Eating Well - what you can do

Top Tips

  • Choose dishes made from fresh ingredients and avoid processed food
  • Opt for smaller portion sizes, and avoid "large" or "super-size" options
  • If you can’t tell how a dish is cooked, you can always ask; choose dishes that have been grilled, poached or steamed

Look at the label

Pre-packaged products often have a nutrition information panel on the label so you can check how much fat, salt and sugar they contain. Look at the NHS Choices guide to food labels for details of what to look for.

Choose

  • Tomato-based sauces instead of ones based on cream and cheese
  • Steamed or boiled rice instead of fried
  • Dishes made with wholegrain or brown starchy ingredients such as rice, pasta or bread
  • Potatoes that are baked or boiled without added salt, butter or oil instead of chips or creamy mashed potatoes
  • Extra vegetables or undressed salad on the side
  • Fruit-based desserts and lower-fat, lower-sugar yoghurts instead of cakes, chocolate or creamy puddings, biscuits, sweets and ice cream
  • A glass of water instead of alcohol or a fizzy drink. Remember, even unsweetened fruit juice contains free sugar, so try to drink no more than one glass (150ml) each day. It's best to drink it with a meal, as this can reduce the impact it has on your teeth. Try diluting it with water to cut the sugar content. Find out more about being Sugar Smart.

Takeaways

Takeaways can be cheap, convenient and satisfying but they're not always very healthy, sometimes containing high levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat. Some outlets now list calories on their menus but when they don’t there are other ways you can pick the healthier option:

Fish and chips

Choose:

  • A portion of baked beans or garden peas to get one of your five-a-day
  • A smaller portion of fish, chips or both, and thick cut chips as these absorb less fat than skinny fries
  • Grilled fish or fish coated in breadcrumbs

Avoid:

  • Options that are high in fat and salt, such as processed pies and sausages
  • Adding extra salt to your chips

Italian

Choose:

  • Lower-fat pizza toppings such as vegetables
  • A tomato-based pasta dish

Avoid:

  • Large deep-pan pizzas, or pizzas with the crust stuffed with cheese
  • Creamy pasta sauces and garlic bread

Chinese

Choose:

  • Steamed dishes such as dumplings or fish
  • Stir-fried meals which include vegetables
  • Boiled or steamed rice over egg-fried rice

Avoid:

  • Battered or deep fried dishes such as prawn toast, spring rolls and prawn crackers
  • Sweet and sour meals

Thai

Choose:

  • Stir-fried or steamed dishes containing chicken, fish or vegetables
  • Clear soups such as tom yum and salads

Avoid:

  • Curries based on coconut milk, which is high in saturated fat. If you choose a curry, have it with steamed rice instead of egg fried rice
  • Satay skewers with peanut sauce

Indian

Choose:

  • Vegetables and lentil side dishes, such as daal
  • Tomato-based curries such as tandoori and madras
  • Plain rice or chapatti

Avoid:

  • Cream-based curries such as korma
  • Deep fried items such as bhajis and papadoms

Kebab and burgers

Choose:

  • Grilled shish kebab with plain pitta and salad
  • Grilled burgers made from lean meat or chicken

Avoid:

  • Large portion sizes and adding chips as a side
  • Burgers which are fried, and extra toppings such as cheese, bacon or mayonnaise
  • Doner kebabs
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