Eating for Exam Success

How to Eat Your Way to Health

A healthy lifestyle is all about making small choices which add up to having a major and positive effect on your life, such as, your health, your concentration, your weight and your appearance.

One of the first steps to a new and healthier you, is following a healthy eating plan. This is not about crash
diets, starving or depriving your body, but instead involves making positive choices about your food and lifestyle.

Eating Habits

Eating sensibly involves more than just your food choices.
Apart from what you eat, how and when you eat also has an impact on your weight. By adhering to the following tips you will keep your body healthy.

  • Never skip meals, especially breakfast. Starting the day with a good breakfast gets your body going and maintains your concentration for the day.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your body healthy.Aim to drink eight glasses of water a day. By drinking plenty of water you are less likely to feel hungry.
  • Eat smaller amounts more frequently. Eat slowly and enjoy your food. Eating big meals makes you feel tired and over full. Four or five small meals are better for you than three large ones.
  • Try to combine healthy eating with an exercise and activity plan for all round good health.

The Food Pyramid

Most of us are familiar with the picture of the food pyramid. The pyramid shows how much of each type of food we should eat each day to achieve a healthy weight. By following the guidelines of the food pyramid, along with an exercise plan, you can achieve a healthy weight, a healthy heart and a happier you.

The pyramid allows you to choose what you want to eat as part of a healthy diet, while ensuring that you get all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

The Servings

You should eat up to six servings from the bottom of the pyramid, which includes bread, cereal, potatoes, rice and pasta. Carbohydrates are the body’s fuel and therefore your intake of these foods is very important.

You need five or more servings of fruit, vegetables and fruit juice. Fruit and vegetables give you brighter, clearer skin. As a low calorie food, they are a great option for snacks between meals.

You should have up to three daily portions from the next section of the pyramid which includes milk, cheese and yoghurts. These foods are calcium-rich and are needed for healthy bones and teeth. On the next section, you can eat two servings of meat and fish from which you will get iron and protein. Iron is vital for healthy blood and normal growth. Without enough iron you could develop anaemia which will make you feel tired and lethargic.
Your body also needs protein to repair itself.

Finally, your daily diet should include as few items from the top of the pyramid as possible, such as fats, oils, sugar, sweets, and chocolate. Do not add fat to your food, such as butter or cream. To cook your meals the fat-free way, try grilling, steaming or boiling food.

Exercise...

  • Helps you to have a healthy heart
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Helps to build strong bones
  • Improves your strength and flexibility
  • Improves your mood and emotional well-being
  • Helps your confidence and self-esteem
  • Is a great way to meet new people
  • Improves your posture
  • Helps you to deal with stress
  • Gives you more energy

Motivation is the Key

Commit yourself to being healthy. See exercise as part of your daily routine, like eating and showering. Make the time by giving up a TV programme you usually watch, and exercise during this time instead.

Reward yourself. Set weekly, achievable goals and reward yourself at the end of the week.

Remember why you started exercising in the first place. By focusing on losing weight or improving your health, you will get the motivation to maintain your exercise programme.

Team up with someone in a similar position. Get a friend or family member to exercise with you. Having someone with you will encourage you to exercise even on the days when you want to give up.

Play some music while you exercise. The beat will encourage you to keep up the pace.