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Why Healthy Eating Matters

Eating well is fundamental to good health and well-being

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Eating well is fundamental to good health and well-being. Healthy eating helps us to maintain a healthy weight and reduces our risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

Why is eating well important?

Healthy eating has many other benefits. When we eat well we sleep better, have more energy and better concentration – and this all adds up to healthier, happier lives! Healthy eating should be an enjoyable social experience. When children and young people eat and drink well they get all the essential nutrients they need for proper growth and development, and develop a good relationship with food and other social skills.  

Active children and young people whose eating is well-balanced tend to:

  • have a healthy body weight

  • feel good about themselves

  • have plenty of energy to be active

  • have stronger muscles and bones

  • enjoy better physical and mental health

Children and young people who are hungry or poorly nourished (e.g. consume higher intakes of food and drink high in calories, fat, sugar and/or salt often termed ‘junk food’ such as chips, sweets and soft drinks) may:

  • be irritable, moody or aggressive

  • be unable to concentrate and focus on tasks

  • bave less energy for daily activities

  • be uninterested in learning situations and do less well at school

  • be at higher risk of developing conditions such as dental health problems, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, some types of cancer,  depression, becoming overweight and obese

What is healthy eating?

Healthy eating isn’t about cutting out foods – it’s about eating a wide variety of foods in the right amounts to give your body what it needs. There are no single foods you must eat or menus you need to follow to eat healthily. You just need to make sure you get the right balance of different foods. Healthy eating for children and young people should always incude a range of interesting and tasty food that can make up a healthy, varied and balanced diet, rather than denying them certain foods and drinks. Although all foods can be included in a healthy diet, this will not be true for people on special/medical diets.  

Advice for children under the age of 5 is slightly different and you can refer to First Steps Nutrition for more information around eating well for early years.

Healthy tips for you and children and young people in your care - a short animated film


More information from the Eating Well category

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Food in Care book cover

Download all the information on this website in one handy PDF.

The ‘Care for Something to Eat’ PDF provides a detailed insight into the needs of CiC, and a comprehensive understanding of practical tools and ideas that carers and other professionals can use in everyday situations when providing child care.

Download [4.2MB] >