Nutrition and Diet

A healthy diet and lifestyle

A healthy, balanced diet can help you to look and feel your best. It can help you maintain a healthy body weight and stay healthy as well as reducing your chance of developing a number of diseases.

No single food can provide all the essential nutrients that your body needs. Therefore, it is important to consume a wide variety of foods to provide adequate intakes of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, which are important for health.

However, with supermarket shelves stacked high with foods and drinks to choose from and with numerous (and sometimes conflicting) health messages in the media, making healthy choices isn’t always that easy. Read on for some simple advice to help you to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

The eatwell plate

Eatwell plate

The Government has developed ‘The eatwell plate’ to help us to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This provides a guide to the right proportion of foods you should eat and is based on five different food groups:

Fruit & vegetables
Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
Milk and dairy foods
Meat, fish, eggs, beans or other non-dairy sources of protein
Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar

Who's The eatwell plate for?

The eatwell plate is designed for use by most people over the age of five. It isn’t for children under two years of age as they have different nutritional needs. Children between the ages of two and five years should move gradually over to the same foods as the rest of their family, as shown on the eatwell plate. If you have special dietary requirements or medical needs, check with your healthcare professional whether the eatwell plate applies to you.

For more information visit: NHS Choices

Getting Started

Planning is the key to success! Plan what you are going to eat over the next few days and write your shopping list. Think about your meals and also your snacks – these can often be our downfall!

Follow these tips for a healthy, balanced diet:
1. Base your meals on starchy foods
2. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
3. Eat more fish
4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
5. Try to eat less salt - no more than 6g a day for adults and children over 11.
    Younger children should have even less.
6. Get active and try to be a healthy weight
7. Drink plenty of water- it is recommended that we have about 6-8 glasses of water or other fluid each day.
    What about alcohol?
8. Don't skip breakfast - it won’t help you lose weight. Research shows that eating breakfast can help
    people control their weight

Read the food labels

When you go shopping, you will find a lot of information on the foods and drinks which can help you compare products, see how they will fit into your diet and to help you choose the healthier options.

Look out for information on the front of pack, the nutrition information panel, the ingredients list as well as any claims it makes. Using this information you can make decisions in terms of, for example, its calorie, fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt content. Be sure you know how many portions are contained in each pack you buy.

For more information visit:

NHS Choices and Food and Drink Federation

Get moving

Physical activity is good for your health. It can reduce your chance of getting heart disease, stroke, some cancers and type 2 diabetes. It can help you build stronger bones and muscles and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

To become active does not mean that you have to go to the gym. Any activities like walking, jogging, cycling, dancing or even gardening are considered physical activity. Try and fit physical activity into your everyday life, like getting off the bus one stop earlier on the way home from work and walking or taking the stairs rather than the lift.

It is recommended that you are physically active for at least 30 minutes a day*, at least five days a week. This doesn’t need to be all at one time, for example, you could do 3 x 10 minute sessions over the day. Planning your activities can help you meet this recommendation, as can keeping an activity diary to see how you are getting on.

Come on, get moving! You could soon be seeing and feeling the benefits.

*Children and young people need to be active for at least an hour every day, for example, through active play, sport or walking to and from school.

For more information go to Keeping Active.

Smoking advice

It is well documented that smoking is a major cause in a number of diseases and illnesses including heart disease, some lung diseases and several different types of cancer.

If you smoke and want to quit, see your GP who will offer plenty of advice and support to help you kick the habit or join an NHS Stop Smoking Service.

Smoking is bad for your health. You will be healthier if you quit!