5 ways to improve Healthy Eating / Physical Activity


Make being physically active easier

Having an active hobby or part time job will make it easier to keep healthy and physically active. Hobbies such as dance, playing for a sports team or even riding your bike will help you remain active. Get a ‘Fitbit’ and this will help you monitor your activity levels and keep you on track. Not only will you feel good about your goals you will improve your emotional wellbeing at the same time.

Think 'SMART' about your health goals

Making any change to your physical activity levels or diet programme achievable will make it less unlikely you will give up too soon. Keeping your plan SMART means:
  • Specific - make any plan specific to your aim as this will remind you of your goal.
  • Measurable - measure your successes as you make progress to stay motivated.
  • Achievable - keep things fun and pitched at your ability to remain committed.
  • Realistic - keeping your target to something you can do will keep you focused. 
  • Time scales - when you've made a plan follow your steps towards an end goal.

Healthy diet tips:

  • Keep healthy food alternatives at home or in your bag for times when your hungry. This way you will always have the option of avoiding unhealthy foods.
  • Drain syrup from tinned fruit or opt for the varieties containing fruit juice.
  • Remember to eat the perfect plate when serving up your meals.
  • Drink plenty of water aiming for 6-8 glasses per day.
  • Don’t skip breakfast.
  • Eat lots of fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables.
  • Eat more oily fish containing good omega-3 fats.
  • Reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt in your diet.
  • Avoid eating processed pre-packed foods.
  • Understand food labels. Look for the green indicators as these are healthier.

If you're a young person and need help, information advice or support concerning healthy eating and/or physical activity or any other health and wellbeing information help is available from:

THinK - Offer youth services across Knowsley
NHS - Advice and information www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/eight-tips-for-healthy-eating/
Healthy Knowsley - Advice and information www.healthyknowsley.co.uk
Change for Life - Advice and information www.nhs.uk/change4life/about-change4life
Physical activity guideline for children and young people aged 5 -18 years -



Energy in / Energy Out

The key to keeping physically fit and managing body weight is balancing the amount of food consumed and the amount of physical activity you undertake each day. Keeping in mind portion size, food choices and getting the required amount of exercise is important. The daily calorie recommendation for young people aged 13 - 18 years, from a report in 2011, is shown below for both boys and girls.
Age Boys Girls
13 2414 kcal 2223 kcal
14 2629 kcal 2342 kcal
15 2820 kcal 2390 kcal
16 2964 kcal 2414 kcal
17 3083kcal 2462 kcal
18 3155 kcal 2462 kcal

To maintain a basic level of health, children and young people aged 5 to 18 years should take part in at least 1 hour of physical activity every day. This could include playground activities, cycling, running, football, netball, tennis dance or gymnastics. Remember calorie intake is based on the right type of calories being consumed. Sweet, sugary, salty and fatty foods are not the best way to get the calories you need each day. Fuel your body right… your heart and waistline will love you for it.

Water is enough

When rehydrating during exercise water is enough. Avoid drinking fancy isotonic sports drinks or energy drinks that contain lots of sugar and caffeine. They are not required for everyday exercise and avoiding these drinks will prevent damage to your teeth and save you money in the long run. Drinking water and eating a banana are considered enough to keep you hydrated and re-energised. Carry your own water bottle and fill up as you need to. Drinking plenty of water has lots of health benefits and can help you lose weight.

Eat the perfect plate

  1. The ‘perfect plate’ is a way used by nutritionist to educate people about keeping to a balanced diet. When eating your meals your plate should contain the right food group portions. Each portion size should be about a size of a closed fist. This means that you should have one portion of protein including meat, fish or tofu/meat alternative, which make up a ¼ of your plate. Another ¼ of your plate should have a portion of carbohydrates including potato, rice or pasta and ½ your plate should have 2 varied portions of non-starchy colourful vegetables aiming for 5 a day minimum. Devising the perfect plate using this method will help to maintain good health but try to avoid pre-packed processed foods and opt for preparing meals from scratch.

Feeling good = looking good

As already mentioned eating well and getting the right amount of exercise is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The benefits of eating well and getting regular exercise means that this will improve how you look and feel. We know that people who maintain good health through diet and exercise report having more energy, better sleep, a positive mood, improved skin, and overall have a healthy outlook. This can also aid good mental wellbeing having a positive effect on your body image and how you feel about yourself.

fuel the start of your day right by eating breakfast

Eating a good, healthy breakfast is a great way to start your day and has long been considered the most important meal of the day by nutritionists. Eating breakfast, within two hours of waking, has been proven to boost energy levels, improve concentration, increase mood, reduce stress and prevent the cravings to grab an unhealthy sugary or fat dense snack. A bowl of fibre rich cereal, whole wheat toast, eggs in any form, fruit smoothies and/or yogurt are all good options.

Healthy Eating / Physical Activity Myths

here are so many myths and rumours about the effect consuming alcohol can have on you, we're here to dispel these myths and get to the truth!

Check out some of the most common Myths that we hear from young people - and what the actual TRUTH is...

You have to go to the gym to get fit

Actually there are many different ways to work on your fitness that does not have to involve going to the gym. Anything that raises your heart rate will have cardiovascular benefit (good for your heart). Taking the dog for a walk, gardening, helping to clean the house playing sports, walking or riding your bike for fun or to school/college are all regarded as physical activities. All these activities that can be done everyday and all help to improve your overall physical activity level, your health, fitness and wellbeing.

Skipping meals helps with weight control

Skipping meals is not a good idea and could even mean you put on weight in the long run as your body can go into survival mode slowing down your metabolism, making you feel tired whilst cutting out important nutrients. This could cause your body to crave food meaning you may even eat more and possibly gain weight. If you are trying to lose weight then the recommendation is to reduce calorie intake, take regular exercise and maintain a healthy balanced diet (remember to use the perfect plate). 

Thin means you're healthy

The relationship we have with our bodies and the what is widely assumed is that being a healthy weight suggests that you have a healthier body if you are thin than being overweight. However research shows that it is possible to be lean and still be unfit and unhealthy. If you are thin or underweight your risk of illness due to poor diet and being inactive remains the same for someone overweight. Anorexia is another concern. Some people may use low body weight as an excuse for not exercising or eating unhealthily. Not all fat is stored under the skin and can be found deep inside the bodies tissues surrounding the organs. Therefore it is recommended that everyone gets a regular amount of exercise or physical activity and eats a balanced diet following the ‘perfect plate’ example explained in our facts section.

You have to go hard or go home

The phrase ‘no pain no gain’ although used as motivation to encourage the enormous benefits of strenuous exercise also needs to be applied to a well rounded training plan that allows gradual build up of fitness and strength. Taking part in regular physical activity and being active is important as we know. However its is equally important to allow your body to rest and recover following intensive physical exercise. This will enable your body to repair and grow as well as preventing injury from over exercising and understands the importance of including recovery, rest days and good sleeping patterns in order to maximise training goal gains. 

Fresh fruit and vegetables are better than tinned

It is widely believed that eating fresh fruit and vegetables is a healthier option than eating tinned or frozen fruit and veg. However, although generally seen as a more convenient and cheaper alternative canned and frozen fruits and vegetable can sometimes come out on top nutritionally compared to fresh. Research shows that products such as tinned tomatoes and frozen peas are preserved during the harvesting and production process locking in their nutritional values compared to fresh, which may have been picked many days before and sat on shelves waiting to be purchased losing their nutritional value. Produce from field to table is a big factor here and the debate on fresh versus tinned/frozen goes on but what is agreed is that eating lots of fruit and vegetables in any form is good for you no matter how you choose to buy it.