Not being one for healthy eating, I’m afraid I find a lot of it confusing. Earlier today Public Health England published their new “Plate” – this is the theoretical list of what you should be eating every day for a healthy lifestyle – and it’s their “new plate”, so they’ve replaced the “old plate”. Yeah, right. So, first you overwhelm me and confuse me and, if I’d got to grips with that, it’s now “all change” as they changed their minds 🙂
Over the years there’s been so much press, good and bad, about every food type known – followed by a change of mind or a retraction within 1-2 years. So I’ve always stuck with eating what I know and what I like.
My food tastes are mostly retro foods, the food I was brought up with in the 1970s really. Food moved on, I didn’t. Additionally, I am always cooking for one. Shopping for one, menu planning for one, cooking for one – and then having to do all the clearing up and washing up afterwards (no dishwasher). So, in the main, by now I’m fed up with food and so I eat what I like and when I like it. “A little bit of what you fancy does you good” I was told as I was growing up, so that’s how I eat. Little and often.
I KNOW I should eat more fruit and more vegetables, but I don’t. There’s no joy in eating foods that are simply depressing…. and, to counter that, I eat little because I don’t want to be overweight. So I’ll eat a pie – but not every day.
So, what’s on this “new plate” by Public Health England?
- 5-a-day is still in. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count. I refuse to be told that my frozen and tinned choices are “bad” by people who just want to be “one of the gang”. Frozen food is often better than fresh as it’s not languished in shops for days.
- Meals based on potatoes, bread, rice and pasta are good – I do that. Mostly wholegrain is best, I don’t like the look/taste/texture of wholegrain to be honest, never have! Most of my food choices are based on these starchy goods – they’re very cheap and filling.
- 30 grams of fibre a day is on the list, I’d say I don’t do this, but it’s actually hiding in some fruit and vegetables, so it’s possible I get some of this without realising. I do sometimes eat Weetabix – so those days would count. 2 Weetabix/day would count, or 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread – I’ll admit to mostly choosing to eat white bread. A large baked potato with the skin on would also count – I had a 320 gram jacket potato yesterday, with the skin on – and I ate it all. So, I’m getting some of this without even realising. Every little helps, as they say. A Jacket potato has 2.7g of fibre per 100g, so my large jacket spud had 8-9 grams of fibre! The baked beans I topped it with contained about 8 grams of fibre. So my large jacket spud and half a tin of baked beans was about half what’s needed per day. That’s a start, right?!
- Dairy I mostly get from cheese. I buy milk about 1-2x a month, on average, which is when I eat Weetabix to get through it. Yes, you can freeze milk, but I am also having to work with my quirky eating and I “just don’t fancy” milk that’s been frozen and defrosted.
- Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins + 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily. I eat a lot of beans and pulses; I eat eggs, I buy a pack, eat a lot of eggs, then none for two weeks. I’m not great at eating fish, I never get round to it.
- Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat these in small amounts. Well, I don’t know what’s in the spreads I buy, I just buy what’s available when I need it. I don’t use a lot of spreads though – I don’t cook like James Martin, with half a block of butter in every dish 🙂
- Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of liquid a day. I do this, in the form of instant coffee
- I should have <6 grams of salt and 20 grams of saturated fat a day. I’ve absolutely no idea to be honest. I don’t measure those. I don’t add salt to my cooking … that must count for something.
- Eat less than 30 grams or 7 cubes of sugar a day. I think I do this, I use a 2Kg bag of sugar every two years, so it’s just going to be the cheesecakes and sweets I buy and some hidden sugars in ready-made foods.
- Smoothies are falling out of fashion. To be honest, I’ve never had a smoothie, so that’s one fad I avoided and turned out to be right on! Smoothies are high in sugar, as are fruit juices. To be honest, the reason I’ve never got into the habit of drinking fruit juice was due to the high calorie content. I used to say “a glass of Coke has less calories than a glass of fruit juice!”
Overall, I don’t do as badly as some people might think when they look through what/how I eat 🙂
I must be doing something right, I’m still here!
You can read more about it here: NHS Eat Well Guide