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How to celebrate Healthy Eating Week

The Healthy EmployeeBlood pressure & heart disease How to celebrate Healthy Eating Week

How to celebrate Healthy Eating Week

Each year, the British Nutrition Foundation holds a healthy eating week. This year healthy eating week runs from 28 September – 4 October.

Each day of the week will focus on an aspect of a healthy lifestyle, breaking the week up into small goals. The aim of the week is to bring the UK together, focusing on key health messages and promoting healthy habits.

  • Monday – Eat more wholegrains
  • Tuesday – Vary your veg
  • Wednesday – Drink plenty
  • Thursday – Move more
  • Friday – Be mind kind
  • Saturday – Get active together*
  • Sunday – Eat together*

*The activities that are ‘together’ should only be achieved whilst abiding by social distancing and current lockdown restrictions. For example, a family unit or household can be active together and enjoy a meal together.

 

Monday – Eat more wholegrains

The importance of wholegrains:

  • Increases fibre, which improves gut health
  • Provides essential vitamins and minerals

Wholegrain examples:

  • Wholemeal or wholegrain bread
  • Wholewheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Wholegrain breakfast cereal
  • Oats
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Pearl barley
  • Spelt
  • Quinoa

How to eat more wholegrains:

  1. Breakfast: Porridge or wholegrain breakfast cereal
  2. Snack: Wholegrain rye crackers with peanut butter
  3. Midday meal: Sandwich using wholemeal bread
  4. Evening meal: Stew or casserole with pearl barley or bulgur wheat

 

Tuesday – Vary your veg

The importance of veg:

  • A wide range of vitamins and minerals
  • Good source of fibre for improved digestive health
  • Can help reduce risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer

Aim for 5-A-Day – but what counts as a portion?

  • Three heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables
  • Dessert bowl of salad
  • Three heaped tablespoons of beans, chickpeas or lentils

How to eat more vegetables:

  • Bulk out casseroles, pies, curries and stews with extra veg
  • Snack of vegetable crudites
  • Add vegetables to your smoothies, such as spinach or beetroot

Vegetable tips and tricks:

  • Aim to eat a wide variety of different coloured vegetables to reap the full health rewards
  • Opt for frozen vegetables to save on cost and preparation convenience
  • Canned vegetables can also be a good choice, for example, tomatoes, chickpeas, sweetcorn and kidney beans
  • Buy vegetables that are in season

 

Wednesday – Drink plenty

The importance of hydration:

  • Water makes up more than half of your body weight and is constantly lost through sweating, breathing and using the toilet and needs to be replenished throughout the day
  • Being dehydrated can make concentration difficult and cause headaches and tiredness

How much water do you need?

  • Recommendation is 6-8 glasses per day
  • More may be required due to external factors such as activity level and weather conditions

Good hydration options:

  • Water is best
  • Low fat milks or calcium-fortified unsweetened dairy alternatives
  • Unsweetened tea or coffee (limit of 4 cups a day for pregnant women)
  • Vegetable or fruit juice smoothies (limited to no more than 150ml a day)

Other drinks:

  • Milkshakes, energy drinks, soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit juices all contribute to your calorie intake throughout the day and can increase risk of tooth decay
  • Energy, sports drinks and some soft drinks also contain high levels of caffeine and should be limited

Hydration tips:

  • Always have a drink with each meal
  • Keep a reusable bottle to hand and sip throughout the day
  • Drink plenty if partaking in physical activity
  • Drink regularly – if you are thirsty you are partially dehydrated! 

 

Thursday – Move more

The importance of moving more:

  • Helps to maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve heart health
  • Strengthens bone
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Reduced risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes

Recommended physical activity:

  • 150 minutes moderate intensity exercise / 75 minutes vigorous intensity exercise each week
  • Do muscle strengthening activities on two or more days each week

Moderate intensity exercise:

  • Increase in heart rate and body temperature
  • Possible to talk but hard to sing a song

Vigorous intensity exercise:

  • Increases body temperature and makes breathing heavier
  • Hard to say a few words without pausing for breath

Muscle strengthening:

  • Should work all major muscles and done with repetition
  • Examples include lifting weights and yoga
  • Can also include everyday activities such as carrying shopping and gardening

 

Friday – Be mind kind

The importance of being kind to your mind:

  • 1 in 6 adults have mental health challenges
  • Challenges include anxiety, depression, stress, addiction, loneliness and personality disorders 

How to be kind to your mind:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced and varied diet
  • Stay hydrated
  • Be active and follow the physical guidelines recommendations
  • Sleep 7-9 hours per night
  • Follow alcohol recommendation guidelines (no more than 14 units for both men and women each week, with at least 2 consecutive alcohol-free days)

 Communication:

  • Communication can make a big diffewrence to mental health
  • Friends, family or a health professional can help reduce tension and bring emotional support

Hobbies and skills:

  • Embarking on a new hobby or skill can boost confidence, redirect focus and allow you to meet new people
  • Helps to manage stress, give time for relaxtion and provide a sense of reward and achievement

 

Saturday – Get active together*

The importance of being active together:

  • Learn a new skill or sport
  • Teamwork
  • Strengthened communication and social skills
  • Experience new things
  • Improved mental health
  • Increased self-belief when motivated by others

 How to get active together:

  • Walk and talk with family or friends
  • Plan a day outdoors with family or friends
  • Partake in a 5km parkrun
  • Sign up for a group activity or sport

 

Sunday – Eat together*

The importance of enjoying food together:

  • A great opportunity to spend time together
  • Improved self-esteem, communication and mental health
  • Enjoying healthy foods with others can help with motivation

How to eat together:

  • It’s not just about sitting down and eating together; plan, shop prepare and cook the food with people
  • Try new foods on other’s recommendations
  • Eat around the table rather than in front of the television
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