Few, if any people will have complete physical, mental and social wellbeing all the time. Trevor Smith, senior member of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, joins us every week to talk about health and wellbeing

I hope you have all had a great week despite the traditional British summer weather. We have spent the last few weeks discussing ways in which we can maintain a healthy body and mind. We have looked at physical activity, and the variety of ways we can boost our immune system.

Last week, we touched upon nutrition, I briefly introduced the two biggest food groups, fruit and vegetables and starchy carbohydrates which should make up about half of your daily diet.

In addition, there are three other food groups which, whilst they should be eaten in smaller amounts are equally as important to ensure healthy bodily functions and a balanced diet. Balanced does not mean equal measures, it means something of everything in the correct proportions. As we are all different, we do not all have the same energy intake requirements. This might vary because of several factors such as age, gender, physical activity level and health status. Therefore, it is not true to say that there is a ‘one size fits all’ weight loss program or calorie intake. However, there are some recommended daily guidelines based on the average person which are a good starting point. The average healthy woman between the age of 19 and 50 requires roughly 2000 calories per day for their body to function well. The average healthy male between the age of 19 and 59 requires around 2500 calories per day.

The Northern Echo:

Plenty of fruit is good Picture: Victoria Geldard

Meats, fish, poultry, and pulses should be roughly an eighth of our daily diet. Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna are extremely good for us because of the omega 3 and 6 nutrients. We should aim to eat two portions of these per week. Vegetarians and vegans can eat tofu, soya, nuts and pulses as a substitute.

Between a sixth and an eighth of our diet should come from dairy products. These are rich in calcium needed for healthy teeth and bones, but they can contain high fat content so try to choose low fat versions.

Finally, the smallest part of our diet (but no less essential to our bodies’ function) are oils and fats. We should eat these sparingly and avoid saturated fats wherever possible. The healthiest types of fats and oils come from plants and vegetables (vegetable oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, and spreads). Use a low-calorie spray for cooking to help keep the amount you use down. It is important that we do not try and cut fat out of the diet completely because it helps our bodies in many vital functions.

The problem that most of us face is that due to our busy lifestyles it can be very difficult to keep on top of what we are eating, and we tend not to burn off the calories we consume. We have a greater reliance on labour saving devices, cars, and computer-based activities than ever before. It is easy to pick up ready meals, or snacks such as chocolate and crisps which are convenient. This is fine to do sometimes, but you should check the nutrition values on the packet.

The Northern Echo:

There is now an easy traffic light system on food labels

It is now law that food labels and packages must state how much sugar, salt, and fat (as well as energy/calories) are in a food product. They have a handy traffic light system on most foods to highlight whether they are high (red), medium (amber) or low (green) in those nutrients. Try to choose green wherever possible. However, if you do notice a food is high in fat or sugar you can still eat it but take that information into account when planning your next meal.


Keep a food diary for the full week. Is your food intake balanced or is it heavy towards one particular food group? Look at the traffic light system on the packages of food and aim to choose the green fat and sugar content. Please share your comments on twitter @TheNorthernEcho and @TSmith_PE

If you would like to ask a question or suggest a topic that you would like me to cover in the coming weeks, you can contact me at: tsmith@premier-education.com

  • Trevor Smith works at Premier Education. He is a senior member of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).