Food is essential for our health and development. It’s not unusual to experiment with different eating habits, for example you may have decided to become a vegetarian or tried changing your diet to improve your health. However, some eating patterns can be damaging.  

Eating healthily doesn't have to mean giving up your favourite foods. It simply means eating a variety of foods and cutting down on food and drinks high in fat and sugar, such as sugary fizzy drinks, crisps, cakes and chocolate. These foods should be eaten less often and in smaller amounts.

A healthy, balanced diet is the way to go. Dieting, skipping breakfast or starving yourself doesn’t work.

Here are some tips to help you eat more healthily:

Don't skip breakfast

Skipping meals won't help you lose weight and it’s not good for you. Having breakfast will help you get some of the vitamins and minerals you need for good health. A bowl of cereal, breakfast bar or fruit and yoghurt will give you the energy to get going in the morning.

Get your 5 a Day

Fruit and vegetables are good sources of many of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. Wolfing down five bananas won’t do the trick, though – it has to be a variety of fruit and veg. It can be as simple as a banana or apple, or the tomatoes in a pasta sauce, or a 30g portion of dried fruit. 

Eat healthier snacks

Cut down on food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt, such as sweets, chocolate bars, cakes, biscuits, sugary fizzy drinks and crisps, which are high in calories (energy). Consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain and becoming overweight. 

Drink water

Aim to drink six to eight glasses of fluids a day – water and lower-fat milk are healthy choices. 

Feeling tired? 

If you often feel run down, you may be low on iron. Teenage girls are especially at risk because they lose iron during their period. Try to get your iron from a variety of foods. Some good sources are red meat, breakfast cereals fortified with iron, and bread. 

Avoid fad diets

Diets that promise quick weight loss are often not nutritionally balanced, meaning you could miss out on important vitamins and minerals. They also tend to focus on short-term results, so you end up putting the weight back on.