Tips to help improve your lifestyle:
Full of nutrients such as fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins, these starchy foods are an excellent source of energy and should make up about a third of the food we eat. Here's how you can include them throughout the day...
Porridge with banana
Potatoes, pasta or rice with your evening meal
Leaving the skins on potatoes while they're cooking keeps in more of the fibre and vitamins, especially if you're boiling them.
Think again. These energy-rich foods will keep you full, ideal if you're trying to shift some pounds. And carbohydrates have half the amount of calories, gram for gram, than fat does.
Wholegrain foods contain more fibre and other nutrients than white or refined starchy foods. So try to choose wholegrain bread and breakfast cereals, brown rice and wholewheat pasta. And why not try mixing bran cereal with your regular cereal for a fibre boost?
It’s best to increase your fibre intake gradually, a sudden increase may give you bloating and stomach cramps. Just follow these tips:
You can find the amount of fibre listed in grams per portion and/or per 100g on the nutritional information panel on packs. Foods that provide 8g or more of fibre per 100g are considered rich or high in fibre.
Try to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg each day. It's easier than you think! Include some at every meal and also for snacks. And frozen, dried and tinned (without added sugars or salt) all count. Look out for fresh seasonal produce in store – it's likely to be on promotion – so it not only tastes wonderful but also helps the bank balance!
Some of our ready meals, soups and sauces also count towards your 5 a day. Look out for the 5 a day information in the green dot on pack.
Fresh, frozen, canned, dried and fruit juices/smoothies all count towards your 5-a-day so there is lots of choice. One portion of fresh fruit or veg is around 80g or just 30g if it’s dried fruit, 150ml for juices or smoothies (this only counts as one portion no matter how many glasses you have in a day so try to keep it to just one glass per day).
To get the maximum benefits you need to eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables. This is because different fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
To make it easier to achieve your 5-a-day try adding extra vegetables to your meals – you could grate carrots or add courgettes into spaghetti bolognese or add cauliflower florets or green beans to your curry. Red peppers go really well in pasta sauce and you can easily mix peas or spring onions into mashed potato. Or simply pop some crunchy lettuce and sliced tomato into your lunchtime sandwich.
Try to eat at least two portions (a portion is about 140g cooked weight) of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish such as mackerel, herrings, sardines, trout, salmon or pilchards. Tinned counts, too, so why not have sardines on wholegrain toast for dinner one night? Just add a dash of Tabasco for a tasty, quick, cheap meal.
Red meat is a good source of protein and also contains B vitamins, iron, selenium and zinc. However, it can be high in saturated fat and the Department of Health recommends that if you eat a lot of red or processed meat you should cut down to 70g per day. Try to choose lean cuts, trimming off any excess fat. Grilling rather than frying is a healthier way to cook it. And don't forget that skinless chicken and turkey are lower in saturated fat and make a great alternative.
If you're buying frozen, tinned or smoked fish, always check the label for the salt content.
For a healthier choice, opt for poached, baked or grilled fish rather than fried.
Mums and mums-to-be
If you're trying for a baby, pregnant or breastfeeding, you should have no more than two portions of oily fish a week and limit tuna to no more than four medium-sized cans (or two fresh tuna steaks). Also avoid shark, swordfish and marlin. For more information, see http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/goodfood/pages/fish-shellfish.aspx#pregnancyandchildren
To be fit and healthy you need to eat a small amount of fat - you just need to make sure it's the right kind of fat. There are two types:
This is found in butter, cakes, crisps, sweets, biscuits and pies. Saturated fat can contribute to raised blood cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease. So enjoy these foods as an occasional treat and keep portion sizes small.
This is found in vegetable oils, olive oil, oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds. They all contain either monosaturates or polyunsaturates, which are much kinder to your heart than saturated fats. So make sure you eat some of these 'good' fats.
We are working hard to make our products healthier. In 2015 we removed nearly 21.5 tonnes of saturated fat from our spreads range alone.
It's easy to lower your saturated fat
Most of us eat too much sugar, and too much – especially between meals – can increase risk of tooth decay. Sugary foods and drinks are almost always high in calories so cutting down can help with weight control. When you're cooking, try replacing sugar with dried fruit, to add natural sweetness.
It's easy to eat less sugar...
You’ll find less sugar in Co-op branded products
We know the amount of sugar in our diets is important to our shoppers and we’ve been working hard to reduce sugar in our Co-op branded products, particularly the foods we know children enjoy.
To date, we’ve removed over 328 million teaspoons of sugar in Co-op branded products. We’ve done this through reformulation and slowly, to make it easy for our customers. To help make our healthier choices easy and convenient we have been busy:
We’ve got history
Looking after the health of our shoppers by making healthier, low sugar options available has always been important to us.
