• Radley College, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 2HR
  • Telephone: 01235 543000, Fax: 01235 543106





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As part of a Radley education, the college is committed to providing the boys with a programme of nutrition education and guidelines for sustaining a well-balanced lifestyle.

We aim to offer evidence-based information through lectures, Hall brochures, regular monitoring and guidance to enable the boys to make informed decisions about the food that they eat. The foundation of this education programme is the “Eat-Well Plate”.

Why should we have a healthy and well-balanced diet?

A healthy and well-balanced diet is important for good health. Eating a variety of foods can help you manage your weight, improve general health and well-being plus it will boost your immune system. It can also lower the risk of developing future conditions including heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis (low bone density).

A healthy and well-balanced diet can improve recovery from sport and exercise and will provide all of your protein needs. It can also improve your cognitive function (your brain’s information processing).

To eat sensibly it is important to choose a range of foods from the five food groups in the correct proportions. The five food groups include; fruit & vegetables, starches (bread, rice, potatoes), proteins (meat, fish, eggs, beans), milk & dairy products, and processed foods high in fats and/or sugars.

If you try to eat each of the food groups in the ratios indicated in the "Eat-Well Plate", you should be well on the way to achieving a healthy and well balanced diet. 

What is protein?
Protein makes up part of the structure of every cell and tissue in your body including muscle tissue, internal organs, tendons, skin/hair/nails. Protein consists of amino acids, which are the building blocks from which protein are assembled.  There are two types of amino acids: non essential (made by the body) and essential amino acids (which must come from the diet).

Why does my body require Protein? 

  • Growth and formation of new tissue and tissue repair
  • Metabolic pathways
  • Needed for the body’s enzymes and various hormones including adrenaline and insulin
  • Transmitting signals from neurons to cells
  • Maintaining optimal fluid balance in tissues
  • Transporting nutrients in and out of cells
  • Carrying oxygen and regulating blood clotting

Types of Protein 
Complete Protein sources include eggs, meat, fish and dairy products. Incomplete Protein sources include grains, beans, vegetables, nuts and seeds, soy products. The best form of dietary protein is found in animal sources.

How much protein do I need? 
Surprisingly we do not need huge amounts of protein to maintain or build muscle. The average recommended protein intake is 0.8–1.0g per kg of body weight per day.  Growing adolescents may require a slightly higher intake. You should try to spread your protein intake over three balanced meals a day. Adequate amounts of protein are supplied through the meals provided in the Radley College Dining Hall. Examples include: milk, eggs, sausages, bacon, walnuts, almonds, yogurt, chicken, beef, fish, pork, lamb, cheese, beans, chickpeas, lentils.
For healthier eating, try to select the lower fat varieties of these foods.

Do I need Protein Supplements? 
No. You do not need protein supplements. At Radley College you receive three balanced meals a day with a variety of choices to ensure that a balanced diet is consumed.  You may be able to supplement your energy needs from the College shop or in-Social, by selecting foods to pre-fuel or refuel after exercise or between classes. Good protein choices include: milk, Chicken Skewers/Kebabs, Yogurt, Fruit Smoothies

Radley Dining 

Below are some examples of the amount protein available through the College Dining Hall.

Breakfast meal served in the Radley Dining Hall contains approx. 27grams of Protein. Two eggs = 13g Protein + 30g Walnuts = 5g Protein +1 Grapefruit = 1g Protein + 250ml full fat milk = 8g Protein 

Lunch Option served in the Radley Dining Hall contains approx 30grams of Protein. Beef 100g = 25g + 1 cup of carrots =1g + Tomato +1g + Green Beans =1g and cucumber =1g + 50g sweet potato = 1g 
Dinner meal served in the Radley Dining Hall contains approx 40grams of Protein. 150g chicken breast = 36g + 1 cup of carrots =1g + 2 cups of spinach = 3g    

Daily intake = 97grams of Protein. (Enough Protein for a 97kg – 120kg individual.)

Why does my body require Fats?

Fats are required for energy, insulation, protection of organs and hormone regulation. They are important because they carry the fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K. Additionally, fats allow the proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system and production of hormones. Fats also bring flavour, aroma and texture to foods and promote a feeling of fullness and satiety after a meal.

How much Fat should I eat?

The UK Government suggests a Fat intake of 70 grams for women and 95 grams for men per day.

Cholesterol HDL vs. LDL

Not all cholesterol is bad.  It’s an essential part of our body that makes up part of our cell membranes and helps produce several hormones, therefore it’s considered an essential fat. Cholesterol is split into two categories High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) and Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL).

HDL is known as “Good Cholesterol” as it protects against heart disease.  HDL can be increased through exercise and weight loss. LDL Cholesterol is known as “Bad Cholesterol”.  When we have too much LDL Cholesterol in our bodies we run a higher risk of health problems occurring.

