What you eat, and how much, is important for your health.
Eating well means having a wide variety of foods in the right amounts. The key recommendations for eating well are to:
- aim for at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day
- choose more wholegrain or higher fibre options
- swap red and processed meats for chicken, fish, beans and pulses
- have foods high in fat, salt and sugar occasionally
Find out more about
healthy eating recommendations.
Please note that this page covers healthy eating advice for the general population. For those with special dietary requirements, medical needs, eating disorders or those who require specialised nutrition advice please seek guidance from a healthcare professional.
How we can help
If you're struggling to achieve a healthy weight, Public Health Northamptonshire will fund a 12 week course to support you to reach your weight-loss goals.
Check your eligibility and apply
Top tips to help you eat well
1. Variety is key!
Eating a wide variety of foods means you are more likely to be consuming all the essential nutrients your body needs to function at its best. Try to include different foods from each food group in your meals. Can you eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables over a week?
2. Check the labels
Nutrition labels can help you choose between products and keep a check on the amount of foods you're eating that are high in fat, salt and added sugars.
Check the label resource.
3. Cook at home more
We all like to eat out sometimes but by preparing more foods at home you can control what goes into your meals and its often much cheaper. Try making your favourite meals at home. Many key ingredients such as pasta, noodles, vegetables and sauces can be stored in the cupboards or freezer.
4. Use vegetables and pulses to bulk out meals
A good way of making meals go further is to use vegetables or pulses to bulk out meals e.g. adding mushrooms and lentils to chilli or spaghetti bolognaise. These don't always have to be fresh tinned and frozen are great options too!
5. Love leftovers!
Leftovers are a great way to have ready prepared meals for another day. You can store them in the fridge overnight and have them for lunch the next day or freeze until you need a quick prep dinner after a busy day. Using leftovers cannot only save time but money and food waste too.
6. Try to eat regular meals
Eating regular meals helps to maintain your energy levels throughout that day. Planning lunches and preparing snacks is a good way to make sure that when hunger strikes you have something ready to hand. MIND have some great tips on
food and mood.
7. Stay hydrated
Drinking little and often can help to keep you hydrated throughout the day. Water is the best option but milk, tea, coffee, fresh juice, smoothies and sugar free drinks all count too. Just be mindful of the caffeine content in tea and coffee and when drinking smoothies or fresh juices it's recommended to keep serving sizes to 150ml as they can be high in sugar.
8. Try simple food swaps
Eating well can start with small changes - why not try swapping sugar on your breakfast for dried fruit, or swapping white bread for wholemeal. Find
food swaps for kids.
Use vegetables to bulk out meals
A good way of making meals go further is to use vegetables to bulk out meals e.g. adding mushrooms and peppers to chilli or spaghetti bolognaise.
Don't skip breakfast
A healthy breakfast high in fibre and low in fat, sugar and salt can form part of a balanced diet, and can help you get the nutrients you need for good health.
9. Check the information
Check the healthy eating information you follow is from a reputable source. There is a lot of information available and promotion of many fad diets that are not based on scientifically correct information. Reputable sources include the NHS, Change for Life and health professionals such as GPs, Registered Dieticians and Nutritionists and using these will ensure the advice you receive is safe, accurate and evidence based.
Concerned about your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes?
You can check out your risk and access a range of support services on the NHS website:
The National Diabetes Prevention Programme operates in Northamptonshire, and your GP can refer you to the programme if they feel it is appropriate for you.
Other support available
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