Staff Health and Wellbeing Hub

Healthy diet

Basic guidance for a healthy diet.

Tips for a healthy diet

Eating healthier food prepared in healthier ways can help you to feel healthier and more energetic.

  • Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (see below for portions).
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day - aim for eight to ten glasses (note that caffeinated and alcoholic beverages dehydrate rather than hydrate).
  • Choose water, sugar-free diluting juice, natural fruit juice, semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, herbal or weak teas.
  • Start the day with breakfast - cereal, porridge, fruit, yoghurt, toast are all good options.
  • Incorporate extra vegetables into casseroles, pasta sauces, rice and other dishes.
  • Use reduced fat dressings.
  • Use herbs and spices to flavour foods.
  • Use thick cut chips or potato wedges - these absorb less fat than thin cut chips.
  • Pasta, rice or potatoes should take up no more than one third of your plate.

What is one portion?

One portion of fruit or vegetables is about 80g and fresh, frozen, juiced, canned and dried varieties all count. Below are examples of one portion:

  • One medium sized piece of fruit, for example an apple, orange, or pear.
  • One slice of large fruit, such as melon, mango or pineapple.
  • One handful of grapes or two handfuls of cherries or berry fruits.
  • Two small fruits, for example kiwis, satsumas or plums.
  • One tablespoon of dried fruit.
  • A small tin (roughly 200g) of fruit (opt for fruit in natural juice).
  • A side salad.
  • three tablespoons of vegetables (raw, cooked, frozen or canned), for example frozen or mushy peas, boiled carrots or stir-fried broccoli.
  • Vegetables served in a portion of vegetable curry, lasagne, stir-fry or casserole.
  • One glass of fruit or vegetable juice (you can only juice as 1 portion regardless of how much you drink).

Healthy cooking and food preparation

There are a number of ways to cook healthier meals, these include:

  • Grill, steam, stir-fry or bake foods.
  • Use non-stick pans, where possible.
  • Use fats and oils sparingly.
  • Skin excess fats and oils from the surface of liquids and gravy before serving.
  • Trim excess fat off meats.
  • Trim the skin off poultry before serving.
  • Use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.
  • Use little or no salt (<6g recommended daily).
  • Experiment with herbs, spices, tomato puree and lemon or lime juices.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar used by adding honey, dried or fresh fruit instead.

External Sources of advice