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Date updated: 9/11/2022

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.

A healthy diet can protect the body against certain types of conditions such as such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and skeletal conditions. It can also contribute to a healthy weight.

You can eat healthy food on a budget. Find out more about the NHS 20 tips to eat well for less.

You may be able to get free Healthy Start Digital Card to help you buy milk and fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. You may also be able to get vouchers for vitamins if you are pregnant, have a baby under one year old or children from six months old to their fourth birthday. See below for more information.

Resources available to help you maintain a healthy diet

Apply for a Healthy Start Digital Card for free milk, fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit.

If you are pregnant or have children under the age of four years you could also be eligible for Healthy Start Digital Cards, which can be used to purchase fresh or formula milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables from any shop or supermarket that is registered to take part in the scheme.

Apply on the Healthy Start website or call the National Healthy Start helpline on 0300 330 7010. 

You can access information about the Healthy Start Digital Cards in easy to read formats on the NHS website.

Free access to computers, wifi, scanning and low cost printing/photocopying at our lending libraries

If you or someone you know needs access to a computer to make a claim, our lending libraries offer free access to computers, wifi, scanning and low cost printing/photocopying to make sure everyone has equal access to the support that is available to them. They can also offer basic IT skills support and can help you fill in forms.

You don't have to be a member (though we encourage you to sign up) and you can just turn up on the day to use the services.

Visit the wifi, computers and printing page for more information.

Vitamins are essential nutrients that your body needs in small amounts in order to work properly.

Even though you can get sufficient vitamins from a healthy, balanced diet, you still might not get everything you need at certain times in your life, such as when you're pregnant, a new mum or a small child. This is why UK health departments recommend that at these times you should take a supplement containing specific vitamins to make sure you get everything you need.

Pregnant women, women with a baby under one year old and children up to their fourth birthdaywill receive Healthy Start Vitamins if they are registered with a GP in the City of London or Hackney. You can pick up vitamins in the Square Mile at Aldgate CC, Boots Fenchurch St or Chauhans Chemist. You can also look on the NHS website to find out where you can pick up your Healthy Start vitamins.

For further information, visit the Henry website, email the Henry service, or call 075 1910 9876.

What you eat, and how much, is so important for your health. Try these easy ways to eat better every day by exploring tasty recipes that you can cook.

The Better Health website includes the NHS 12 Week Weight Loss Plan, BMI calculator, Easy Meals suggestions and tips on how to eat healthily on a budget for those concerned about how to make lifestyle changes more manageable.

Download the free NHS weight loss plan to help you start healthier eating habits, be more active, and start losing weight.

The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. You don't need to achieve this balance with every meal but try to get the balance right over a day or even a week.

Change4Life is a free resource to help you make healthier life choices.

Many adults and children get a significant amount of their sugar intake from soft drinks and unhealthy snacks, like cakes, biscuits and even everyday foods such as breakfast cereals and yoghurts. Too much sugar can lead to the build-up of harmful fat inside the body, which we can't see. This fat around vital organs can cause weight gain and serious diseases, like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Having too much sugar can also cause tooth decay. The maximum daily amounts of added sugar are:

  • 4 - 6 year-olds: 19g (5 sugar cubes)
  • 7 - 10 year-olds: 24g (6 sugar cubes)
  • 11+ year-olds: 30g (7 sugar cubes)

Added sugar is sugar that has been added to food or drink to sweeten it, whether by a manufacturer, a chef, or by you at home. Added sugar also includes honey, syrups and fruit juice nectars. Even though they count towards your 5 A DAY, fruit juice and smoothies are sugary and should be limited to no more than 150ml a day. The sugar in whole fruits and vegetables and plain yoghurts and milk is not added sugar. Plus they contain vitamins and minerals and can be a great source of fibre.

The NHS's Change4Life website has some great advice on how to lower sugar intake, including sugar swaps, suggestions for snacks that are lower in sugar and using the Food Scanner App when out and about to help you identify the amount of sugar in your favourite foods and drinks.

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