoes are also high in lycopene’s which support men’s prostate health.
Onions are high in vitamin C, which is needed for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.
Cheese is a rich source of protein that is key for keeping your muscle bulk and repairing any damage to your body.
Go easy on the portion. Get the benefits of calcium, zinc and vitamins A and B12 too with a thumb sized slice as a portion. This ensures the fat and saturated fat that makes cheese high calorie and a health risk is kept down.
Kidney beans are a double provider of fibre. They give us insoluble fibre which is the best mix for good digestion. They also contain prebiotics which allows the good bacteria in your bowel to make useful nutrients.
Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C which is important for us to heal, absorb iron, and have good immunity. They are naturally low in fat and stick to boiled or mashed, jacket or wedges and use only a little oil or spread to keep all the benefits.
Mushrooms give us zinc and selenium. These powerful antioxidants support our immune system and prevent damage to our cells and tissues. Mushrooms are one of the few vegetarian sources of vitamin D which is important for our bone health.
Pollock, cod, haddock are all great sources of low fat protein. We use protein for our skin, organs and blood. Choose sustainable sources of fish. Look out for MSC on the label: Marine Stewardship Certificate, which shows the method of fishing considers the environment. White fish is lower in fat than any other animal protein. Many of us will benefit from having less fat in our diet especially less saturated fat, to keep our hearts healthy.
Sweetcorn, tinned and ready to eat, all year round. How easy is that! In the UK we are usually about 10g a day short of our 30g/day fibre goal. A cup of sweetcorn can top up half of this with 5g fibre. Sweetcorn also provides potassium which is important for blood pressure control and heart health.
Olives contain healthy fats. They are monounsaturated fats so protect us from heart disease. Olives are also a rich source of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that is also protective for our hearts. As they are a high fat food and salty, due to being preserved in brine, take care with portions. A 100 kcal portion is about 15 medium olives.
Sweet and full of fruit sugar, oranges are good for us as the sugar is absorbed slowly. The fibre slows the fruit sugar absorption and so blood sugar rises slowly making these a perfect choice this February.
Pickled beetroot provide B vitamins which are great for your brain being essential for every part of brain function. Pickled or freshly cooked you can get your B vitamins from both! Try these in a Beetroot salad along with 2 slices of KT’s Fakeaway Pizza!
A pick me up between meals to give you a little boost but not spoil your appetite.
When reaching for a snack, try to choose ones that 100 calories or less and whether school age or beyond, it’s good to limit snacks to 2 a day.
50 ideas for healthier snacks that are all 100 calories or less
Picnic Pick 'n' Mix
Make picnics fun and healthy so you can enjoy them every day whether it’s in the garden, park, or on the floor inside if it’s raining. Packing your own picnic saves money and packaging- good for us and the environment.
Remember your water bottle. Chill in the fridge or partially freeze to keep cool.
Pick ‘n’ mix: Choose one food per person from each of the groups. This gives us all the goodness in a fun finger-food meal!
Sandwich Ideas: (1-2 hand-sized portions)
• Cucumber, cream cheese and marmite (v)
• Ham, lettuce and mayo pinwheels
• Cheesy apple slaw (v)
• Tuna, sweetcorn and mayo
• Chicken and cucumber
• Smoked mackerel and lettuce
• Hummus and carrot wrap (v)
• Egg and lettuce (v)
• Ham and beetroot
Sides (1 hand-sized portion)
• Sliced pepper
• Celery sticks
• Chopped tomatoes
• Sliced cucumber
• Carrot sticks
• Beetroot slices
Treats (1 hand-sized portion- this may be less than a whole packet or pot)
• Low sugar jelly
• Low sugar yoghurt
• French fries
• 2 finger Kit-Kat
• Malt loaf
• Fairy Bun
Dessert (1 hand-sized portion)
• Satsuma segments
• Fruit salad
• Pear quarters
• Melon cubes
• Tinned pineapple chunks
With all that yummy food, we often head for our favourites. Try these tips to encourage children to eat a variety of things.
• offer the sides first, when they are hungriest
• bring each different food out one at a time rather than laying it all out at once
• keep the sweet or savoury treats to the end
• have the water bottles ready for a good drink
• take the amount of food you need, rather than lots of extras ‘just in case’
Extras tips for comfort:
• Take a plastic coated picnic blanket, or a plastic bag each to sit on, in case the grass is damp
• Wrap cool packs from the freezer in a plastic bag and put next to the sandwiches to keep them cool on a hot day.
• Pack a wet flannel and soap in a freezer bag and plenty of water for handwashing
• Keep some hand gel handy too
Takeaway Top 10
Veg out- Add veg for energising vitamins and minerals. Try veggie pizza, vegetable curry or stir-fry, mushy peas or pickles.Go large and share - Choose large chips, rice, pizza and divide between you. You’re less likely to overeat and overspend.Add a salad - Grab a handful of leaves, chopped tomato and cucumber. Nothing fresh left? Open a tin of sweetcorn and some sliced beetroot. Cheaper than ordering a salad too.Hold the sides - Prawn crackers, poppadum, garlic bread, scraps, crisps - all little extras that push up the calories and cost.Choose tomato over creamy- Tomato based sauces are lower calorie and add vitamins – Dopiaza, Rogan Josh, Masala, Vindaloo.Switch the sauces - Choose vinegar, low calorie mayonnaise, mustard, lower salt ketchup, raita over full fat and sugar sauces and creamy dips.Recycle leftovers- Chill and reheat, freeze, or create new meals to make your takeout go further.Love the low fat - Look out for the lower fat carbs – boiled rice, thick cut chips, thin crust pizza, chapatti.Refresh without the slump - Wash it down with a healthier drink: water, sugar free pop, flavoured water, sparkling water, no added sugar squash, fruity or unsweetened tea, or coffee. Bit of batter - Batter and breadcrumbs soak up fat so take half off at the start and beat that sluggish post-takeaway feeling. [Or some Takeaways will do lightly battered if you just ask – it’s not as unusual it sounds!]