Health tip of the week: make it a goal to cut down portion sizes
Once we have cut down various components of our diets, we can replace with more vegetables, fruit, salad, wholegrains and oil fish – as well as low-fat dairy and meat
Choose less butter, processed meats and full-fat products
Cut down on salt as there is a proven link between a high salt diet and high blood pressure
Everyone knows that a good diet is essential – after all “we are what we eat”.
But sometimes getting the right balance can be difficult as temptation can get the better of us when we are grocery shopping, eating out or simply hanging about at home - so we don’t always make the healthiest food choices.
Sarah Noone, registered dietitian with Irish Heart, says the most important advice when it comes to healthy eating is to reduce intake – this includes portion size, fat, meat, salt and sugar – by cutting down on these things, we will immediately have a healthier diet.
“The best place to start is often with reviewing portion sizes,” she says. “Our perception of what is a ‘healthy’ or ‘normal’ portion can be quite different from what is recommended – so I would advise people to compare their portions to the Food Pyramid and see what changes they can make.
“Swap ‘bad’ fats for ‘good’ fats. In practice this means choosing less butter, processed meats and full-fat products and swapping for heart-healthy fats like nuts, seeds and oily fish. These changes will mean a healthier cholesterol level and will reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
“And cut down on salt as there is a proven link between a high salt diet and high blood pressure – to cut your risk of stroke and heart disease swap salt for black pepper, lemon juice, herbs and spices.”
Once we have cut down various components of our diets, we can replace with more vegetables, fruit, salad, wholegrains and oil fish – as well as low-fat dairy and meat.
And the experienced dietitian says when we have made these changes, we need to keep working at them until they become a habit.
“Making change isn’t always easy,” says Noone. “Having a plan based on a desirable or achievable goal can be hugely effective for those wishing to make a change – so start today by making one change.
“Goals help you focus on making realistic changes which will make a (long term) difference to your lifestyle and will be personal to you – so that means you’re more likely to achieve them.”
Health Tip of the Week is sponsored by Pfizer as part of its Healthy Town initiative. Each year, Pfizer selects a town to take part in a unique project aimed at showing you – no matter what age you are or, indeed, where you live – simple steps to improve your health.
For more see irishtimes.com/sponsored/healthy-town