Eating healthily is a way of life, rather than a quick diet fix. It's a long-term goal that we should all be aiming towards. But there's no doubt that many of us aren't eating as healthily as we might be.
The figures (and our figures) speak for themselves. In 2006, 24 percent of adults were classed as obese, up from 15 percent in 1993. What's more, 16 percent of children aged 2 to 15 were already classed as obese, up from 11 percent in 19951.
If we are to reverse this worrying trend, it's clear that we need to get back to basics and rediscover the essential ingredients of healthy eating.
The whole of the grain
Whole grains such as barley, oatmeal, whole wheat, rye and millet are full of fibre and protein as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals. Eat plenty of wholegrains, such as wholegrain bread, breakfast cereal and brown rice will help you to feel fuller for longer, because they take longer to digest.
Wholegrains offer many more health benefits too. As well as stabilising your blood sugar levels, eating plenty of wholegrains could significantly lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke2. Yet nine out of ten adults in the UK don't eat the recommended three servings of whole grain per day3.
Plentiful sources of protein
Protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats, so including a source of protein in every meal is another way to help you feel fuller for longer. Eating enough protein helps to preserve muscle and encourages fat burning4.
There are many healthy sources of protein, including: lean cuts of red meat; poultry (without the skin); wild game such as venison; soya proteins such as tofu and mycoprotein products like Quorn™ Vegetarian sources of protein like yoghurt, cheese and nuts can all be incorporated into your diet to add flavour and variety.
Dairy products such as low fat milk, cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are also great sources of calcium, which is vital for strong bones and healthy nerve and muscle function. Offering a good balance of protein, carbohydrate and vitamins and minerals, dairy products are low GI (glycemic index) too. (In essence, the lower a food's GI ranking, the slower it is digested, helping you to feel fuller for longer).
Another great source of protein is pulses such as beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils. Pulses are super-healthy and full of fibre and iron, as well as complex carbohydrates, so they release energy slowly into your bloodstream and keep you full up for longer. With their low glycemic index, pulses are ideal for people who want to reduce their risk of heart disease or diabetes, or manage an existing condition5.