Everyone knows the basics of nutrition – eat 5 portions of fruit or veg a day, drink 8 glasses of water, limit your alcohol intake. But actually putting these things in to practise – never mind knowing what actually constitutes a portion of fruit – can be harder than most are willing to admit. Conflicting information about the health benefits of certain food groups and trends for cutting out or adding in an ever changing list of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods can make nutrition seem like a minefield. However, nutrition is important not just for the body but for the mind as being healthy and well-nourished can make a big difference to your ability to enjoy life both at work and home.
With the exception of breastmilk as food for babies, no single food contains the full essential nutrients the human body needs to be healthy and function efficiently. A healthy diet include foods from each of the main food groups which provide us with the correct amount of energy to function in our day to day lives. One excellent visual tool for understanding the quantities of each food group that the average individual should consume is the ‘Eat Well Plate’ above. Created by the Department of Health, the Eat Well Plate is appropriate for most healthy people over the age of two years old, however people undergoing medical supervision or who are known to have dietary restrictions should seek advice from a medical professions before following the guidelines.
The British Nutrition Foundation provides a wealth of information including a concise guide to the Basics of Nutrition and a section about the Facts Behind the Headlines so you can check the facts before you believe what you read. There are pages dedicated to Food in Schools and Food Allergy and Intolerance.
The NHS Live Well Healthy Eating webpages include a wide range of interactive tools to help you be healthy:
Remember: nutrition isn’t about weight loss – it’s about providing your mind and body with the tools they need so you can be the best possible version of yourself.