A large single oak tree casting a dark shadow

What is a healthy approach to food and eating?

 Having a balanced diet involves eating regularly, from a range of foods and providing the adequate number of calories to meet your energy needs.  This keeps your metabolism balanced, your body healthy and will result in a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI). A healthy BMI is considered to be between 20 and 25. A BMI of under 20 is considered underweight. You should aim to keep your BMI between 20 and 25 for good health.  If you want to work out your BMI please click here.

A healthy approach to eating should result in a positive relationship with food, where you can enjoy eating a variety of foods in the company of others. This includes:

1. Eating Regularly: It is important to eat three balanced meals a day and two snacks. This provides you with the energy you need to keep active

2. Eating a range of foods:  No single food contains all the nutrients needed for health, so try to eat a wide variety of foods each day.  By choosing a variety of foods from ALL the five food groups most people get all the nutrients their body needs:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods
  • Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
  • Milk and dairy foods
  • Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar

Using vitamin and mineral supplements is not a replacement for a balanced diet.  Eliminating food groups from your diet is not good for your health and depletes the body of essential nutrients required for good health.

(For more detailed information on eating a healthy balanced diet click here to  download ‘Getting the balance right’ )

3. Consuming the appropriate amount of calories: Food energy is measured in calories (Kcal).Calories are broken down for energy use in the body by a process called metabolism. Calories are essentially used as fuel for your body, not only to keep you on the move but to provide the energy required for basic bodily functions such as breathing, and keeping your heart pumping.  Metabolism can be affected by changes in food intake, frequency of eating or physical activity.  On average a fully developed adult male requires 2500 kcal per day and a woman requires 2000 kcal.

External resources

Self-help documents

Related sections