Nutrition & Healthy Weight

What we eat ("our diet") always seems to be headline news - it can seem hard to keep up with all the guidelines, advice and warnings. But Healthy Eating isn't complicated - with some simple tips we can all make healthy changes and get a good balance every day.


How does it work?

The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. You don't need to achieve this balance with every meal but try to get the balance right over a day or even a week.

It's important to get some fat in your diet, but foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar have been placed outside of the circular image as they are not necessary as part of a healthy balanced diet and most of us need to cut down on these. A great way to find out how much sugar, fats and salts are in your food is to use this helpful app.

Unsaturated fats from plant sources, for example vegetable oil or olive oil, are healthier types of fat. But all types of fat are high in energy (calories) and so should only be eaten in small amounts.

On average, women should have around 2,000 calories a day (8,400 kilojoules) and men should have around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Most adults are consuming more calories than they need.

Download the Eatwell Guide as a PDF (2.41Mb).

Children under the age of two

The Eatwell Guide doesn't apply to children under the age of two, because they have different nutritional needs. Between the ages of two and five, children should gradually move to eating the same foods as the rest of the family, in the proportions shown in the Eatwell Guide. 

Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy eating doesn't have to be difficult - it usually just means making some small changes. Making changes gradually means you are more likely to stick with them - try changing one thing at a time. Here are some simple tips to help you keep on track with healthy eating:

  1. Base your meals on starchy foods – these are foods that will fill you up. Choose whole grain varieties when you can.
  2. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables – aim to have at least 5 portions a day of different fruit and vegetables. One portion is one handful.
  3. Eat more fish - Try to have fish 2 times a week with one being an oily fish such as salmon.
  4. Cut down on unhealthy fats – these are called saturated fat. These are found in hard cheese, cakes, biscuits, cream, butter, lard and pies.
  5. Cut down on sugar –  most people can cut down by having less fizzy drinks, alcoholic drinks, sugary breakfast cereals, cakes, biscuits and sweets.
  6. Eat less salt – try to not add salt to your food while cooking or at the table. Many foods which are ready made already have salt added, try to make your own to avoid hidden salt.
  7. Be active – doing a little more exercise such as walking can help maintain your weight and also boost your mental health - for more information click here.
  8. Keep hydrated – try to drink 2 litres of fluid throughout the day.
  9. Don’t skip breakfast – try to have a healthy breakfast within 2 hours of waking up.

For more ideas and healthy recipes visit Eat Better, Feel Better or these this helpful apps - Easy Meals, Smart Recipies

Getting Help in Shetland


If your BMI is over 25 and you would like help to change you can take part in the Counterweight Programme.

The aims of Counterweight are:
• To help change your eating habits and physical activity levels in the long term.
• To help you achieve a medically worthwhile weight loss of between 5-10% of your starting weight.
• To help you maintain your weight loss.
• To improve your health generally

You can join the Counterweight Programme locally by contacting your local Health Centre or the Health Improvement Department.

What happens at a Counterweight Appointment?

  • You will have a trained Counterweight Advisor
  • You will meet with them for 6 sessions every 2 weeks.
  • At each session you will get advice and support to change your eating habits and physical activity level.
  • You have the option to have your weight recorded at each appointment and your waist measured at the start and end of the programme.
  • You will be given a Counterweight Folder to keep all the information given and track your progress.

Counterweight sessions can be delivered in both one-to-one or group settings.


The SCOTT/ SCOTT lite programme is a family centred weight Management programme to help promote childhood healthy weight. It consists of 9 family based one-to-one sessions with a health professional over 6 months for children and adolescents aged 2-15 years. The programme does not focus on dieting but instead helps the whole family establish long-term lifestyle changes to diet and physical activity which promote healthier weight. To find out more information contact

Healthy Eating 101

Dr. Mike Evans Associate Professor of Family Medicine has produced a short film may give you a different way to look at healthy eating.

Maintaining a healthy weight is esstential for our physical health as well as our self esteem. Eating less than our body needs can lead to becoming underweight, which can cause health problems. Eating more than our body needs can lead to becoming overweight or obese, which also causes health problems.

To find out if you are of a healthy weight you can check using the BMI calculator. It is best to stay in a healthy weight range to protect yourself from a number of health problems, and to be able to cope with day to day tasks.

For more information on healthy eating or to come in for a chat to find out more about the programmes we offer you can contact us on: or 01595807494 - no pressure to sign up!