Eating a nutritious, balanced diet is important to everyone's physical health and can help you to feel your best as well. This section can help you find out what foods can help you feel well and what support is available in Leeds if you want to manage healthy eating.
What you will learn in this section:
What is a balanced diet and why is it good for me?
Lots of people use the word 'diet' when they talk about trying to lose weight. The word diet actually just means the food or drink a person usually eats or drinks.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet means choosing a variety of nutritious foods from different food groups. It also means eating the right amount of these foods to balance the energy we use each day. If we eat food giving us the same amount of energy as we use, we should be able to maintain a healthy body weight.
Eating a balanced diet is important because your body needs a range of vitamins and minerals to work properly. The Eatwell Guide helps us understand:
- What the different food groups are.
- Which foods are included in each group.
- How much of each group is healthy for us to eat.
You can explore the Eatwell Guide and find out more about the different food groups on the NHS Choices website.
If you want more information or support to eat well, One You Leeds offers sessions to people in Leeds.
How does food affect my mood?
You might already know that eating lots of sugary or fatty food, such as sweets, chocolate, takeaways and crisps, doesn't make your body feel good.
Foods like these don't have the right nutrients that our bodies need to work properly. If you don't eat enough nutrient rich foods, your body may lack the vital vitamins and minerals that are needed to maintain your energy levels and brain function.
Eating a diet low in nutrients - or not eating regularly - can make your blood sugars drop. This can make you feel tired and irritable and can cause mood swings, low mood and, in some cases, confusion.
You can find out more about managing mood and food on the Mind website. There is a video which is helpful and simple to follow and a leaflet which is free to download.
The Association of UK Dietitians has information about about food and mood, with lots of information about how different foods can affect how we feel. You can also download the information as a free factsheet.
How can I make changes to how I eat?
If you want to make changes to your diet but don't know where to start, you might find keeping a food diary helpful. You can download our Food Diary worksheet to write down what you're eating and when, and how it makes you feel.
You can use the information on your food diary to look at the areas you want to change. You could then use our Positive Change Plan to help you make changes to your eating. It helps you set goals, create ideas to achieve your goals, plan the steps you want to take and review how you're doing.Positive Change Plan to complete or print
Example Positive Change Plan
One You Leeds offers services to anyone in Leeds who is interested in managing their weight, eating well or learning skills to help them cook more healthily. Their Cook Well courses are offered with Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food and are hands-on, practical, fun and friendly.
You can also book cookery courses by visiting Leeds Cookery School.
If you're concerned about eating well on a budget, you can download a recipe book created by Zest Leeds called Cooking on a Shoestring. Zest Leeds runs Leeds Cookery School and Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food in Leeds market.
Shop to Get Fitter are monthly healthy eating shopping tours at Kirkgate market. Tours are run by Leeds Community Dietitians and can help you to make healthier shopping choices, understand food labelling and support you to make lifestyle changes. The tours can help anyone with heart disease, diabetes, stroke or a family history of these long-term conditions. They can also help people who worry about their diet or weight. You can find out more by emailing email@example.com or by calling 0113 843 0890 (Monday-Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm). You will be asked for your name, address, contact number and GP.
Feel Good Factor is a charity based in Chapeltown which provides a range of community health and wellbeing activities for people living in Chapeltown and Harehills, including healthy eating activities.
East Leeds Health for All Project is a Healthy Living Service in the heart of Burmantofts in Lincoln Green.
Better Together is a healthy communities, healthy lives project across inner South Leeds which includes a healthy eating luncheon club and exercise, wellbeing and weigh-in group. Look for a What's On Guide on the website to find out current activities and who to contact.
Try Club is run by Leeds Rhinos Foundation for men aged 18 and over who want to eat better, do more exercise and lose weight. The 12-week course is free, but you must have a Body Mass Index of 25 or over. See their website for how to refer yourself or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to express an interest.
FIT LEEDS is a free health and fitness programme run by the Leeds United Foundation for men aged from 35 to 65. It will support those who are currently inactive and would benefit from becoming more active but are struggling due to a number of different reasons. It includes support around weight management and making lifestyle changes. The course is new in January 2020 and will run for 12 weeks with two-hour sessions each week. You can find out more on Leeds United's website and find out about being referred by contacting Gary by emailing Gary.Waddington@leedsunited.com or calling 0113 367 6598.
Tools and apps
There's a variety of online advice and guidance that you could access to help you eat healthily.
One You Leeds has information and support for helping you manage your weight, eat well or cook well. You can contact the service via the website One You Leeds or call them on 0800 169 4219 to make an appointment. Deaf people can ask One You Leeds to provide a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter for free - contact them for more information.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists has information about eating and mental health.
NHS Choices also has information about healthy eating during pregnancy.