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Helping Hands blog

Top tips on maintaining a healthy diet

Who doesn’t love chip shop chips with a slice of bread and butter for tea? Or jam roly-poly with custard for afters? Knowing what to eat throughout the day can be confusing, especially for those living with dementia. Have you noticed that we often choose the easy options that are usually packaged, processed, quick to cook and calorific? Maybe your waistline has…

Remember when you were hungry after school and your mum would respond with, “have some fruit”? Those were the days! Getting plenty of nutrients from food and drinking lots of water in your younger days was essential for growth and development – but why should that stop now?

If you’re starting to think you or your loved one’s diet might be lacking on the healthy front – we’re here to help.

Drink plenty of fluids

By this we mean water. We’re all guilty of drinking caffeinated and sugary drinks, which is fine if it’s not on a regular basis. Did you know that drinking one can of coke a day adds up to 322g of sugar per week? That’s 80 sugar cubes, not to mention a whole lot of horses you can treat!

Juice, milkshakes and fizzy drinks are full of calories that will contribute to your waistline (which gets harder to shift as you age), as well as having a detrimental effect on your well-being and mental health. If you’re a fan of drinking orange juice with your morning granola, avoid ‘from concentrate’ and always choose the organic or natural options. Why? ‘from concentrate’ means the excess water from the fruit is removed, lessening the nutritional value of the fruit.

Health authorities recommend drinking approximately two litres of water every day, but you should always trust your thirst – it’s there for a reason. Encourage your loved ones to sip on water regularly – you could use a straw, sippy cup or water bottle to help them stay hydrated.

Five a day

A squirt of ketchup? A packet of Fruitella? The answer is no, and no.

One glass of unsweetened orange juice at breakfast, carrot sticks and an apple with your lunch and two portions of veg with your evening meal – sorted.

Evidence shows that there are significant health benefits to eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables in your diet every day. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fibre, you can rest assured these low fat (provided you don’t fry or roast them in oil) goodies will keep your body and mind healthy.

Watch your salt

Always check the food labels. Now that the government and food retailers have agreed on front-of-pack labelling, there’s no reading glasses required. Simply check the colour-coding scheme on the food item; you’ll often find a mixture of green, amber and red.

When doing your weekly food shop, use the traffic light system. If it’s green, go for it! If it’s red, don’t risk it.

The government have advised adults to consume less that 6g of salt per day, but on average, as a nation, we consume more than this. Avoid adding additional salt to your meals, or if you want extra flavour – add some herbs and spices.

Treat yourself

Rich chocolate. Creamy macaroni cheese. A full English breakfast. Don’t worry, we’re not saying you can’t or shouldn’t eat them, in fact we encourage having treats, but that’s exactly what they should be.

Have a cheat day once a week. Many people choose weekends to spoil themselves with the occasional goody, but you can choose whatever day suits you.

Do you or your loved one need a helping hand?

Keeping a balanced diet is an important step to a happy, healthy and independent lifestyle, which is why our friendly and knowledgeable carers are on hand to help you and your loved ones. Whether it’s help preparing nutritious meals for the week, baking (low fat) scones for afternoon tea, washing up those stubborn kitchen appliances, or clearing out the fridge every now and again – we’re here to support you.

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