Nutrition

Below average. That’s what we, the residents of Northern Ireland are.

We eat TOO LITTLE

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • fibre
  • oily fish

Lower than the UK average. Below average. Must try harder.

However, we eat TOO MUCH:

  • saturated fat
  • processed meat
  • sugar
  • salt

More than the UK average. Above average. Hoorayyyyy….no, wait, that’s not good.

It’s Nutrition and Hydration Week 2018.  Let’s try harder this week. Let’s try to be average.

One week, 7 days, endless opportunities to strive for improvement.  Show the UK what we’re made of (although at the moment that’s mainly saturated fat, sugar and salt).

 7 days, 7 nutrition and hydration challenges

  1. 82% of Northern Ireland adults do not eat the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Play to win – eat one extra piece of fruit or larger portion of salad or vegetables every day this week.
  2. The recommended daily intake of fibre is 30g / day. The average intake is 13g / day. Increase fibre by eating more fruit and vegetables, pulses like lentils and beans, whole nuts and seeds, or wholegrain breads, low sugar cereals, rice or pasta.
  3. It is recommended to eat at least one 140g portion of oily fish a week. We eat on average 29g a week. Eat oily fish (eg salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards) at least once this week – fresh or tinned. Go on, you do like them.
  4. It is advised that less than 11% of our total energy needs should be from saturated fat. We get an average of 13%. The media headlines have misguidedly convinced us that fat is no longer the villain. But not all fats are equal. For example, the fat around a chop is not the same as the fat in olive oil. Reduce saturated fat by removing all visible fat from meat, choose reduced fat meat options and low fat dairy produce.
  5. Added sugars should provide no more than 5% of our energy needs – Northern Ireland adults average over 12% with the main sources being table sugar, fizzy drinks, sugary cereal, bakery products and confectionery. But you’re off most of this for Lent anyway, so keep up the good work.
  6. Salt should be limited to 6g or under a day. We average over 8g / day. The biggest contributors are table salt, breads, cereals and meat products. Taste your food before you add salt. Try alternatives like pepper, chilli flakes, scallions, diced onion or get creative with herbs and other spices.
  7. Fluid – are you drinking enough? (You know alcohol doesn’t count). Keep fluids calorie free as far as possible. Enough to keep your pee pale. Yes, you’ll have to look.

Come on people. Let’s at least be average. It won’t kill us.

See the full report at https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/ndnsfullreport.pdf

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