Time to think about what you eat and drink

Time to think about what you eat and drink

With the weather getting warmer good nutrition and hydration have never been more essential, according to Oxford Health experts.

This year, teams across Oxford Health are using Nutrition and Hydration Week, a national event which runs from 14-20 June, to help highlight how eating and drinking well, can improve the health and happiness of everyone.

Around 3 million people are at risk of malnutrition in the UK and we need to engage opportunities to raise the awareness of the risks and promote good practices that can help prevent malnutrition and dehydration.

Oxford Health’s experts from our community based teams have come up with a list of top tips to help you stay healthy and happy:

  • Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • Drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)
  • Base meals on higher fibre starchy foods, like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
  • Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
  • If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts

Rebecca Henley, one of Oxford Health’s Allied Health Professionals Clinical Leads, said: “Getting the right nutrients into your diet with a busy lifestyle can be challenging. Making small changes to your diet can make a big impact on your health and wellbeing. Gradual changes can be made overtime to improve your diet.

It is important to stay hydrated now the weather is warmer but make sure you reduce your intake of sugary drinks as these can have an adverse impact on your overall health. Mealtimes still should be enjoyable and it is about getting a balance with the food and drink you need to eat to stay healthy physically and mentally.”

There are lots of useful resources available online where you can find quick and easy advice to help boost your diet, such as Food Facts (bda.uk.com)and Live Well, Eat Well.

Various teams across Oxford Health, including speech and language therapists, specialised services, community dental services, tissue viability nurses and dietetics, have been focused on offering informal virtual training sessions to staff across the trust about promoting good nutrition and hydration and the best ways to support the diets of the patients they are working with.

The teams have also been working with the catering services across Oxfordshire for community mental health and specialised services to engage in providing healthy well-balanced mealtimes and focusing on the importance of this for patients.

Recently, student dietitians and student speech and language therapists have worked together to present their findings from a literature review on how we can optimise nutrition and hydration care. Through this work they hope to encourage other patient facing teams to get involved and look at ways of making small adjustments to help improve the patient experience.

Published: 14 June 2021