Healthy eating

It is Healthy Eating Week in the UK! And, okay, we’ve all heard the advice before: eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, drink six to eight glasses of water, consume less sugar. But why is healthy eating so important?

A balanced diet plays an essential role in maintaining overall good health. Overeating can lead to conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, while obesity has been linked to a higher risk of cancer.

Undereating or cutting out major food groups can also seriously affect your health. The human body needs protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals to function properly — so, whether you are vegan, gluten-free or lactose intolerant, it is still important to make sure you are getting enough of each of of these nutrients.

But healthy eating is not just about the physical benefits. Despite myths about “comfort food” and the urge to fill up on sugar, scientists have found that eating well actually makes us happier. A balanced diet and regular exercise are two of the best ways to improve our mental health.

This week, why not set yourself a healthy lifestyle challenge and see whether it helps to improve your mood?

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Assembly

Learn how the food that you eat affects your brain in this animated video.

Activities

  1. As a class, take it in turns to share various pieces of advice you have been given about food. These could come from school, family, friends, social media or elsewhere. Then, research which ones are true, and which are untrue or exaggerated.
  2. Make a poster or video which gives advice about healthy eating to young children.
  3. Choose one aspect of your diet that you would like to be healthier. Try and stick to it for this week and keep a diary of your progress. On Friday, share your experiences with the rest of the class. Was it easy or hard? Did it affect your mood? Do you think you will keep it up?