Change4Life is a government initiative that helps families and individuals to eat healthier and keep fit. Their latest leaflet publication helps us to “Be Food Smart”.
We all like food to be cheap, easy and tasty and so often reach for the ready-made foods, snacks and take-aways, but it’s often cheaper (not to mention tastier!) to make your own!
The five principles of the Change4Life Be Food Smart campaign are:
- 5 a day – aim for a variety of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Remember, they don’t all have to be fresh. Frozen, juiced, dried or canned – they all count.
- Sugar swaps – swap sugary drinks for no added sugar drinks like water or skimmed/1% fat milk. Switch sweet snacks for fruit or unsalted popcorn. And why not replace your sugary puddings with plain low-fat yoghurts and fruit?
- Watch the salt – most us don’t realise that there’s hidden salt in every day products that don’t even taste salty – bread, cereals, pizza and some sauces. So, go easy with ketchup, mayo and soy sauce and skip adding salt next time you tuck into a meal.
- Cut back on fat – we all know that too much fat is bad for us but often we don’t realise that fat is hidden in many of the foods we eat. It’s easy to be food smart about fat; choose lower fat spreads, lower fat dairy products and leaner cuts of meat to make a good start!
- Be calorie smart – calories are a clue to what you should be eating each day and area really handy for planning how much to eat and when. Try to aim for 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for your evening meal. That leaves a few calories for any healthy snacks. And remember, we don’t all need to eat the same amounts. Women don’t need as many calories as men and kids need even less – so get into the habit of “me-sized” meals!
Here’s the link to the Meal Mixer app from the Change4Life website. So when you are stuck for inspiration, because it happens to everyone(!) - have a browse through their recipes and your creatuve cokoing juices will be flowing once again!
And lastly, there are many ways to be food smart all day.
Being food smart at breakfast means you’ll be less tempted to reach for a mid-morning snack:
- Pick cereals with no added sugar – you can always sweeten it up with a bit of chopped fruit.
- Swap white toast for wholegrain toast to release energy throughout the morning to keep you on the go.
Perk up a packed lunch with these tips:
- It’s fun to dunk – cucumber, pepper and carrot sticks are delicious with a low fat dip.
- Low fat yoghurts always go down well – they’re a good source of calcium too.
For a quick and simple snack after school:
- Swap crisps for plain rice cakes dunked in low fat cream cheese.
- For a sweet tooth, forget the cakes and biscuits – fresh fruit is great for munching on the go.
For more meal ideas and food smart tips, search online for Change4Life.