This section includes information on general healthy eating and specific information on diet to protect and improve bone health.

graphic showing 8 tips for eating well

The Eatwell Guide

Eating well and having a healthy lifestyle can help us feel our best – and make a big difference to our long-term health. The Eatwell Guide can be helpful and shows the proportions in which different types of foods are needed to have a well-balanced and healthy diet. You should aim to eat the proportions of food shown over the period of a day or even a week, not necessarily at each meal time.

Is the Eatwell Guide for me?

The Eatwell Guide applies to most people regardless of weight, dietary restrictions/ preferences or ethnic origin. However, it doesn’t apply to children under 2 because they have different nutritional needs. Anyone with special dietary requirements or medical needs might want to check with a registered dietitian on how to adapt the Eatwell Guide to meet their individual needs.

How can the Eatwell Guide help?

The Eatwell Guide shows the different types of foods and drinks we should consume – and in what proportions – to have a healthy, balanced diet:

  • Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates; choosing wholegrain versions where possible
  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya or oat drinks); choosing lower fat and lower sugar or no added sugar options
  • Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat all fats in small amounts
  • Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of fluid a day If consuming foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar have these less often and try to choose small portions

When should I use the Eatwell Guide?

You can use the Eatwell Guide to help you make healthier choices whenever you’re:

  • Deciding what to eat
  • At home cooking
  • Out shopping for groceries
  • Eating out in a restaurant, cafe or canteen
  • Choosing food on the go

You can read the full Eatwell Guide here:

Bone Health

Dietary advice to support good MSK health includes information on healthy eating in general and on a small number of specific nutrients. We also know that some people need advice on preventing or treating malnutrition which often develops with age, but can occur at any time, for example when people have been unwell.

Vitamin D and calcium1, which are both important dietary components for MSK health through maintaining healthy bones, teeth and muscles.


Calcium is needed for good bone health. Eating a diet consistent with the Eatwell Guide will provide all the calcium your body needs. Try to regularly include some milk and dairy food (or dairy alternatives) – such as cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais in your food and drink intake. These are good sources of protein and vitamins, and they’re also an important source of calcium, which helps to keep our bones strong.

Some dairy food can be high in fat and saturated fat, but there are plenty of lower-fat options to choose from. Go for lower fat and lower sugar products where possible. For example, why not try 1% fat milk which contains about half the fat of semi-skimmed milk without a noticeable change in taste or texture? Reduced fat cheese is also widely available. Or you could have just a smaller amount of the full-fat varieties less often. When buying dairy alternatives such as soya or oat alternatives to milk, go for unsweetened, calcium-fortified versions. Aim to include three portions of dairy food per day in order to get enough calcium to protect your bones.

If you would like to have a printed copy of the information above, please use this link

BDA – Food Fact Sheet

Balanced Diet, food and mood

Calcium in the diet

Osteoporosis, dietary intake and other topical questions

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) (2016) – SACN vitamin D and health report

The DEWIS search engine may help you find local initiatives including healthy eating programmes, growing schemes, cooking sessions:

The search engine Infoengine allows you to search for food and cooking related services in your local community: