Eating well is critical to ensure good health, growth and development, prevent short-term health problems - such as anaemia or obesity -and reduces the risk of health problems such as coronary heart disease and cancer. More recently, evidence has emerged which links diet with behaviour, concentration and educational performance.
If you want to get the balance of your diet right, use the eatwell plate. The eatwell plate makes healthy eating easier to understand by showing the types and proportions of foods we need to have a healthy and well balanced diet.
So try to eat:
plenty of fruit and vegetables
plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods – choose wholegrain varieties whenever you can
some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
some milk and dairy foods
just a small amount of foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar
If you are trying to eat healthily you will need to know what nutrients are in food. Use the" traffic light" labelling system to help you choose healthier options. This new labelling system lets you see at a glance whether foods are high or low in fats, sugars and salt. To find out more visit:
Other Useful links:
Growing healthy children
A healthy diet is particularly important for growing children to ensure they have all the nutrients and energy they need.
There is also increasing evidence that good nutrition can play an important role in behaviour and learning.
Food and Mood
Eating the right food can also improve mental health. Cutting down on food "stressors" like sugar, alcohol and caffeine and increasing "supporters" like water, oily fish and fruit and vegetables can have a beneficial effect on mood.
Artificial colourings have been shown to have an effect on behaviour; avoidance of these can significantly improve the behaviour of children and young people.
Healthy Weight Healthy Waist
Being overweight can increase the risk of developing health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. It has recently been suggested that obesity might overtake smoking as the biggest cause of preventable illness.
Health professionals use two measurements to assess a person's risk of developing disease:
Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference
To calculate your BMI, divide your weight (in kilograms) by the square of your height (in metres). This number tells you how healthy your weight is:
The Food Standards Agency have a BMI calculator on their website
It is important to consider body shape as well as weight and BMI. People who carry their excess fat around their middle are at particular risk of developing problems.
A simple way to check this is to measure your waist size. You can do this easily by measuring the narrowest part of your waist (between your ribs and your hips) while breathing out.
A waist circumference greater than 80cm (32in) for women and 94cm (37in) for men increases the risk of ill health.
The greatest risk is for women with a waist measurement of more than 88cm (35in) and men with a waist measurement of more than 102cm (40in).
Top tips for weight loss
Weight Concern and Cancer Research UK have developed a set of weight management guidelines that can be used to make simple lifestyle changes to help take in fewer calories through food, and burn more calories through activity.
For more advice on weight management visit
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