Eating well is fundamental to good health and well-being. Healthy eating helps us to maintain a healthy weight and reduces our risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
Why is eating well important?
Healthy eating has many other benefits. When we eat well we sleep better, have more energy and better concentration – and this all adds up to healthier, happier lives! Healthy eating should be an enjoyable social experience. When children and young people eat and drink well they get all the essential nutrients they need for proper growth and development, and develop a good relationship with food and other social skills.
Active people whose eating is well-balanced tend to:
- Have a healthy body weight
- Feel good about themselves
- Have plenty of energy to be active
- Have stronger muscles and bones
- Enjoy better physical and mental health
People who are hungry or poorly nourished (e.g. consume higher intakes of food and drink high in calories, fat, sugar and/or salt often termed ‘junk food’ such as chips, sweets and soft drinks) may:
- Be irritable, moody or aggressive
- Be unable to concentrate and focus on tasks
- Bave less energy for daily activities
- Be uninterested in learning situations and do less well at school
- Be at higher risk of developing conditions such as dental health problems, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, some types of cancer, depression, becoming overweight and obese
What is healthy eating?
Healthy eating isn’t about cutting out foods – it’s about eating a wide variety of foods in the right amounts to give your body what it needs. There are no single foods you must eat or menus you need to follow to eat healthily. You just need to make sure you get the right balance of different foods. Healthy eating for children and young people should always incude a range of interesting and tasty food that can make up a healthy, varied and balanced diet, rather than denying them certain foods and drinks. Although all foods can be included in a healthy diet, this will not be true for people on special/medical diets.