A healthier diet can lead to better health in general. Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables every day will reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and some cancers.
If you have a long-term health condition such as diabetes, then eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is extremely important. You should aim to:
- Eat at least five different types of fruit and/or vegetables a day
- Eat a high fibre breakfast such as whole-grain breakfast cereals or toast made from wholemeal bread
- Eat regularly but in moderation
- Avoid fizzy or sweetened drinks. Although water is best, diluted fruit juice, herbal tea, and milk can count towards your fluid requirement, which is about two litres per day.
To help ensure you are eating five different servings of fruit and vegetables each day, look for the '5-a-day' portion indicator on products.
- Find help with 5-a-day portion sizes from the NHS Choices website.
- Use this meal planner tool to make the weekly shop easier and help ensure you're getting 5 a day, every day.
- See how easy it can be to incorporate vegetables into your family meals by watching this light-hearted video from NHS Choices.
A healthy balance
Eating a balanced diet is all about variety and moderation. You should eat from all major food groups on a daily basis, whilst keeping foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt to a minimum - as well as watching your alcohol intake.
The main food groups include:
- Carbohydrates (rice, pasta, cereals, wholegrain bread and potatoes)
- Fruit and vegetables
- Milk and dairy foods (cheese, yoghurt)
- Protein (meat, fish, chicken, nuts, pulses or tofu, soya)
*You can check for the levels of saturated fat on most food packaging. We all need some amount of fat in our diet and good fats include unsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado. Saturated fats (which are solid at room temperature) like butter should be kept to a minimum in cooking to maintain a healthy heart.
Eating healthily on a budget
Feeding your family healthy meals with a limited income can be a challenge, but this video offers some good tips on eating good quality food whilst sticking to a budget.
Roots and Shoots school programme
Each year we offer support to 10 schools in Northumberland for children aged between 9-12 years old to take part in our Roots and Shoots programme. This provides the opportunity for children to learn about how to plant and grow fresh food that you can eat. It involves specialist advice to support school gardening clubs, as well as health education and physical activity programmes. For more information contact Elaine Davies, on 01670 394516 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to know more?
If you are over 16 and would like support to improve your diet contact our health trainers for free advice. If you live in Northumberland call 01670 784 182. You can also visit our health trainer service page here for more details .
Alternatively, if you want to promote eating well in your school or organisation visit our resources section where you can order free leaflets and posters. Please note this service is only available to organisations in Northumberland.
You also might find useful the food and diet section of the NHS Choices website. (External links open in a new window.)