Food and Drink
To stop dehydration, we need to drink enough liquid - about 6 glassess a day (1.2 litres). Find out how much at NHS Choices.
For most of us the phrase ‘healthy eating’ brings to mind advice to:
eat ‘5 a day’,
cut down on fatty and sugary foods,
stick to safe alcohol limits
keep weight under control.
This has been the expert consensus for at least two decades! The advice applies to young and middle aged adults. It is especially relevant to people with mental health problems, who are known to have poor diets. Healthy eating aims to help prevent early death from cancers, heart disease and stroke, which are more common in people with schizophrenia and other mental illness. It can also help prevent or manage obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, osteoporosis, anaemia, dental disease constipation and haemorrhoids (or piles). The links below give lots more detail about healthy eating.
If you decide to change your diet then make sure you give yourself a chance to succeed. Set yourself small targets that are realistic for you. When the first change has become part of your routine, set yourself another one! Changing eating habits can be very hard so try to be patient. And remember, no one has to be perfect. If you have a bad day you can always start again tomorrow!
Healthy eating for children may not be the same as it is for adults. Very small children need more energy (calories) so that they can grow. They should not have skimmed milk and very high fibre foods as this can mean they do not get enough calories or other nutrients. They may also need to eat some snacks because they may not be able to eat full meals. Teenagers too may need to have extras because they are growing very fast.
Remember though that food needs to be balanced with activity. Children need to run around and play to stay fit and healthy. Those who spend lots of time sitting down need fewer calories, especially from very concentrated foods such as soft drinks, sweets, chocolates, cakes and biscuits.
If you are not sure about what children should be eating then a health visitor or school nurse will be able to help.
Healthy eating for older people may not be the same for younger adults, especially if an older person already has an illness. It is often more important to concentrate on food quality rather than quantity. Being overweight may be less of a risk for older people. Some research has found that weight loss is more of a risk than being a bit overweight. But it is important to check that mobility, breathing and blood pressure are not made worse by being overweight.
Older people may find it difficult to eat enough at just 3 meals a day so may need to eat snacks in between.
Click here for NHS Choices - Ten ways to boost your heath
Healthy Lifestyle Services for Derby City residents - Live Well Derby