Advice for taking care of your physical health

Healthy eating

This information is designed to help people to adopt a healthier lifestyle by taking some simple steps. It includes why changes should be made and the support available to help achieve it. 

Eating a balanced and healthy diet is a key part of maintaining good health and can help you to feel your best. To achieve this, you need to eat a variety of food groups in the right proportions and consume the right amount of foods and drinks to maintain a healthy body weight. You may be limited at the moment due to the availability of certain foods but, where possible, the following forms a healthy diet and provides you with the nutrients needed. 

 Here are a few simple tips to help:

  • Base your meals on higher fibre, starchy carbohydrates
  • Eat lots of fruit and veg
  • Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish
  • Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
  • Eat less salt: no more than 6g a day for adults
  • Get active and be a healthy weight
  • Do not get thirsty
  • Do not skip breakfast

Eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. One of these portions can be a glass of fruit juice, while frozen fruits and vegetables also count towards your five a day: Help with your 5 a Day (

Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc and B vitamins, but try to eat less red and processed meats where possible.

Too much saturated fat or salt in your diet can increase the risk of heart disease and strokes, and it is important to check content levels in your food if you are unsure.

At the moment, you may be limited with options for preparing meals. Try to include the recommended food groups and drink plenty of fluids. Remember that good nutrition boosts the immune system. 

There are hundreds of recipe ideas, including specific store cupboard recipes and budget meals for large families at BBC good food ( 

A healthy diet is made up from eating carbohydrates, proteins and fats as well as a wide range of vitamins and minerals. This will help our body and mind to function effectively and provide us with energy.

The units used to measure energy are calories which we need in order to carry out everyday tasks. The recommended daily intake for women is approximately 2,000 calories and approximately 2,500 for men. This figure will be lower for older or less active individuals and higher for those who are physically active or have physically demanding jobs.

It is recommended that we eat two portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily, such as salmon, tuna or mackerel. Meals should be based around starchy carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, couscous or other grains. Whole grains contain more fibre, keeping you fuller for longer, and they usually contain more vitamins and minerals. It is advised that we consume no more than 70 grams of fat and six grams of salt in a day.

Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and supports healthy blood sugars, resulting in higher energy levels and better concentration. It also makes you less likely to snack throughout the day. Cereals, porridge, wholegrain toast, yoghurt, fruit and eggs are all quick and easy ways to start your day.

As well as eating healthily, regular exercise may help reduce your risk of getting serious health conditions. It's also important for your overall health and wellbeing. If you're trying to lose weight, aim to eat less and be more active. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Five tips for eating healthy

  • Grill rather than fry as this reduces the fat content of the food product
  • Steam rather than boil as this retains more nutrients
  • Make a large batch of healthy recipes such as a soup, casseroles or bolognese and freeze portions
  • Check food labels for hidden salt, sugar and fat
  • Think about healthy swaps for your snacks, especially those which are highly processed

For further information on nutrition, handy tips, healthier lunch box ideas and food facts visit Change4Life (

Last updated: 05/03/2024 11:56:58