Healthy eating for young people

Healthy dishes

It’s pretty simple: eating a nutritious, balanced diet helps to keeps your body and heart healthy.

Eating well gives you the energy you need to get the most out of your day and can help you to look and feel your best too. It’s not about quick fixes, super foods or detoxes! A balanced and healthy diet will give you the right nutrients and amount of energy your body needs to stay strong, keep moving and be a healthy weight.

So do I need to diet?

No! For a start, it’s been proven that fad diets don’t work. By cutting out loads of the foods you love, you might lose weight in the short term, but you won’t be able to keep it up long term.

The key is eating a wide range of foods so that you get all the nutrients your body needs, while not eating too much or too little. If you eat more calories that you burn off every day then you’ll gradually put on weight. And being underweight isn't good for you either.

Eat your way to a healthy heart

Here are several ways to eat your way to a healthy heart (and a healthy everything else)!

  • Eat breakfast – loads of us skip the first meal of the day but it’s really important to get a good start to your day. Eating breakfast can also help you avoid unhealthy snacks before lunchtime. 
  • Squeeze in five portions of fruit and vegetables a day - fresh, frozen, tinned (in juice), dried and pure juice (once a day) all count.
  • Go for high fibre starchy foods – try swapping white bread for wholemeal or granary and choose wholegrain cereals.
  • Get your teeth into protein sources that aren't too fatty - look for lean cuts of meat or poultry.
  • Munch on fish a couple of times a week and make one of your portions an oily fish like salmon or sardines.
  • Avoid eating lots of fatty and sugary foods, which can be high in calories, saturated fat and salt.  
  • Try to eat no more than 6 grams of salt a day – but keep your eyes peeled, a lot of the salt we eat has already been added to the foods we buy.

Why not try cooking yourself?

From after-school dinners to picnic treats, we've got plenty of healthy and delicious recipes for you to try making with family and friends.

Eating should be enjoyable, not something you feel worried, nervous or guilty about doing. But some people develop an unhealthy relationship with food. Find out more about eating disorders.

Do you want to meet other young people like you?

Are you aged between 13 and 19 with a heart condition and living in the UK? You can join [email protected] absolutely free!

[email protected] is a great way to get help and support and meet other young heart patients at great events.

Find out more