Eating well and being active affects how we feel now and in the future. It's all about balance…

If you eat a well balanced diet you are more likely to get all the nutrients that your body needs to function properly. Some of these nutrients can even help to make you feel less irritable, tired and sad.

Top tips for eating well

Grab your 5-a-day

Fruit and veg are packed full of vitamins and minerals, full of fibre, low in fat and great for your immune system. What’s not to like! Plus, fruit and veg don’t always have to be fresh to count. Tinned and frozen fruit and veg count too.

Eat breakfast!

You are more likely to stay a healthy weight if you eat a healthy breakfast every day. Grab a banana or a slice of wholemeal toast and some fruit juice. It will give you the energy you need to start your day.

Try to have carbohydrates with every meal

Carbs are the starchy foods that give us the energy we need in the day, plus they’re really low in fat. Pasta, rice, wholemeal bread, pitta, wraps, pancakes, there are tonnes to choose from!

Though remember…although carbs themselves are not fatty it’s what you put in them or on them that can make them less healthy.

Don’t forget protein and dairy

High in calcium which helps keep your bones and teeth healthy, try to have 3 lower fat options of milk, cheese and yoghurt every day.

Protein found in meat, fish and eggs helps your body to grow and repair, so you need a couple of portions every day. If you’re a vegetarian you can get your protein from beans, pulses and vegetarian products such as soya and quorn.

Cut back on sugar and fat

Although they give you energy they’re more likely to make you put on weight. Fat and sugar can creep into your diet surprisingly quickly so try to plan when you’re going to have them.

Drink lots!

Drinking 6-8 drinks per day will keep your body hydrated (to add moisture). Try and drink mostly water or milk to avoid too much sugar.

NHS healthy start

Anyone who is pregnant or is a family with children under 4 (and is in receipt of qualifying benefits) may be entitled to get help to buy some basic foods and milk. This may include free Healthy Start vitamins for women and children.

If you are entitled to Healthy Start, you can get help to buy:

  • plain, fresh, frozen, or tinned fruit and vegetables
  • plain cow’s milk
  • infant formula
  • fresh or tinned pulses

How do I qualify for the scheme?

To qualify for the scheme, you must be at least 10 weeks pregnant or have at least one child under 4 years old.

In addition, you must be receiving any of the following:

  • Child Tax Credit (only if the family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
  • Universal Credit (only if the family’s take-home pay is £408 or less per month from employment)

You may also be eligible for NHS Healthy Start if:

  • you’re under 18 and pregnant, even if you are not claiming any benefits
  • you claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are over 10 weeks pregnant
  • you or your partner get Working Tax Credit run-on only (Working Tax Credit run-on is the Working Tax Credit you receive in the 4 weeks immediately after you have stopped working for 16 hours or more per week)

How do I apply?

NHS Healthy Start is going digital, introducing a prepaid card to be used for purchasing healthy food and milk, replacing paper vouchers.

New and existing applicants to the scheme are required to apply online, but if you cannot apply online, you may apply over the telephone by contacting the NHS Healthy Start helpline on 0300 330 7010.