Eating well is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. It can be simple too. Check our our healthy eating guidance for adults below.
Physical activity is important for all ages as it can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers by up to 50%. Physical activity also promotes musculoskeletal health and mental health and well-being, however physical activity levels in England are low in virtually all of the adult population. Find our the current guidance for physical activity below.
Healthy Weight Adults
Healthy weight adults is our 12-week weight management programme for people aged 18 years and over and are above a healthy weight.
If you are at risk of, or are already living with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other weight related issues, this programme is particularly suitable for you.
Over the 12 weeks, you will:
- Learn about nutrition, eating a balanced and healthy diet and look at suitable portion sizes
- Understand how to read different food labels and the importance of making healthier food choices
- Look at the different body types and how foods and physical activity affects our bodies
- Look at ways to get more active and learn why it is important for your health
- Have the opportunity to take part in gentle exercises, adapted to suit you and your needs
- Take part in some practical cooking to increase cooking skills, inspire you to cook quick and healthy meals from scratch and look at ways to cook on a budget
It is important that any pre-existing medical conditions are stable, so we ask that you get GP clearance to take part in any exercise, which will be pre-planned and appropriate for your needs.
How do I join a healthy weight adults programme?
Check out our join in page to see when we are next in your town. Booking is essential, please register your interest by filling out our online enquiry form, or give us a call for more information - we’d love to hear from you!
Healthy eating for adults
Eating well is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.
It can be simple too. The Eatwell Guide shows the different types of food we should eat – and in what proportions – to have a healthy, balanced diet. You don't need to achieve this balance with every meal but try to get the balance right over a day or even a week.
- Over a third of your diet should be made up of fruit and vegetables
- Over a third of your diet should be made up of starchy carbohydartes
- Some dairy or dairy alternatives
- Some beans, pulses, fish, eggs and meat
- Small amount of unsaturated fats and oils
The 8 Top Tips for Eating Well
The Food Standards Agency have put together these practical tips to cover the basics of healthy eating, and can help you make healthier choices:
Start by choosing one of the tips that you feel would benefit you the most and that you would like to focus on. Then think of ways you could begin putting this into your daily life. For example, in order to eat more fruit and vegetables, you might start spending just a few minutes boiling or steaming frozen vegetables, to go with evening meals. You could get the whole family involved by replacing chocolate or crisps in the kids lunch boxes with a peice of fruit.
1. Base your meals on starchy foods
Examples: potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice, cous cous and bread.
Benefits: Provide essential energy for you to get through the day. Also, choosing wholegrain varieties, which contain more fibre, can make you feel full for longer and help keep your bowels healthy.
How much should I have: Starchy foods should make up around one third of the foods you eat. Try to include one starchy food with each meal.
Interesting fact: Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram carbohydrates contain less than half the calories of fat.
2. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
Examples: Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for some fresh or dried fruit?
Benefits: Fruit and vegetables contain lots of vitamins and minerals and are low in fat and high in fibre.
How much should I have: It's recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day. One portion of fruit and veg is 80g (roughly a handful)or 150ml of fruit juice.
Interesting fact: Choose from fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juice. Remember that potatoes do not count towards your 5 a day.
3. Eat more fish
Examples: sardines on wholemeal toast for lunch. Baked salmon and salad for an evening meal.
How much should I have: Aim for at least two portions a week (140g per portion), including at least one portion of oily fish.
Benefits: Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease.
Interesting Fact: Canned and smoked fish can be high in salt. Oily fish including salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards. Non-oily fish include haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tinned tuna, skate and hake. Anyone who regularly eats a lot of fish should try to choose as wide a variety as possible.
Women who might have a baby one day should eat no more than two portions of oily fish per week, other adults should eat no more than four portions per week.
4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
Examples: Try to cut down on cakes, pies, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard and hard cheese , and choose foods that contain unsaturated rather than saturated fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados
Disadvantage: Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.
How much should I eat: We all need some fat in our diet. But it's important to pay attention to the type of fat we're eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated.
Interesting fact: Most people in the UK eat too much sugar. Sugary foods and drinks are often high in calories, and could contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals. Cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on rather than sugars that are found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk.
5. Eat less salt
Examples: Don't add salt to food when cooking or at the table. Cook from scratch rather than using prepacked foods. Opt for cereals with no salt.
Disadvantage: Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Use food labels to help you cut down.
How much should I have: Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day. Younger children should have even less.
Interesting Fact:Even if you don't add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces.
6. Get active and be a healthy weight
Example: Try getting off the bus one stop early on the way home from work, and walking. Walk the children to school or part way to school rather than driving to the school gate.