Back in 1985 we added dental health warnings to the packaging of our own-brand sweets, later extending this to soft drinks in 1996. In 2006 we introduced traffic light labelling on all Co-op products, so low sugar choices are clear. In 2015 our healthy snacking range launched as an alternative to sweet snacks and in 2016 we banned sweets from checkouts.
We’re proud of our sugar reduction journey so far. We continue to remove sugar in Co-op products, ensuring we don’t affect taste or quality of products as we go along.
Healthy eating does not mean you need to stop eating your favourite chocolate bar, but you should eat just a small amount less often. Try these alternatives to graze on…
Did you know - We have launched a new innovative snacking range as a healthier alternative to sugar confectionary. The range is calorie capped & includes naturally healthy snacks for both adults & children as well as products developed to provide a nutritional benefit & more indulgent snacks where calorie content is controlled by portion size.
If you don't add salt to your meals at the dinner table, you probably think you don't each much salt. However, salt can be present in many everyday foods including bread, breakfast cereals and ready meals. Adults should have no more than 6g of salt each day, and children under 11 years old should have less. Check the colour coded nutrition information on packs to see how much a portion contains.
Approximately one-third of adults in the UK have raised blood pressure*, and a diet high in salt can be a cause. High blood pressure puts you at greater risk of developing stroke or heart disease.
It's easy to eat less salt…
*NHS Choices – Live Well. Salt: the facts
We are continuously working to reduce salt, saturated fat and sugar in Co-operative brand products whilst making sure they still taste great
It's so important that we're active throughout our lives, but this doesn't mean you have to run a marathon! The government recommends adults do just over 20 minutes moderate intensity exercise each day (or 150 minutes each week) and muscle strength training such as lifting weights or carrying groceries on at least two days a week Children and young people (5-18 years) should do at least 60 minutes every day.
Go for a brisk walk, do some gardening or housework, join a dance class – all are suitable activities. Even taking the stairs instead of the lift is a good contribution to your day's exercise.
As long as your heart rate goes up, it counts. Along with eating a balanced diet, being active will help you maintain a healthy weight.
It's important to drink eight to ten glasses of fluid each day to keep hydrated. All non-alcoholic drinks count but water is the best choice.
Soft drinks – the hard facts
Pop, fizzy drinks, cola, energy drinks – they often contain added sugar that can increase the risk of dental decay and are no substitute for the hydrating qualities of water. Always check the label for the sugar and calorie content. And if you love a bit of fizz – drink sparkling water.
There's an old saying, 'Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper...' And it's good advice! Your body needs more fuel – food – first thing in the morning than it does towards the end of the day.
So make a meal of your breakfast...
You don't have to miss out – yogurt and fresh fruit, toast and jam or cereal and milk don't take long to eat, and will make that all-important difference to your day.
It’s really important to eat breakfast every morning because your body needs energy after all those hours without food. Some people skip breakfast thinking it will help them to lose weight but research shows that eating breakfast can actually help people to control their weight and keep your blood sugar stable.
Keep a stock of foods that are easy to grab on your way out such as bananas, apples, satsumas or slices of fruit bread. If you work in an office you could keep a box of cereal, a bowl and a spoon at your desk and just pick up your milk on the way into work. You could even make a ‘packed breakfast’ – make a big fruit salad for dessert after an evening meal and save some in a plastic box in the fridge so that it can be eaten for breakfast the next morning.
Breakfast bars and biscuits are convenient but they can be high in fat, sugar and salt so check the label before buying.
When choosing cereal it’s best to go for one that contains wholegrains and is lower in sugar and salt such as wholewheat biscuits or malt crunchies. Adding fruit to cereal is a really good way to get kids to eat less sugary cereals - you could even try mixing sugary cereals with less sugary alternatives, gradually increasing the amount of lower-sugar cereal over time so they get used to them.
Porridge oats are cheap and contain vitamins, minerals and fibre – you can add a few dried apricots or a sliced banana for extra flavour instead of adding sugar.
Our own-brand breakfast cereals include colour coded nutrition information on the front of the pack so you can see at a glance the amount of sugar, in grams, a serving contains as well as its contribution to your daily intake. The colour codes make it easy to compare different cereals so look for mainly green or amber colours.
Vitamin D helps the body to regulate calcium and phosphate levels – essential for keeping bones and teeth healthy.
We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight but it can also be found in:
The Chief Medical Officer recommends that some people should take a daily supplement of vitamin D – these are:
What is a portion? Adult portion sizes:
Dry porridge oats/breakfast cereal
Bread or toast
1 medium slice
Low fat yoghurt/fromage frais
Small 150ml pot
Milk (semi-skimmed/1% fat/skimmed)
1/2 pint or 1 glass
70g per day