A healthy eating plan is the best way to lose weight or to maintain your healthy weight. Your eating plan will probably be lower in fat and sugar than your current diet.

Most western diets are very high in fat and sugar. They are also low in fibre and fresh fruit. There are no forbidden foods on a healthy eating plan, but there are foods that should be very limited.

Restricted Foods On Your Healthy Eating Plan

Sugar, Salt, Fat and any foods that contain these restricted foods in large quantities.

Potato chips (crisps), French fries, chocolate and ice cream are typical of the processed foods that will be restricted.

Some Changes in your Kitchen Necessary For Your Healthy Eating Plan

  • Hide the deep fat fryer. Empty it of oil, clean it and put it away. Out of sight, out of mind

  • Buy a bread-making machine. Making your own bread is tremendously satisfying and you can use less salt and sugar than in most commercial bread

  • Buy a 'George Foreman' type health grill. Choose the largest you can find. Look for removable plates and a variable temperature control as well

  • Buy a food processor, or at least a liquidiser. This will be indispensable for making soups, sauces and smoothies

  • Buy a steamer for cooking vegetables. This can just be the saucepan type of steamer

  • Buy small dinner plates. Small plates make you eat less-Fact.

Shopping List For Your Healthy Eating Plan

You need to switch your family away from red meat, that contains 30-50% fat and towards poultry, game, fish and vegetarian meals.

  • You should stock up your freezer with different kinds of fish and fish-based frozen meals for 'emergencies'. Look for smoked fish, too, as a very tasty and healthy alternative to bacon and sausages.

White fish, Smoked white fish, Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines, Frozen fish ready meals, Smoked salmon, Smoked mackerel

  • Make sure you have chickens, chicken joints and turkey steaks in the freezer, too.

Chickens, Chicken joints, Turkey steak

  • Buy dried beans and pulses like green split peas and brown lentils. Buy a few cans of beans for when you forget to soak the dried beans.

Butter beans, Kidney beans, Chick peas, Brown lentils, Green split peas, Red split lentils, Borlotti beans

  • Buy low fat cheese for cooking with. Always buy extra mature cheese when you can, you get more taste for your calories, so you use less cheese.

Low fat soft cheese, Low fat extra mature hard cheese

  • Buy medium size eggs instead of large ones. Avoid duck eggs because they are very high in cholesterol.

Medium eggs

  • Buy fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season

Apples, Pears, Peaches, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnip, Onions, Garlic, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet corn

  • Buy whole meal bread or make your own. Try to find lower salt, lower sugar bread. Making your own bread using a bread-making machine is very easy and gives you much more control of what is in your bread

Wholemeal (wholegrain) bread, Strong wholemeal flour (for making your own bread), Strong white flour (for making your own bread), Yeast

  • Switch to wholegrain rice and pasta to painlessly increase the amount of fibre you eat.

Brown rice, Wholemeal pasta

Different Ways of Cooking On Your Healthy Eating Plan

  • Use the grill (broiler) rather than the frying pan whenever you can. Grilled bacon rashers are crispy and beat fried ones anyway for taste

  • Steam all vegetables instead of boiling them. Steaming removes fewer nutrients than boiling and your vegetables will be a lot more tasty

  • Try cooking vegetables on a health grill. Asparagus works very well and tastes better than steamed asparagus does. THINLY sliced potatoes can be cooked like this. They take about 15-20 minutes, but they are crispy and appetising and do not need butter

Healthy Eating Plan: Breakfast

  • Reduce the number of occasions when you cook a breakfast.

  • Keep a range of whole grain, low sugar cereals in stock

  • Make smoothies most mornings. Just blend natural, unsweetened yoghurt with fresh fruit and fruit juice. Experiment and soon the family will be asking for their smoothies on the mornings you do not make them

  • Cook porridge occasionally

Healthy Eating Plan: Drinks

  • Refuse to buy high sugar soft drinks

  • Keep a few different fruit juices in

  • Buy more milk, but switch to a lower fat milk, at least try skimmed milk, some might prefer it

  • Cut sugar in tea and coffee

Healthy Eating Plan: Lunch

Soups make great, satisfying and healthy meals for lunches. Serve them with

your own, home-made bread and nobody will miss the fatty lunches they used to long for

Make a soup by soaking a cup of any beans, lentils or chickpeas overnight. Rinse them off until there is no more froth. This removes the complex sugars that cause flatulence. Boil up the beans in plain water, NO SALT, until they are soft. Then add onions, potato, carrots or whatever you think will work best. Just add one or two vegetables, so that each soup is different. Add a stock cube. Cook your soup until the vegetables are soft. Mash or liquidise your soup if that's the way you prefer soup to be

Healthy Eating Plan: Dinner

  • Serve low fat soups for a first course. These will be satisfying and they can provide protein and fibre without any fat to speak of

  • Use marinades to make fish and chicken tasty. Try cooking the marinated fish or poultry on the health grill

  • Include a vegetarian meal once a week for health and variety. Try chick peas with crispy baked onions and grated cheese on pasta (and extra virgin olive oil, naturally)

  • Serve lots of steamed vegetables

Healthy Eating Plan: Snacks

Snacks need to be available at all times and they need to be EASY.

  • Slice up butternut squash and bake it for 30 minutes on a tray until the pieces are just turning brown at the edges

  • Sliced potatoes cooked on the health grill are crispy and can be used with dips instead of fried potato chips

  • Fruit, especially grapes, bananas and apples make great snack food