Eating the right foods in the right amounts helps to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of serious health problems, maintain strong bones and muscles, improve resistance to infection and keep up energy levels and improve mood.
It's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet which should include:
- Fruit and vegetables - eat a variety of fruit and veg aiming for 5 portions a day.
- Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods - choose wholegrain varieties if you can.
- Some milk and dairy foods.
- Some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein - try to eat at least two portions of fish a week, including a portion of oily fish.
- A small amount of foods and drinks that are high in fat or sugar.
- Don't get thirsty - aim to drink about 1.2 litres (or two and a half pints) of fluid every day to stop you getting dehydrated. This is about six 200ml or eight 150ml glasses, cups or mugs. When the weather is warm or when you are active, you'll probably need more than this.
For a healthy pregnancy you don’t need to go on a special diet, but it’s important to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need.
NHS Choices also has information on healthy eating, foods to avoid and drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
- For lunch box ideas, food tips and labelling advice visit the Change 4 life website and for tips for fussy eaters.
- As children grow older it is important to keep a daily balanced diet.
- At around six months old babies are often introduced to their first solid foods. Visit the start4life website for information on first foods.