Healthy weight

Healthy eating

A man and a boy dancing

Eating well guidance

Use the Healthy Eating Plate as a guide for creating healthy, balanced meals—whether served at the table or packed in a lunch box.

Familiarise yourself with healthy eating messages and understand where to access trusted advice for your patients – we recommend the Eatwell Guide, healthy eating information on NHS Choices, or campaigns like One You which offers online activities or health apps such as ACTIVE10 encouraging 10 minutes of brisk walking every day or ‘Couch to 5k’ which helps people take up running

Core principles of healthy diets as outlined in existing World Health Organization recommendations:

  • Limit salt consumption and ensure that salt is iodized;
  • Limit the intake of free sugars;
  • Shift fat consumption from saturated fats to unsaturated fats;
  • Eliminate industrially-produced trans fats;
  • Increase consumption of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and pulses; and
  • Ensure the availability of free, safe drinking water.

Another useful resource is the British Nutrition Foundation.

 

Building a healthy and balanced diet

Make most of your meal vegetables and fruits – ½ of your plate.
Aim for color and variety, and remember that potatoes don’t count as vegetables on the Healthy Eating Plate because of their negative impact on blood sugar.

Go for whole grains – ¼ of your plate.
Whole and intact grains—whole wheat, barley, wheat berries, quinoa, oats, brown rice, and foods made with them, such as whole wheat pasta—have a milder effect on blood sugar and insulin than white bread, white rice, and other refined grains.

Protein power – ¼ of your plate.
Fish, poultry, beans, and nuts are all healthy, versatile protein sources—they can be mixed into salads, and pair well with vegetables on a plate. Limit red meat, and avoid processed meats such as bacon and sausage.

Healthy plant oils – in moderation.
Choose healthy vegetable oils like olive, canola, soy, corn, sunflower, peanut, and others, and avoid partially hydrogenated oils, which contain unhealthy trans fats. Remember that low-fat does not mean “healthy.”

Drink water, coffee, or tea.
Skip sugary drinks, limit milk and dairy products to one to two servings per day, and limit juice to a small glass per day.

5-a-day 

What do you need to know?

37.6% of adults in Suffolk are meeting the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable recommendations

Did you know?

By eating a variety of plant-based foods such as whole grains and nuts, you will get all the protein you need.

While some healthier foods can carry more calories than some unhealthy food, they are better for your body because of the nutrients they contain, they can fill you up for longer than some unhealthier snacks and food.

Cooking skills

Being able to cook is an important life skill.

Knowing how to prepare food, ways to use healthier cooking methods and trying new tastes can help us all make healthier food choices.

There are many simple-to-prepare, cost-effective meals that you can try cooking and this will encourage healthy eating habits.

It’s also a good idea to plan meals in advance.

Some useful sources:

25 healthy recipes you can cook in 5 minutes or less from The British Heart Foundation BHF

Easy to cook, healthy recipes from NHS – Healthier Families

BBC Good Food Guide has lots of information about food including recipes for cooking healthy meals

lady and boy cooking and laughing
man and boys making pizza together

Eating well on a budget

Whilst less well-known, foods such as grains and pulses like beans, peas and beans are stacked with good nutrition. All tinned or dried beans, peas and lentils are pulses.

Pulses are high in protein and fibre and low in fat meaning they are great to add to your diet. Typically, they are also cheap to buy and therefore can save you money, they are good for the environment as they tend not to need much water or fertiliser – and they improve the soil for other crops to grow – as well as lowering your risk of health-related disease.

And they’re good for the environment too. They don’t need much water or fertiliser, and they even improve the soil for other crops.

The Eating well guide

The Eatwell Guide applies to most people regardless of weight, dietary restrictions/ preferences or ethnic origin.

However, it doesn’t apply to children under 2 because they have different nutritional needs. Between the ages of 2 and 5, children should gradually move to eating the same foods as the rest of the family, in the proportions shown on the Eatwell Guide.

Anyone with special dietary requirements or medical needs might want to check with a registered dietitian on how to adapt the Eatwell Guide to meet their individual needs.

public health eatwell guide booklet

How to eat healthily on a budget

With the cost of living going up, it’s harder now than ever to eat healthily when you are sticking to a budget.

Feel Good Suffolk wants to help you take the strain and give you some tips and guidance on how to eat healthily for both you and your wallet.

There are a range of apps available which can help you to explore healthy recipes and they cater for a range of tastes.

