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Nutrition and Hydration

Nutrition and Hydration Week has taken place every March since 2012.

Its purpose is to bring people together to create energy, focus and fun in order to highlight and educate people on the value of food and drink in maintaining health and well being in health and social care.

Organisations from around the world and from all areas of health and social care take part and new organisations are welcome to join in the fun.

Eating a healthy, varied diet does not mean that you need to buy the most expensive foods. There are plenty of cheap, nutritious and delicious foods available, that you can make healthy meals from. By planning your meals you will be able to cut down on waste and save money. Here are a few tips to help make your money go further:

Look for special offers on long shelf-life products like dried pasta, rice and noodles, dried or tinned beans and pulses, tinned tomatoes, passata, tomato concentrate and cereals. These can be used to bulk up your meals and make them go further. It is worth checking if there are any food co-ops in your area; these are run on a not-for-profit basis and may have cheap store cupboard ingredients.

Buy cheaper cuts of meat such as chicken thighs or drumsticks instead of chicken breast. A whole chicken can be good value, especially if you use it for more than one meal. Mince is also a popular ingredient, versatile and inexpensive – just remember to drain the fat off before adding other ingredients! Asking the butcher for cuts like shin of beef, lamb neck or pork chump can also save you money compared to the more expensive cuts. Cheaper cuts of meat tend to need longer cooking times but can also be the tastiest! If there are special offers on buying extra you could keep any meat that you are not going to use straight away in the freezer for another time.

Canned oily fish such as sardines and salmon can be cheaper than buying fresh fish. They are high in omega-3 fats which can help to keep the heart healthy, plus they are easy to prepare and have a long shelf-life. Opt for ones in spring water to keep the salt content to a minimum. Frozen fish is often very good value and can be added to a range of dishes. If there are special offers on fresh fish, you could also take advantage of these and freeze any that you are not going to use straight away. See our tips in the cooking ideas section.

Check the frozen and canned fruit and vegetable section for cheaper items. Frozen vegetables tend to be cheaper than fresh varieties, they count towards your 5 A DAY and freezing preserves nutrients so that some frozen vegetables provide more of certain nutrients than fresh versions. You can use them when you want without them going off, which cuts down on waste. Remember to check supermarket own brand and economy ranges – these are often cheaper than branded items.

Fresh fruit and vegetables can be cheaper if you buy them from the local market rather than supermarkets. If you do buy from the supermarket, consider buying loose fruits and vegetables, which can be much cheaper than pre-packaged ones. Fresh fruit and vegetables in season are often cheaper as well and can taste great!

Cooking and meal ideas

Remember to eat breakfast! Breakfast is an important source of energy and many ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, and breads are cheap and contain B vitamins and iron. Look for those with less or no added sugar and salt and choose wholegrain varieties as much as possible as these are a better source of fibre.

Porridge is also a cheap and healthy breakfast and plain versions have no added sugar or salt. Try adding some frozen, dried or fresh fruits to help you meet your 5 A DAY. Supermarket own brand dried and tinned fruits are usually great value.

Vegetables, eggs, beans and lentils tend to cost less than meat, so try adding more of these foods to your meat-containing meals. The meat will go further, saving you money and it will help to keep the saturated fat content of the dish down too. Alternatively, leave the meat out altogether and use these foods as substitutes for a tasty vegetarian dish.

Top tips:

  • Why not try omelettes or frittatas to use up eggs and any leftover vegetables or a vegetarian bolognaise made with lentils.
  • Alternatively, try some bean recipes such as bean-based stews, vegetarian chilli, bean burgers or Mexican-style bean wraps. These are all delicious ways of incorporating low cost pulses and lentils into your diet.
  • Beans and pulses fit into the non-dairy sources of protein group – the same group as meat and fish!
  • Three heaped tablespoons of beans and pulses also count as one of your 5 A DAY; are low in fat and a source of protein and dietary fibre!

Back to basics!

When it comes to eating on a budget, staple foods like bread, potatoes, rice and pasta are generally very good value for money and are a nutritious part of a healthy diet. Baked potatoes are great as a cheap, healthy and filling meal and you can experiment with your favourite toppings – perhaps to use up leftover pasta sauce or stew. If baking potatoes in the oven, then you could make the most of having the oven on and add some extra potatoes. These can then be kept for a couple of days in the fridge (or longer in the freezer) and microwaved for a quick meal another time. Rice and pasta are great, economical store cupboard ingredients and can be served warm with sauces, curries and stews or used cold as the base for a salad, which can be a good way of using up any leftover pasta or rice you have cooked. Leftover starchy foods can also be added to soups to thicken them and make them more filling.

Drink More Water!

Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being, but many people do not consume enough fluids each day.

Around 60 percent of the body is made up of water, and around 71 percent of the planet’s surface is covered by water.

Perhaps it is the ubiquitous nature of water that means drinking enough each day is not at the top of many people’s lists of priorities.

Fast facts on drinking water

  • Adult humans are 60 percent water, and our blood is 90 percent water.
  • There is no universally agreed quantity of water that must be consumed daily.
  • Water is essential for the kidneys and other bodily functions.
  • When dehydrated, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and wrinkling.
  • Drinking water instead of soda can help with weight loss.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.

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