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Health & Wellbeing

Health & Wellbeing

Good eating habits are one of the keystones of health and wellbeing. If you are eating a well-balanced diet that is right for your age and lifestyle you are more likely to avoid problems with your health.  CityCare runs a number of projects in Nottingham City to help people learn how a healthy diet can benefit them and their family.

A healthy diet

When it comes to a healthy diet, balance is the key to getting it right. The Eatwell Plate highlights the different types of food that make up our diet, and shows how much you should eat from each food group to have a well-balanced and healthy diet.

The Eatwell Plate

The Eatwell Plate

(Department of Health in association with the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government and the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland ©Crown copyright)

Fruit and vegetables

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables - try and aim for at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day.

Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods

Include some starchy carbohydrate at each meal as this is a good source of energy but watch your portion size if you are trying to lose weight. Choose wholegrain varieties whenever possible as these contain more fibre and will help you to feel full for longer.

Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein

These foods are all good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals. Try to eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible and use healthier cooking methods, such as grilling or poaching instead of frying, to cut down on fat. Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can help to keep your heart healthy. Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish. Eggs and pulses (including beans, nuts and seeds) are also great sources of protein.

Milk and dairy foods

Dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are good sources of protein and also calcium which helps to keep bones healthy.  To keep the fat content down, choose semi-skimmed, 1% or skimmed milk and low fat yogurt.

Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar

These foods tend to be high in calories and some are high in saturated fat and salt which can be bad for your heart. Think about your portion size and watch how often you eat or drink these foods during the day.

The Eatwell Plate doesn’t apply to children under the age of two because they have different nutritional needs. Between the ages of two and five, children should gradually move to eating the same foods as the rest of the family, in the proportions shown on the Eatwell Plate.

Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for strong, healthy bones and teeth and to help control the amount of calcium in our blood.  It may also benefit our immune system and heart.

We get Vitamin D from the action of sunlight on exposed skin but because we need to cover up, use sun cream or simply don’t get enough sun, particularly during the winter, we have to get Vitamin D in other ways. Although a few foods contain Vitamin D, for example oily fish, margarine, eggs and some breakfast cereals, we can only get a small amount of the Vitamin D we need from food.

People who may need to take Vitamin D supplements to make sure they get enough include: pregnant and breastfeeding women; babies and young children under five; people aged 65 and over; people with low or no exposure to the sun; people with darker skin, for example, people of African, African Caribbean and South Asian Origin because their bodies are not able to make as much Vitamin D.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and are registered with a city GP, ask your midwife or health visitor for Healthy Start Vitamins for Women. They are free of charge and you will be given a form to get further supplies.

If you have a child under four and are registered with a city GP, ask your health visitor or doctor for Healthy Start Vitamin Drops for Children. After the first dose, you can get these drops by taking your Parent Held Record (red book) to your GP, health centre or children’s centre.

Click to find Health Centres who Distribute Vitamin D and Children’s Centres who distribute Healthy Start Vitamins

Cook and eat groups - Eatwell for Life

Eatwell for Life is a free cook and eat course that can help you transform your diet. At Eatwell for Life you’ll get shopping and budgeting tips and find out how homemade meals can be quick, tastier, cheaper and healthier than takeaways and processed foods.

If you have health issues such as diabetes, heart problems, weight concerns or high blood pressure, coming to Eatwell for Life will show you how to make simple changes to cooking, shopping and eating that can benefit the health of your whole family.

Here are some comments from people who have attended the course….

“Before I was able to cook little bits but now I have the confidence to try cooking meals from scratch. I’ve changed what my children eat – more homemade foods and vegetables and less chips and deep-fried food”.

“I could cook before but I’ve learned what’s in foods, such as how much salt is in ready meals, how simple it is to make something healthy in a short time. It’s been great to meet everyone, cook new things together and share ideas”.

Eatwell for Life is free if you live in the city. Courses are held in various community venues and run for six weeks (two hours a week). To find out about a group near to you, call 0115 883 4291 or email nutrition@nottinghamcitycare.nhs.uk

Tiny Cooks Course - for parents, carers and 3-4 year olds

Do you want to have a go at cooking with your little ones? We’ll provide the ingredients and you’ll have fun helping your child to cook and taste new foods with the help of our friendly staff.

It’s great for fussy eaters, for getting new ideas, making friends and it’s free.

Tiny Cooks courses run over an hour a week for six weeks. For further details, give us a call on 0115 883 4291 or ask at your local Sure Start.