The NHS’s Better Health Smart Recipe app is a great place to start. The meals are balanced, healthy and you can filter them if you are a vegetarian or vegan.

A slow cooker is a good way to cook delicious food and keep the cost of cooking down too. The added benefit is that your food is ready for you when you get home after a hard day and the whole house smells wonderful. It really helps with those ‘take-away’ urges. Check out slow cooker recipes on a budget for ideas.

Here are some other top frugal food tips:

  • Buy vegetables and fruit when they are in season
  • Devise a weekly healthy low-cost menu
  • Write a shopping list and stick to it
  • Rotate food in your fridge/cupboards so they don’t go out of date
  • Measure out portions to cut waste
  • Find out how to use leftovers
  • Cook double and freeze half for another day
  • Supermarkets often have perishable items reduced in price at the end of the day
  • Share special offers/bulk buys with a friend or freeze down for later use.

Financial advice and support accessing food

There is help available to support you:

Turn2Us

Advice and support to help maximise your income and manage your Budget

Credit Unions

These can help you with affordable loans

Citizens Advice

For free and impartial advice on all aspects to support you through difficulty

Benefits

Are you claiming all the allowances due to you?

If you are a carer, you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance and/or an extra amount called the ‘carer element’ within Universal Credit.  This could mean £69.70 a week in Carer’s Allowance if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and you, the person you care for and the type of care you provide meets the criteria

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (for adults under state retirement age) Attendance Allowance (for those over state retirement age) Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (for children under 16, for new claims) are not means-tested. The assessment considers the way that your health conditions affect your daily living and mobility needs.

Benefits and money advice

Turn2Us – Advice and support to help maximise your income and manage your Budget

Organisations and services offering advice on money matters

Organisations who can support you if you are in poverty

National Debt Line – or call 0808 808 4000. Webchat function is also available on their website

If you have concerns about your money situation, your bank will be able to offer advice and support. Do reach out to them to understand what is available to you as a customer.

Benefits are paid by the central government, not your local council.
You can read more about how benefits work on GOV.UK.
If you’re not sure if you’d be able to claim benefits, you can use a benefits calculator to find out.

Benefits advice

There are lots of organisations and services that can support you with benefits advice, including:

You can also find other financial advice services

They can help you with advice about:

  • your legal rights
  • managing your money
  • how to deal with financial problems

Grants

A grant is an amount of money that a government or local authority gives to an individual or an organisation for a particular purpose, such as support for housing costs.

If you are struggling financially, there are grants available that you may be eligible to apply for which can help lessen the burden.

The following support is administered by Suffolk County Council:

Household Support Fund

You can visit our Household Support Fund page to find more information.

The Local Welfare Assistance Scheme

The Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (LWAS) is administered by Suffolk County Council and helps those experiencing financial hardship. There are lots of reasons why you may be in hardship and if you are eligible, LWAS can provide financial help.
The scheme is not intended as emergency support and only one application can be made per household. LWAS is not intended as long-term support. The quickest way to make an application is via the webform, using your smartphone, tablet or computer. If you have all the information required to make an application the webform will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
To make an application and find out whether you are eligible for support, please visit the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme webpage.

Food Support

Find where the nearest food banks are (Please note that some foodbanks only take referrals)

Find a Pop Up or Top Up shop in Suffolk

Healthy Start provides vouchers for pregnant women and families with a child under four years old on a low income to buy basic food items.
Call: 0345 607 6823

BBC £1 Meals
Henry – Healthy meal recipes for families with children under 5.

Advice on how to cut down on your food waste from foodsavvy.org.uk

Love Food Hate Waste is another website giving advice on how to cut down on your food waste

olioex.com – Find anything from local businesses which is nearing its sell-by date, spare home-grown vegetables, breads from your local baker or even groceries from your neighbours

Too Good To Go app – Make sure good food gets eaten, not wasted. Every day, delicious, fresh food goes to waste at cafes, restaurants, hotels, shops and manufacturers – just because it hasn’t sold in time. The Too Good To Go app lets customers buy and collect Magic Bags of this food – at a great price – directly from businesses.

Kitche is a free smart kitchen app that is designed to help you do just that with helpful reminders and recipe ideas based on what you’ve already got, so you’ll never be stuck for meal ideas

Need help to manage your weight?
Get support local to you

If you wish to make a referral into the Feel Good Suffolk service, your Feel Good Suffolk Advisor can support you to access information contained on this website or community assistance local to you.

They can also advise you on the eligibility criteria for more intensive levels of support around managing a healthy weight, stopping smoking and being more active.