A healthy, varied and nutritious diet is one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle.
Get more energy with the right diet
By eating a nutritionally correct, healthy, varied and nutritious diet you will all your micro and macro nutrient needs. This means that with the right amounts you will cover your vitamin and mineral requirements as well as getting the recommended amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fat.
This will lead to greater energy in daily life and you will find it easier to lose weight if you need and wish to.
Food is the body's fuel
Our bodies acquire energy from the energizing nutrients in food – fat, carbohydrate, protein and alcohol. In addition, food contains essential vitamins and minerals.
Look at food as a fuel that makes your body work, in the same way that petrol makes an engine work.
All nutrients have a bodily function.
The energy content of food is expressed in calories (kcal) and kilojoules (kJ).
1 kcal = 4.2 kJ
Not all nutrients give equal amounts of energy. In the following you can see how much energy there is per gram.
- Carbohydrate: 17 kJ/4 kcal
- Protein: 17 kJ/4 kcal
- Fat: 37 kJ/9 kcal
- Alcohol 29 kJ/7 kcal
- Dietary fibre 8 kJ/2 kcal
Your dietary habits have great significance for your health, your energy levels and your quality of life.
Your daily energy requirement depends on factors such as age, gender, height and weight, and how physically active you are.
Daily energy requirements for:
- Men approx. 10,000-12,000 kJ/2,500-3000 kcal
- Women approx. 8,000-10,000 kJ/2,000-2,500 kcal
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The Danish Ministry of Environment and Food has dietary guidelines how to achieve or maintain healthy eating habits. Here are ten recommendations based on the guidelines.
1. Eat a varied diet, not too much and be physically active
- Live by the principle, "everything in moderation".
- Avoid over-eating – adjust your consumption to your energy expenditure.
- Different foods contain nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals, which can be gained through a varied diet.
- Be sure to vary your dietary intake in all food groups – fruit and veg, fish, bread, grains, potatoes, rice and pasta, meat, chicken and eggs, milk and cheese.
- Eat regularly – preferably 5 to 6 times a day to keep your blood sugar stable, leading to less craving for sweet things.
2. Eat fruit and many vegetables
Danish Health and Medicine Authority recommends that you eat 600 grams of fruit and veg a day.
Of this amount, fruit should make up half at most, that is, 300 grams or three pieces a day.
In the following you will find an example of how to achieve the recommended 6 pieces fruit and veg per day.
Apple 100 g Orange 100 g Banana 100 g Carrot 50 g Fried root vegetables 250 g
3. Eat more fish
According to Danish Health and Medicine Authority, you should consume 200 to 300 grams fish per week. You can achieve this by eating two fish dishes a week or one fish dish combined with fish on bread (tuna, mackerel, sardines etc.) several times a week.
- Vary between oily fish and white fish
- Eat canned fish and other fish spreads and shellfish.
- Also eat frozen fish.
- Fish contributes with fish oils, vitamin D, iodine and selenium. Substances that are not found in great quantities in many other foodstuffs.
4. Choose wholegrain
- Always choose wholegrain products when buying bread, flour, rice, pasta, etc.
- It is recommended that you eat wholemeal bread that contains a minimum of 8 % dietary fibre per 100 grams.
- The Danish Health and Medicine Authority recommend you consume 75 grams wholegrain daily, which corresponds, for example, to one slice of rye bread and a large bowl of porridge or two slices of rye bread, a slice of crisp bread and wholegrain pasta.
- Vary between wholegrain pasta and brown rice.
5. Choose lean meat and cold cuts
As a general rule of thumb, you should only buy meats with a fat percentage under 10 %.
6. Choose low-fat dairy products
- Choose skimmed, mini milk or buttermilk. You still receive the valuable nutrients but with less saturated fat.
- Choose fermented milk products such as yoghurt with max. 0.7 % fat and cheese with max. 17 % fat (30+).
Dairy products contain lots of calcium which is an important element in our nutrient intake. But dairy products also contain a lot of saturated fat which can increase the risk of lifestyle illnesses if you consume excessive amounts. Therefore, you should follow the above recommendations to avoid consuming excessive amounts of saturated fat.
7. Eat less saturated fat
- Use butter and cream sparingly
- Fry meat and veg in oil instead of butter.
- In Denmark, choose food marked with the "keyhole" (nøglehullet).
8. Eat less salt
- Processed foods such as ready meals, fast food etc., contain a lot of salt, so you should prepare your own food.
- Use salt sparingly when you cook and taste food before adding salt.
- Choose products with the "keyhole" brand when shopping, as these have reduced amounts of salt. Most of the salt we consume comes from bread, meat, cheese and ready meals.
9. Eat less sugar
- Sugar is empty calories, i.e., it contains no vitamins and minerals. So it occupies space that should be taken up by nutritious foods.
- Sugar provides an accelerated energy intake that can lead to weight gain.
- Drink max. 500 ml soft drinks, cordial etc. per week.
- Reduce consumption of sugary foods, both on weekdays and at the weekend, by not having soda and sweets within reach, for example.
Below you can see examples of the energy content of various beverages for each 500 ml.
Cordial 725 KJ
Soft drinks 840 KJ
Wine 1560 KJ
Beer 803 KJ
Spirits 5000 KJ
Juice 916 KJ
Water 0 KJ
10. Drink water
- It is recommended you drink 1 to 2 litres liquid per day. Always quench thirst with water.
- Water contains zero calories.Tap water contains calcium, iodine and magnesium.
- During physical activity, water loss and water consumption increase.
- The consequences of dehydration: Headache, dizziness and reduced concentration/performance.
The following recommendations are based on the MEF's 10 dietary guidelines and provide valuable advice for you to achieve or maintain healthy dietary habits.
Get your energy balance under control
You achieve weight loss by having a negative energy balance.This means you consume fewer calories than you burn - in this way your energy account goes into minus.
There are thus two things that play a part and can be regulated if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
- Energy intake, that is, the food we eat.
- Energy expenditure, that is, the physical activity we do.
If you need to lose weight, it requires a lifestyle change that will help you to lose weight and afterwards maintain a healthy, normal weight.
The result is an easier daily life
If you are overweight, losing weight has great significance for your health.
You will find that you feel better physically and psychologically after losing weight.
You will have extra energy, your mood will improve, your body will function better and everyday chores will feel easier. At the same time weight loss helps to prevent a range of serious lifestyle related illnesses.
Lasting weight loss
On the basis of the Danish Health and Medicine Authority's and the Danish Committee for Health Education's recommendations for sustained weight loss, here are 10 guidelines that you can follow when you want to achieve lasting weight loss:
- Switch off the autopilot.
- Generate momentum.
- Drink fewer calories.
- Move about more.
- Eat more fruit and veg.
- Eat fewer sweet things.
- Choose wholegrain and potatoes.
- Eat less fat.
- Eat only when you are hungry.
- When you eat, eat.