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Eat nothing at all in between meals.

Avoid all white flour and other refined carbohydrates.

Avoid all sugars and artificial sweeteners.

Avoid all alcohol because alcohol is itself a refined caohydrate and sets up cravings for others.

Do not carry around bottled water. Anorexic patients do this so that they can readily suppress cravings. It is a fad that should be avoided.

Keep to a total of one glass of fruit juice a day.

Patients needing to gain some weight may be advised to have a couple of "build-up", high- calorie drinks in the course of the day. This should be discussed with a counsellor. A normal healthy diet should comprise daily intake from each of three principal food groups:

a) Fats: milk, butter, cheese, and oils. b) Carbohydrates: bread, cereals, pasta, grains, fresh fruit and vegetables. c) Proteins: meat, fish, eggs, cheese, pulses, tofu, soya, nuts and yoghurt.

The exact composition of a sensible diet, with a range of fats, carbohydrates and proteins is not of any great interest to people in recovery from eating disorders. Healthy eating is simply a matter of having a well-balanced food intake, exactly the same balance as for anything else in life. Sufferers from eating disorders do not need to be told anything elaborate about balance, because it can become obsessive. However, we may need basic information in the early days of our recovery. The food chart illustrated below is a good general guide on how an average day's food intake may be constructed, clearly indicating the importance of carbohydrates as an energy provider.

An average breakfast may consist of a portion of porridge or cereal followed by an egg or other protein and a slice of whole-wheat toast with butter and sugar-free marmalade. Lunch and dinner should consist of a balanced plate of food roughly split into three selections from the three main food groups and followed by a sugarfree pudding or a piece of fruit or cheese. The healthiest way to measure one's food, as already mentioned, is not to weigh it but to check whether one could comfortably exchange plates with a normal eater.

Daily food balance

fats and oils : Use sparingly.
milk, yoghurt and cheese: 2 - 3 servings.
meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts: 2 - 3 servings.
fruits : 2 - 4 servings.
vegetables: 3 - 5 servings.
bread, cereal, rice, wholemeal pasta: 6 - 10 servings.

(The number of "servings" is not a precise quantity to be consumed - which is determined by maintenance of healthy body weight - but illustrates the approximate healthy ratio between one food group and another.)

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