Eating well

Why is it important to eat well?

The health benefits of enjoying a healthy and balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight include:

  • More energy to do the things you love
  • Improved mood
  • Improved heart and joint health
  • Longer life lived in better health

How can I eat well?

A helpful way to think about main meals is to split them into:

  • 25% protein, such as fresh chicken, fish, beans or egg
  • 25% higher fibre, starchy foods such as potatoes, brown rice, bread, noodles or pasta
  • 50% salad or vegetables

Try to:

  • Eat fruit and vegetables every day
  • Drink more water
  • Include lean meat, fish and eggs in your diet as they are a good source of energy

Try to reduce:

  • Saturated fats such as butter, cheese, and fatty cuts of meat
  • Your sugar intake
  • Your salt intake
  • How much fast food you eat

How can we eat well as a family?

Eating well is really important for giving children and young people the best start in life:

  • Good nutrition helps the development of children’s brains, bones and muscles. It also helps them to grow and reach their full potential.
  • Staying hydrated by drinking water helps keep blood circulating. It also helps young brains to remember things and is good for children’s teeth.
  • Eating a balanced diet helps fuel kids’ fun by providing energy so they can keep active!

Be Sugar Smart 

Sugary food can be enjoyable for children in moderation. Lots of sugar however can have serious negative effects on your child’s health. For more information on how to manage your family’s sugar intake, visit the NHS better health: sugar webpage.

For more information about pregnancy, early years and school age support and Healthy Holidays, please visit our Children, Young People and Families section.

How can I eat well as I age?

Eating a nutritious and balanced diet can be especially beneficial to us as we get older. Eating well as we get older can prevent us from becoming malnourished. It also helps us to keep living the life we love as we age.

For more information and support on eating well in later life, visit:

Eating well on a budget

Here are some helpful tips on how to eat well and make small changes on a budget:

  • Plan your meals for the week and keep a shopping list
  • Batch cook and freeze leftovers
  • Consider using dinner leftovers for lunch the following day
  • Swap fresh fish, fruit or vegetables for tinned or frozen
  • Bulk out recipes using beans and pulses
  • Supermarket own brands are often cheaper than branded products
  • Storing vegetables in the fridge will help them last longer

Healthy swaps 

Here are some healthy swaps you could make to enjoy a balance diet:

  • White bread, rice and pasta for wholegrain products which are full of fibre
  • Sweet yoghurts and pudding pots for lower sugar or plain natural yoghurt
  • Crisps for unsalted nuts or rice cakes
  • Sugary cereals for plain wholegrain cereals or porridge oats
  • Whole milk for skimmed or semi-skimmed milk

Moving more

Physical activity and moving more is a really important part of enjoying a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Here are some top tips for moving more:

  • Try taking the stairs instead of a life or walking short distances instead of taking the car
  • Stand instead of sitting where you’re able to
  • Walking is a great way to be more active – and it’s free
  • Cleaning or simply stretching counts too
  • Move your body in a way that feels enjoyable to you

For more information about how you can move more and be physically active in Barnsley, visit What’s Your Move.

Helpful links

Weight management

If you feel you need some more support to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we can help. There is specialist support available in Barnsley through:

  • Barnsley Premier League (BPL) Wellbeing Programme (Tier 2)
  • Specialist Weight Management Service Tier 3

A Healthy Mums programme is also available to pregnant women in the borough, provided by BPL.

Barnsley Premier Leisure (BPL) Wellbeing Programme (Tier 2)

The Barnsley Wellbeing Programme is a free 12-week initiative. It supports you to make positive lifestyle changes to help you manage and control your health.

Leisure activities are recognised as a proven way of helping people with their health problems and medical conditions. It can also reduce the risks of heart disease and other illnesses. Research shows that physical activity can also:

  • Boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy.
  • Reduce your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

What does the programme include?

The wellbeing programme includes:

  • An initial one-hour health assessment at the Metrodome Leisure Centre, Hoyland Leisure Centre, Royston Leisure Centre or Dearnside Leisure Centre.
  • A gym tour and programme to start your healthy lifestyle journey.
  • One-to-one and group support to help increase your awareness of diet, nutrition and physical activity.
  • Check-ins on weeks four and eight to review progress and see what’s working for you. You can also contact the team any time for additional support.
  • Diet and nutrition support from an onsite nutritionist throughout the programme.
  • A full review and evaluation at week 12 to record the progress you have achieved.
  • Unlimited access to gym, swim and group exercise classes for 12 weeks.
  • 12 weeks of free access to BPL’s home workout online portal Your Space at Home. This is so you can work out in the comfort of your own home.
  • Upon completion, you will be eligible for our discounted referral membership.

How can I join the programme?

In order to join the programme you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be aged 18 or above
  • Be a resident of Barnsley or registered with a Barnsley GP
  • Have a BMI of 25 – 40

If you meet all the above criteria, you can apply for the programme on the BPL Community Health webpage. You can also be referred to the programme by your GP practice. You don’t need to make an appointment. Just contact your GP practice and request a referral to the BPL Tier 2 weight management programme.

What if I don't meet the referral criteria for the Wellbeing Programme?

BPL offer a subsidised health referral programme for those who do not meet the criteria for the wellbeing programme. The subsidised health referral programme accepts referrals through GPs and through self-referrals.

The programme also runs for 12 weeks with appointments in weeks 1, 4, 8 and 12. It provides a personalised gym programme alongside other lifestyle support.

The subsidised health referral programme costs £27.50 a month to attend, with no joining fee or minimum contract requirement.

Who do I contact if I want more information?

For more information about the programme please visit BPL Community Health or contact:

How do I access the service?

The service accepts referrals from GPs, nursing staff, health visitors, school nurses, midwives, Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) and consultants. Please note that the service does not accept self referrals.

Visit the specialist weight management service for more details.

Barnsley's food plan

We know that helping people enjoy a healthy and balanced diet is crucial. So much so, its part of our 2030 commitment to a Healthy Barnsley. This is so everyone is able to enjoy a life in good physical and mental health.

Read more about how we plan to achieve this in our food plan.