After a year of largely home-based meals, most of us are looking for new ideas to keep our cooking fresh and make sure we stay healthy.
According to the NHS, eating well means eating the right balance from each of the main food groups to give us a wide range of nutrients. These include starchy carbs, fruit and vegetables, and healthy proteins including fish. To help you put this into practice, we thought we’d give you some more information on maintaining a balanced diet, along with recipe inspiration to help you eat healthily and happily!
Fill up on high-fibre starchy carbs
Starchy carbohydrates including potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals should make up just over a third of the food we eat.1 Wherever possible, choose wholegrains such as brown rice and wholegrain pasta, which contain more fibre and will keep you fuller for longer than white varieties. These energy powerhouses are also a major source of starch, fibre, calcium, iron and vitamin B, which is important for making sure the body’s cells are functioning properly and converting food into energy.1
High fibre carbs make a great, filling breakfast staple to stop you reaching for the biscuit tin mid-morning. One delicious option is overnight oats, which combine rolled oats and plain yogurt with a choice of toppings such as honey, nuts, berries, apple and nut butter to create lots of variety.
Later in the day, for a high fibre dinner, branch out with lamb and spinach bulgar wheat pilaf, which offers a tasty alternative to rice or pasta, and is ready in less than 30 minutes.
Eat your five a day
The NHS Eat Well guide recommends that we eat at least five portions of fruit and veg every day. These can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced, giving you plenty of options. As well as being delicious, fruit and veg are an important source of vitamins and minerals and dietary fibre. They can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer1, making them essential building blocks in healthy eating.
It’s easy to boost your fruit and veg intake with minimal effort. Ideas include having a generous side of vegetables with a main meal, eating fruit or raw veg such as carrots and mangetout as a snack, or having fruit as a topping on yogurt or cereal. For a delicious veggie option that packs in several of your five a day, try veggie chilli. You can combine the base ingredients of tomatoes, beans and spices with whatever veg you choose to create an extra nutrient punch.
Pack in the protein by eating more fish
Fish is a great ingredient for a healthy diet. Oily fish in particular provides a good source of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fats, which can help prevent heart disease.1 Try and eat at least two portions of fish a week such as haddock, plaice, coley or tuna, and ideally make one an oily fish such as salmon, trout, herring or sardines. Fish is a great ingredient for flavour-filled recipes such as lime and pistachio salmon, which can be served with lots of greens to help deliver your daily veggie quota. Or use haddock, coley or pollock to create a healthier version of traditional fish and chips with mushy peas – sure to be a family favourite.
We hope that we’ve given you some food for thought on healthy and tasty new dishes to try. The following websites provide some other great inspiration: