How to eat healthily

Did you know that one bagel can contain as many calories as about five small slices of bread? This is worth bearing in mind the next time you're in the sandwich queue. Simple decisions like this can have a huge impact when you're trying to reach a healthy weight.

Healthy eating isn't about starving yourself, yo-yo dieting or cutting out certain food groups. It's about understanding how food works, eating a healthy balanced diet and making long-lasting changes to your activity levels. It's really a simple equation, if you eat more calories than you burn off through your daily energy requirements they can end up being stored as body fat.

Q: Eating spicy food can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. True or False?

Submit

Correct

False. Spicy food makes no significant difference to your metabolism.

Wrong

Wrong! The correct answer is False. Spicy food makes no significant difference to your metabolism.

Achieving your weight loss goals with the alli plan isn't complicated, it just takes practice to get into the new habits. Like most things, once you're used to them, healthy eating and maintaining a higher activity level will simply become part of your daily routine.

Reduce your fat intake

Fat is the most calorie dense food available. One gram of fat has more than double the calories of the same amount of protein or carbohydrate. So eating less fat is a sensible way of cutting calories and making a positive difference to your weight.

A balanced diet includes carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Examples of proteins

Meat, fish, pulses (like chick peas or beans), cheese and eggs. Some of these are higher in fat than others. Lean, skinless meat or fish is a good option. Be aware that cheese is a fatty source of protein and more likely to produce diet-related treatment effects than skinless chicken or turkey.

Examples of carbohydrates

Pasta, bread, rice and potatoes. On their own they are relatively low in fat, it's what you put with them that you have to watch. Choose tomato based sauces or salsas, not the creamy, dairy variety.

Know your portion sizes

Knowing your portion sizes is another important part of losing weight. It's best not to guess the amounts – it could be the difference between a happy moment on your bathroom scales or a disappointing one. That's why we recommend that you have a set of measuring spoons and weighing scales for the kitchen. Electronic scales that can weigh from 5g up are a good option.

The following table is a guide to some of the calories and fat in smaller measures and typical measures of certain foods.

Food Measure Weight g Fat g Cal
Cooking oils including olive oil One 5ml measuring spoon 3 3 27
Cooking oils including olive oil One 15ml measuring spoon 11 11 99
Butter Medium spread on 1 slice of bread 10 8.2 74
Butter Thinly spread on 1 slice of bread 7 5.8 52
Reduced fat spread (59% fat) Medium spread on 1 slice of bread 10 5.9 54
Reduced fat spread (59% fat) Thinly spread on 1 slice of bread 7 4.4 40
Very low fat spread (20-25% fat) Medium spread on 1 slice of bread 10 2.0 18
Very low fat spread (20-25% fat) Thinly spread on 1 slice bread 7 1.4 13
Walnuts 6 halves 20 13.7 138
Almonds 6 whole almonds 13 7.3 80
Pinenuts One 5ml measuring spoon 5 3.4 34
Cream (18-20%fat) One 15ml measuring spoon 15 2.9 29
Cream (50%fat) One 15ml measuring spoon 30 16 149
Crème fraiche One 15ml measuring spoon 15 6 57
Crème fraiche, reduced fat One 15ml measuring spoon 15 2.3 14

Plan your meals in advance

If you've started planning your meals that's great news – carry on. If not, it's a good time to start.

There's no need to make separate meals for you and your family – reduced calorie, lower fat meals can be tasty so tasty that everyone can enjoy them. The only difference is that those people who are not trying to lose weight or not taking alli can eat bigger portions if they need to.

Eat regular meals and snacks

Eating with alli isn't about starving yourself and going for hours a day without food. You should be eating regularly – three good meals that are reduced calorie and lower-fat, plus 1 snack that are all within your calorie and fat targets.

Take your time

The longer you chew your food, the more you'll notice the different flavours, because it has more time to stimulate a larger number of your taste buds. Eating more slowly can also give your stomach the time it needs to let your brain know that it's full – about 15 minutes. A well-chewed meal helps you to avoid indigestion too.

Shop sensibly

Try not to shop when you're hungry. You might be tempted by fatty convenience foods and start snacking on your way home.

If you don't already make shopping lists, now's a good time to start: it can help you save time and money in the supermarket; and of course reduce the chances of you picking the wrong foods.

Take control of what goes in your shopping trolley - if it doesn't go in the trolley, it doesn't go in your cupboards or fridge.

Eat a varied diet

The alli programme encourages you to eat foods from all the main food groups. The food plate model shown below shows the proportions of the different food groups you need to eat in order to achieve a balanced diet. Each group plays a role in the diet by providing nutrients and energy.