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Healthy Eating

Eating healthily doesn’t have to be complicated or boring! In fact, it’s about making sure you have plenty of variety, so you get all the nutrients you need and maintain a healthy weight.

It’s about not eating too much of some things – like saturated fat, sugar and salt – while getting enough of others – like fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Fruit and vegetables

Research shows that people who eat plenty of fruit and vegetables are less likely to develop heart disease and certain cancers.

They can be fresh, frozen, dried, canned or juiced and should make up about a third of our diet. Many of us don’t eat enough fruit and veg, and it can be hard to know how much a ‘portion’ actually is. Here are a few simple suggestions, which count as one portion each:

Breakfast – a glass of juice or a heaped tablespoon of dried fruit or a banana with your cereal.

Snacks – an apple or a pear.

Lunch – a side salad or three heaped tablespoons of baked beans.

Dinner – three heaped tablespoons of vegetables like peas or carrots or sweetcorn.

You should try to eat at least 5 portions of different coloured fruit and vegetables a day and each one must be different. A glass of fruit juice or a smoothie only counts as one portion.


Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and nuts

These foods all contain protein, which helps to build and repair your body.
You don’t need to eat meat or fish every day – try cheese, well-cooked eggs, beans, lentils or tofu instead.

Try to eat fish twice a week – one portion (140g) of white fish such as haddock or cod, and one portion of oily fish such as salmon or sardines. Oily fish are rich in vitamin D and a type of fat that helps to prevent heart disease. Avoid frying meat or fish.


Breads, other cereals and potatoes

You should base your meals around starchy carbohydrates (bread, breakfast cereal, potatoes, yams, rice or pasta). These foods give you energy.

Wholegrain foods such as brown rice or wholegrain bread or pasta contain B vitamins, minerals and fibre that are good for you and help prevent constipation.

Why not try:

Breakfast – wholegrain cereal or porridge or wholemeal toast with cut up banana or dried fruit.

Lunch – a sandwich or brown rice or pasta salad

Dinner – stews, casseroles or curries with potatoes or couscous or pasta or rice


Milk and dairy foods

These are calcium-rich foods, which help to keep bones and teeth strong. Try to choose lower-fat versions, such as semi-skimmed milk, half-fat cheese and low-fat paneer where you can.

Did you know: A 200ml glass of whole milk contains 8g fat whereas a glass of semi-skimmed has 3.5g?

Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

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