Benefits: Physical activity can help you to maintain a healthy weight which is an important part of overall good health. Being overweight can lead to health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. Being underweight could also affect your health.
How much should I have: Adults should be looking to achieve 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five times per week. Children should achieve 1 hour every day.
Intersting fact: Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You'll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Regular physical activity can even help prevent depression.
7. Drink plenty of water
Example: Try to carry a water bottle with you or have a glass of water on your desk to provide easy access to drinks through the day. Have a glass of juice for breakfast.
Benefits: Can help with concentration levels, keeps the body hydrated, can increase energy levels and help to reduce over eating.
How much should I have:
Try to drink about six to eight glasses of water (or other fluids) a day to prevent dehydration. When the weather is warm or when we get active, we may need more. But avoid soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars.
Interesting fact: When thinking about alcohol, there is nothing wrong with the occasional drink, but drinking too much can cause serious health problems. Alcohol is also high in calories, so cutting down could help you to control your weight.
8. Don't skip breakfast
Example: Wholemeal cereal, with fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and nutritious breakfast.
Benefits: A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health.
How much should I have: Try to have breakfast every day.
Interesting fact: Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight.
Healthy eating older adults
Whatever your age it is still important to get the right the balance of a variety of foods. Check out the Eatwell Guide for some information on how to get the balance right.
As you get older try to;
Eat plenty of foods containing starch and fibre
Eating foods containing fibre can help prevent constipation, which can become more of a problem as we get older and also help with any other digestive problems. Fibre-rich foods include wholegrain or brown types of starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta and breakfast cereals. Other good sources of fibre are potatoes, oats, beans, peas, lentils, fruit and vegetables.
Eat calcium rich foods
Osteoporosis is a major health issue for older people, particularly women. It happens when your bone density decreases, which raises your risk of fractures. It's important to have calcium in your diet to keep your bones healthy.
Eating calcium-rich foods can help you avoid osteoporosis. Good sources include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Choose lower-fat varieties when you can or eat higher-fat varieties in smaller amounts.
Calcium is also found in canned fish with bones such as sardines, green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage (but not spinach), soya beans and tofu.
Watch out for a lack of appetite
As we age, it’s natural to eat less or be less interested in food. This is partly because we’re not as active as we used to be, and also because we lose some muscle so our bodies burn fewer calories.
However, it’s important to get all the energy and nutrients that your body needs.
If you don’t eat as much as you used to, eat smaller meals more often and supplement them with nutritious snacks, such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrain toast.
You may eat less because you find it more difficult to buy or prepare food, or because you find it harder to get around if you have a condition such as arthritis.
Eat regularly, at least three times a day. If you don't feel like cooking from scratch, have a tinned, chilled or frozen ready-prepared meal instead. It's a good idea to have a store of foods in the freezer and cupboard in case you cannot go out.
For more information have a look at the NHS choices website
Physical activity adults
- Adults should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more – one way to approach this is to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.
- Alternatively, comparable benefits can be achieved through 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity spread across the week or a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity activity.
- Adults should also undertake physical activity to improve muscle strength on at least two days a week.
- All adults should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods.
Physical activity older adults
- Older adults (65 + years)
- Older adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits, including maintenance of good physical health and co-ordination skills. Some physical activity is better than none, and more physical activity provides greater health benefits.
- Older adults should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more – one way to approach this is to do 30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.
- For those who are already regularly active at moderate intensity, comparable benefits can be achieved through 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity spread across the week or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
- Older adults should also undertake physical activity to improve muscle strength on at least two days a week.
- Older adults at risk of falls should incorporate physical activity to improve balance and co-ordination on at least two days a week.
- All older adults should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods.
One way to do this would be to do:
30 minutes on at least 5 days a week.
Moderate intensity physical activities include:
- Brisk walking
- Ballroom dancing
Older adults should also undertake physical activity to improve muscle strength on at least two days a week. These exercises should involve using all major muscle groups. Examples include:
- Carrying heavy loads such as groceries
- Activities that involve stepping or jumping, such as dancing
- Chair exercises
Balance and co-ordination
Older adults at risk of falling should incorperate physical activity to improve balance and co-ordination on at least two days a week. Example include:
- Tai Chi
Benefits of being physically active daily include:
- Maintaining cognitive function
- Reducing risk of cardiovascular disease
- Maintaining ability to carry out every day activities
- Improves mood and self-esteem
- Reduces risk of falls. 1
1.(Department of Health.,2011.,Physical activity guidelines for older adults (65+).)