Healthy eating - help and advice

Collage of images showing a family out for a bike ride, a plate of salad and two students eating fruit

Embrace starch

Starchy foods (potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread) should make up around one third of the foods you eat - wholegrain varieties contain more fibre and can make you feel full for longer. Gram for gram, starchy foods contain fewer than half the calories of fat.

Eat lots of fruit and veg

It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day.

Fish for compliments

Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including at least one portion of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards... yum!

It’s not all in the taste

About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure.

More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt. Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt a day.

The ‘f’ word

  • Bad fat - cakes, pies, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard and hard cheese
  • Good fat - vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.

You’re sweet enough

Most people in the UK eat too much sugar - more than 15g of sugar per 100g means you might want to think about putting it back on the shelf.

Nutrition tips for patients

It is not unusual for people to lose their appetite when they are unwell, because of the illness itself, the treatment and drugs or worry. But people who are well nourished are likely to recover more quickly.

  • Small frequent meals with snacks if possible in between
  • Eat favourite foods
  • Don't try to lose weight by 'healthy eating'
  • Pick the high energy choices from the menu
  • Try to have a milky drink between meals – aim for one pint full fat milk daily
  • Ask for assistance with eating and drinking if necessary.