The good types of fats

Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6)

These are polyunsaturated fats that cannot be made by the body, therefore they must be consumed in our diets. Omega-6 is essential for health, however we don’t need it in excessive amounts. In todays Western diet we can consume an abundance of them.  Sources include vegetable oils, polyunsaturated margarines and many processed foods made from these oils.     

Omega-3 fatty acids seem to be the most important of the fatty acids, but this is probably because most of us don’t eat enough omega-3 fatty acids in our daily diets. 

Omega-3 fatty acids do many good things in our bodies, including:

- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing cardiovascular disease
- Improving insulin sensitivity (great news for Type II Diabetics)
- Improving cognitive (brain) development

Sources include oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines and herring.  Also found in flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach.

Monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated fats have great health benefits as they can reduce total cholesterol, in particular LDL cholesterol. Sources include olive oil, almond oil, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds.

Polyunsaturated fats

Polyunsaturated fats can reduce LDL blood cholesterol levels, however they can also lower the good HDL cholesterol slightly. Sources include oily fish and most vegetable and fish oils.

The bad types of fats                   

Saturated Fats

Most saturated fats should be avoided, as they don’t provide any positive benefits to the body.  Saturated fats are also linked to heart disease because they increase total cholesterol and the more harmful LDL cholesterol. Sources include animal fats, lard, and cheese.  Processed foods made from these fats include biscuits, cakes and pastries.

Trans saturated fats

These fats should be avoided. Research suggests they could lower your HDL cholesterol and increase your LDL cholesterol leading to health problems. Sources include small amounts from meat and dairy products, however most come from processed fats.  Foods that are made using hydrogenated fats and oils like cakes, biscuits, margarine, low fat spreads, fried foods, and pastries.

What is a Carbohydrate?

Carbohydrates are split into two categories, simple carbohydrates (sugars) and complex carbohydrates (starches and fibres). These terms refer to the number of sugar units in the molecule.

- Fuel for the central nervous system (supplies the brain with glucose)
- Enable fat metabolism
- Prevent protein from being broken down and used as energy
- Prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)

Where and how is Carbohydrate stored within the body?

Glycogen is a stored form of glucose which is made up of many connected glucose molecules. The body relies on glycogen when it needs a quick boost of energy or if the body isn't getting glucose from food. Glycogen is broken down to release glucose into the bloodstream to be used as fuel for the cells.

Glycogen broken down into glucose (released into Blood) = fuel (at the cellular level).

Glucose is the main sugar in the blood, which is used by the bodies cells for energy.
When the body doesn't need fuel it stores it for later on. Glycogen is stored in the muscles and the liver to use when required by the body.
- CHO in Blood stored in the form of glucose (first fuel tank)
- CHO in muscles stored in the form of glycogen (second fuel tank)
- CHO in Liver in the form of glycogen, which maintains blood glucose levels at rest and during prolonged exercise (last form of fuel when body is near CHO depletion)

The average adult body stores up to 500g (2000Kcal) of CHO

400g in the muscles + 90-110g in the liver = 1600-2000 Kcal (approx)

(Small amounts are stored in the blood (25g) and brain (2g) to allow for body functions to continue)

With an increase in muscle mass the body can increase its capacity to store glycogen, which then correlates to an increase in performance.

Complex Carbohydrates vs. Simple Carbohydrates

The difference between simple and complex carbohydrates is how hard the body needs to work to convert the food into glucose. Simple Carbohydrates: already broken down before consumption = shorter digestion rate = fast release of energy. They are responsible for large and rapid excursions of blood glucose levels.
Once ingested results in a rise in blood sugar levels followed by a rapid fall. Popular and addictive food choices, due to sweetness and sugar content, generally lack nutrients that are required for a healthy lifestyle.

Simple Carbohydrates AKA Treats

Examples served at Radley include some vegetables e.g. white potatoes, sweet corn, White rice, wheat/white bread, hamburger buns, biscuits, cakes, muffins, jelly, doughnuts, waffles, croissants, chocolate, fruit juices and cordials, jam, honey, dried fruit, bagels, cornflakes, cheerios, ice cream, potato chips, sweets.

Complex Carbohydrates: hard work = longer digestion rate = slower release of energy to the body which keeps body working for longer periods. Nutrient dense and supports healthy digestion due to its higher levels of fibre.

Complex Carbohydrates AKA Body Fuel

Examples served at Radley include oats, all bran, nuts and seeds, most vegetables e.g. broccoli, leeks, cabbage, peas, cauliflower, sweet potato, salads e.g. lettuce, tomato, cucumber, chickpeas, lentils, breads that contain grains, fruits e.g. apples, berries, grapefruit, banana.

Take home messages!

Carbohydrate rich foods provide the majority of dietary energy. An increased focus should be placed on the selection of carbohydrate choices within our diet (complex vs. simple). Carbohydrate rich foods that provide significant amounts of other nutrients (micronutrients) are of greater value in sustaining a healthy lifestyle. When filling your plate look to make wise selections about what will fuel your body during sport and your school day.


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