What is healthy eating?
Healthy eating is about getting the balance right, having enough fruit and vegetables, protein, fibre and starchy foods whilst not too much fat, sugar and salt.
How much should we eat?
A balanced diet is perhaps best shown by the five main food groups, which is based on the Food Standards Agency's 'Balance of Good Health' chart. By reading about the different food groups, it is clear why we need a combination of the food groups to help us achieve a healthy, balanced diet.
Fruit and vegetables provide us with fibre, vitamins and minerals and to get the greatest health benefits from them, The Department of Health recommends that we should eat at least 5 portions per day. At Iceland we are labelling fruit and vegetables with the Department of Health's '5 a Day logo' which provides an at a glance guide to how many portions of fruit or veg are contained in certain products.
Increasing our fruit and veg intake is one of the best ways of ensuring we have a healthy diet and may help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease as part of a balanced diet.
Here are some quick examples to help illustrate what counts as a 'portion' of fruit or veg:
- 1 glass of fruit juice (150ml)
- 1 orange/apple/banana
- 2 small fruits - kiwis, satsumas, plums etc.
- 1 handful of grapes
- 1 tablespoon of dried fruit
- 3 tablespoons of vegetables
- 3 tablespoons of fruit salad
- 1 small bowl of salad
Bread, cereals and potatoes should also make up a large part of the diet as they provide energy as well as fibre and some vitamins and minerals.
Meat, fish and alternatives are also very important, providing us with some vitamins, minerals and protein, but these should make up a smaller part of the diet.
Milk and dairy foods contain protein, some vitamins and calcium which is necessary for strong bones and teeth. These should make up a smaller part of the diet.
Fatty and sugary foods should be kept to a minimum in the diet, as they provide calories but few nutrients.
The amount of fat and sugar are declared in the nutrition panel on food packaging. Low fat products contain no more than 3g of fat per 100g of food and low sugar products contain no more than 5g of sugar per 100g
How does Iceland label own brand products to help people who want to eat healthily?
Iceland clearly labels products and provides nutrition panels which can be found on most products, showing calorie, protein, carbohydrate, sugar, fat, saturated fat, fibre, sodium and salt figures.
Why should we reduce salt in our diets?
Whilst we all need salt in our diets, too much salt has been linked to health problems such as high blood pressure (hypertension) which can lead to heart disease and strokes.
What is the recommended daily intake?
The Food Standards Agency report that we are currently consuming an average of 9.5g of salt (3.8g sodium) per day. Government guidelines have recommended that the salt intake for adults should be cut to less than 6g of salt (2.5g sodium) per day. Salt consumption for babies and children varies according to age.
How can salt be reduced in the diet?
Salt naturally occurs in many foods; however most of the salt in our diets comes from adding salt whilst cooking or at the table and in processed foods. A reduced salt intake can be achieved by limiting the amount of salt added to foods, checking the labels on processed foods and eating a healthy balanced diet.
How does Iceland label own brand products to help people who want to reduce the salt in their diets?
At Iceland, we have been working hard to reduce salt levels in our own brand products since 1998. Our salt reduction programme is well underway and our suppliers are working closely with Iceland product technologists to ensure good progress. We have shared our plans with The Department of Health and are committed to reducing salt levels in key product categories, over the next three years.
To help our customers make informed choices, we are committed to open and honest labelling of our own-label products and we declare the full nutrition information on the product packaging. We recognise that some customers find labelling of sodium content confusing and, as a result, we declare both salt and the legally required sodium content on our packaging.
Who else can help?
Please click on any of the links to websites below for more information.
The Department of Health
Food Standards Agency
Telephone: 020 7276 8000
British Heart Foundation
14, Fitzhardinge Street
Telephone: 020 7935 0185
British Nutrition Foundation
52-54 High Holborn
Telephone: 020 7404 6504
Fax: 020 7404 6747