Diet and nutrition

In support of their recovery, people with a mental illness and their carers can source and prepare healthy, high-quality, good-value food.

Goals which service users and carers can set themselves include:-

● Having at least five servings of fresh fruit or vegetables every day
● Setting aside time to eat regular meals – and making sure they have breakfast
● Getting advice and information on healthy eating
● Writing a diet plan
● Joining a food co-op
● Setting up or joining a healthy eating club
● Growing their own fruit and vegetables
● Eating more portions of oily fish such as mackerel or sardines
● Reducing the amount of ‘trans’ fat in their diet – this is found in foods such as pies and factory-made pastry, cakes and biscuits
● Switching to wholegrain rice, pasta and bread
● Making time to try out new recipes and enjoy cooking
● Making sure they drink enough fluid (3.5 pints or 6-8 glasses a day – water, milk, and hot drinks count but alcohol doesn’t)
● Cutting down on caffeine, salt and sugar
● Varying their diet and trying new foods
● Carrying healthy snacks when they are out and about
● Sourcing the best-value food by shopping around or changing supermarkets.

Supporters could include:-

● GP and Practice Nurse
● Dietician/nutritionist
● Health promotion service
● Local food co-op and “allotmenteer” groups
● Local college
● Family member and/or other carer
● Care Coordinator.

Best practice examples in mental health services:-

● Carers in Flintshire published their own recipe book which included a range of easy-to-follow and healthy recipes
● Service users in Denbighshire created their own vegetable plot at the local mental health project
● Service users in Newport set up a food co-op, pooling their buying power and ordering healthy food direct from local suppliers
● Service users in Conwy set up a monthly ‘Around the World’ event to encourage each other to experiment with their cooking.

Further information and advice can be found on the links below.

Eat Healthy

NHS information and advice on a healthy diet

Healthy Eating Advice

Information about a healthy diet from the Food Standards Agency

Health Challenge Wales

Advice on improving your diet

Health Goals

Advice on the physical health goals you can include in your Care and Treatment Plan

Tools n’ Tricks

Tools ‘n’ tricks to slash food bills