Healthy eating is important for everyone. To achieve a healthy diet, you should follow the Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for South Africans.

Enjoy a variety of food

If you eat a variety of food, you will take in a variety of vitamins and minerals that help prevent infections and illness.

Be Active

Being active keeps our bodies strong, helps control our weight and makes us feel great! Being overweight can increase our chances of developing some diseases like cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

You don't always have to go to a gym - walking, taking the stairs every day, swimming, cycling and any fun sports will help you to stay active.

Make starchy food the basis of most meals

Starchy foods provide us with energy during the day, so include them in most meals.

Try to eat food that has more roughage to keep your digestive system healthy, such as:

• Brown rice

• Whole wheat or seed bread/rolls

• Whole wheat pasta

• Potatoes with skin on

• Sweet potatoes

• Mealies and samp

• Porridge such as oats and Maltabella

• Cereals such as bran flakes and muesli

Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit everyday

Vegetables and fruit are important to eat as they provide many different vitamins and minerals, as well as roughage.

Try to eat five different vegetables and fruits everyday:

• Eat fruit with breakfast, e.g. a banana with cereal or a glass of fruit juice with your toast

• Snack on fruit between meals, e.g. apples, pears, grapes, naartjies and bananas are easy to eat at work. Try to include other different fruits such as berries, plums, nectarines, pineapple, kiwi fruit, etc.

• Keep dried fruit, e.g. raisins and dried peaches, on hand for a tasty snack

• Include salad with lunch or on a roll, e.g. slices of tomato and lettuce, carrot sticks, celery sticks

• Try to include two vegetables of different colours with dinner, e.g. green beans and carrots, spinach and butternut, peas and corn, broccoli and cauliflower. Stir-fry assorted vegetables such as cabbage, red & yellow peppers, baby marrow and mushrooms.

Eat dried beans, peas, lentils, peanuts and soy regularly

These are high in roughage and contain protein, which keeps muscles strong.

Tips on including these foods are:

• Add lentils or kidney beans to lean mince or stew

• Have baked beans on toast for an easy breakfast or lunch

• Try a 3-bean salad with your meal

• Try lentils or beans with vegetables as a stew

• Have soya mince with spaghetti or brown rice, or soy burgers

• You can also buy soya yoghurt and milk

Try to include these in your diet instead of always eating animal proteins.

Chicken, fish, milk, meat or eggs could be eaten daily

These foods are high in protein. They can be high in fat, so choose low fat options and cook them without adding too much fat.

Some tips:

• Remove the fat from meat and skin from chicken before cooking. Grill chicken, fish and meat instead of frying

• Choose lower fat milk, yoghurt and cheese

• Boil or poach eggs rather than frying

• Sardines, tuna and salmon provide protein and essential fats.

Eat fats sparingly

Some fats are beneficial fats, like avocados (use them in salads, sandwiches or rolls), olive oil (on salads) and sunflower or canola oil for cooking. Other fats are not as healthy so use them only in small amounts, e.g. margarine, butter, cream, mayonnaise, salad cream and salad dressings.

Use salt sparingly

Avoid cooking with salt. Avoid foods that contain a lot of salt, such as processed meat, packet crisps, packet soups and sauces. Flavour foods naturally with herbs, garlic, chillies, ginger, black pepper and lemon juice.

Drink lots of clean, safe water

Water helps to move food through our bodies and removes waste products from the body. If you are unsure if your water source is safe, boil it before you drink it. Try to drink mostly water, but you can also include tea (especially rooibos & herbal teas), fruit juice and low fat or skim milk.

If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly

Drinking too much alcohol can damage your liver and lead to some cancers, high blood pressure and high blood fat levels. Women should not have more than one drink per day, and men should not have more than two drinks per day.

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Comment by Osamade, Christopher Nwaifjokwu on November 5, 2010 at 12:39pm
You have just written this for my sake cos I found it interesting. God bless you and we need more of this.
Osamade Christopher N.
Comment by Don Matete on November 4, 2010 at 10:18am
Thanks for your information, and this is one info we all need.
Nice one sis,
Keep up the good work.

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