Healthy eating

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important to maintain good health, and help you feel your best.

Below are some tips to help you move towards a healthy diet:

  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Cut down on sugar and fat
  • Watch your portion sizes
  • Cut down on salt. It's not just what you add. Check the food labels as three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. We need to drink about 1.6 to 2 litres of fluid every day. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water and lower-fat milk are healthier choices.
  • Eat breakfast. This gets our metabolism going and kick-starts our body for the day.

Reduce risk

Eating healthily can reduce the risk of:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • osteoporosis
  • some types of cancer

Changing your eating habits is not easy, but it is achievable. Before you make any changes it is best to know what your current eating habits are. You can do this by keeping a food diary. Record everything you eat over a few days. This will help you identify what you need to change.

Getting a balanced diet

There is a huge range of different foods available to us. It's important to have food from all of the main food groups. For information on a balanced diet use the NHS Eatwell guide.

Five a day fruit and vegetables

The NHS provides guidance on the recommended portion size for five fruits and vegetables a day. You can also see information on eating five a day on a budget.

Prepared foods

Check the serving size on prepared foods as each packet can be for one or more servings. Some foods are labelled with nutritional information to help you make decisions. Use this guide on how to read food labels.

If you have a long term health condition, ask your health professional which portion size is right for you. For example for high blood pressure you may be advised to select foods low in salt. Or to watch your cholesterol.

Healthy eating doesn’t mean you have to give up the foods you like or that you have to buy ‘special’ foods. You can change your eating habits by making small, gradual changes.