Eating and drinking
Eating and drinking well means enjoying your food and having plenty of variety in your diet. Variety is important to get all the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy weight. If you eat and drink well, you’re more likely to feel healthier, stay active for longer and protect yourself against illness.
For further information about eating and drinking, please see the pages listed on the right hand side, or if using a mobile, select 'related content' at the top of the page.
- Follow the Eatwell guide. It shows you how much of what you eat should come from each food group. If you’re finding it difficult to eat enough, you might find yourself feeling tired, depressed and low on energy, leading to unwanted weight loss. On the flipside, being very overweight is also unhealthy for our bodies and can also increase the risk of heart disease and cancers.
- Aim for 6-8 glasses of fluid every day. This doesn’t have to be water - milk, soups, tea and coffee all count. Alcohol is best avoided. If you have a medical condition talk to your doctor about how much fluid you should drink every day.
- Make preparing food, cooking, eating and drinking easy. Make sure plates, cutlery, cups and glasses are easy to use. Two handled mugs, plastic tumblers, kettle tippers can all help. Our daily living equipment page has lots of examples for you to think about.
- Make sure your carer has the support they need. If the person who helps look after you is a relative, friend or neighbour, our carers page has lots of top tips and information about support that they can also access.
Myths and commonly asked questions Back to top
Is losing weight just a normal part of getting older?
Unplanned weight loss is not a normal part of the ageing process, and if it is not spotted or treated it can be a sign of malnutrition. Some common signs to watch out for are:
- clothes, dentures, belts or jewellery becoming loose
- tiredness and changes in mood
- a loss of appetite or a disinterest in food and/or fluids
Knowing what signs to watch out for and following some simple steps to eating well can help. More information on this subject is available on our malnutrition page.
Is it true that everyone should try to drink eight glasses of water a day?
Yes, all adults need at least 1.5 litres (2.5 pints) of fluid per day. This is the same as around 6 - 8 cups or glasses. Water is the healthiest type of drink, but it does not have to be water. You can include a variety of different types including tea, or coffee. Drinking enough fluids is important to function properly and following some simple steps will help to keep you hydrated.
How do I get help with shopping and preparing food?
There are lots of examples of different aids and equipment to help you in the kitchen. Our daily living equipment page has lots of examples for you to think about.
Consider buying a range of ready-prepared meals from a meal delivery company (also known as meals on wheels) who can deliver them to your home.
Some voluntary and community groups as well as paid for carers might be able to help you. Have a look on Staffordshire Connects to see what help is available.
Many supermarkets also offer online shopping with home delivery or in store collection services. This still allows you to choose the foods you want, but without the worry of doing the physical work. Support is available to use computers, tablets and smart phones to get online.
Lunch clubs can also be a great way of making contact with others, whilst sharing a healthy meal. You can find more information about these on Staffordshire Connects.
Apps that can help!
There are an increasing number of health and wellbeing apps available. We are making it easier to help you find apps that can help you to stay healthy and well. Below are some of the top rated apps for eating and drinking. You can also search a range of health and wellbeing apps across different areas, such as, stopping smoking, improving your mental wellbeing, keeping active and managing health conditions.
Daily living equipment and technology
Take a look at our ‘interactive house’ to find equipment that can help you to stay independent at home.
Maintaining and cleaning your home
See our page with tips on looking after your home.
We have a page on the importance of keeping well-hydrated.
Dehydration in older people
See our page on dehydration.
There is lots of information on the NHS site on:
Talk your GP
If you are struggling to eat or drink, talk to your GP or a health care professional.
If you need support with eating and drinking and wish to discuss this in more detail:
#DoingOurBit – What one thing can you do?
If you know an older person that might be struggling to eat and drink well, you could offer to pick up some shopping for them, cook them a meal, or help them to find support from their GP or Staffordshire Connects.