Advice for taking care of your physical health

Healthy eating

This information is designed to help people to adopt a healthier lifestyle through taking some simple steps. It includes why changes should be made and the support available to help achieve it. Here we are looking at healthy eating.

Eating a balanced healthy diet is a key part of maintaining good health and can help you to feel your best. To achieve this you need to 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 would form a healthy diet and provide you with the nutrients needed. 

 Here are a few simple tips to help:

  • Eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruits daily
  • Base your meals around starchy foods such as potatoes, rice or pasta and, if possible, chose wholemeal or high fibre versions 
  • Include dairy or dairy replacements such as soya (choose unsweetened, calcium-fortified versions)
  • Eat beans, pulses, fish, eggs and meat as a source of protein
  • Use small amounts of oils and spreads
  • Drink plenty of water (six to eight glasses a day) 

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 and frozen fruit and vegetables also count towards your five a day: Help with your 5 a Day (nhs.uk)

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, 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 (bbcgoodfood.com)

More about a healthy diet

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 and meals should be based around starchy carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, couscous or other grains. Whole grains contain more fibre, so keep 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.

Five tips for eating healthy

  • Eat breakfast. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and boosts blood sugar, 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
  • 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

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

Last updated: 22/06/2020 11:17