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When planning meals it is vital that the food we eat contains the correct nutrients and they need to be balanced so that the body has enough fuel to perform correctly, fight infections and repair itself.

Before we start we need to understand three definitions. Food is an item that can be a solid or a liquid that supplies energy and material. Food is the product that we serve to eat.

Nutrition is when we look at the nutritional content of food to ensure that it contains the right nutrients for growth, repair and functioning of the body. The nutrition in food will vary in how it can be used depending on the person that consumes it as although we are basically the same, peoples individual needs are different and some people are not able to eat certain foods or they may need special nutrients to have a healthy life.

Diet means that food and drinks that we consume and looks at the volume and balance.

In order to have a healthy diet, you need to enjoy the food that you eat and to do this its best to have a variety of foods in the right volume. If we eat too much we can put weight on and increase the risks of health issues and if we eat too little, you can lose weight and have other health risks.

A healthy diet includes a variety of fruit and vegetables, a rich diet of starch and fibre but not too much fat and sugars.

Other things that can improve a healthy diet are to avoid sugary drinks and to reduce alcohol to sensible levels. 

The Food Safety Agency (FSA) has a model for a healthy diet. This is called the “Eat Well Plate” and you can find more information on the FSA website, which we have put a link on the resources section of this course. This model is used to promote a healthy balanced diet and the segments are:

  • Fruit and Vegetables
  • Bread, cereals and potatoes
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Meat, fish and alternatives
  • Foods containing fat and some foods containing sugar.

Just as important as the contents of the food is the times that we eat. Eating not much during the day than a large meal just before bed is not ideal. Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day and you should stay well hydrated, ideally with water, throughout the day so your body can use the food it consumes.

What we will do on other videos is to look in more detail the nutritional value of the foods we eat and what the effects of poor and good nutrition are.