Nutrition and Hydration

People in the UK are steadily gaining weight. Our portion sizes are just too large and all the things we love to eat…aren’t good for our health. High levels of salt, sugar and fats that are in take-outs and ready meals contribute to the rising obesity problem and the worst part of it is: they are just too delicious for us to resist.

Salty, fatty, sugary foods are what our bodies crave and we crave them for a few reasons:


  • Our bodies are wired to want the quick energy sugar offers. Sugar also helps release dopamine in our brains – the reward hormone.
  • Our bodies need salt to function but historically it was in short supply, leading to the craving for salt becoming an instinctive survival mechanism.
  • Fats provide slow-release energy and contain Tryptophan, an amino acid that your body uses to produce Serotonin – the happy hormone.

With two of the three things that are the worst for us being things we are hard-wired to crave, it’s no wonder that dieting is so hard. Diets that completely cut out entire food groups can make cravings worse than ever and willpower is not infinite in the face of delicious cake, leading us to feel guilty for breaking our diets. It doesn’t help that the hormone that tells us when we are full can take a while to reach the brain, leading us to eat WAY more than is good for us.



Even though we crave the very things that are most damaging to our health, we can still work around that with a few simple tricks to improve our overall health.

  • Smaller portions and eating more slowly both help with weight loss. Eating smaller portions slowly tricks our brain into thinking we’ve eaten more when, in fact, there are fewer calories in the portion.

  • Home-cooking nutritional meals versus eating take-out or ready meals. If you have trouble finding time or energy to do this as you get home, try making meals in bulk and freezing them so you’ll always have a healthy meal to hand.

  • Replacing the sugar in your coffee with a no-calorie sweetener can give you the sweetness you want without adding to your waistline.

  • Simple additions of carrot or aubergine strips into your pasta can help you meet your 5-a-day and make the pasta look more colourful.

  • Food swaps can go virtually unnoticed in terms of taste. Try semi-skimmed milk instead of whole milk, and try fruit on your cereal instead of a sprinkle of sugar (BONUS this nets you, your first fruit portion before you even get to work). Swap regular canned foods, like baked beans, for a low-salt/low-sugar version. Swap creamy sauces for tomato or veggie-based sauces and swap the frying pan for the grill.

  • Diets, such as intermittent fasting, can help some people feel healthier. 



You’d think that given water makes up two-thirds of our bodies we’d get enough to drink. Many people are dehydrated and don’t even know it.  Dehydration can lead to confusion, constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, headaches, kidney stones, seizures, thirst and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Dehydration is easy to spot in your pee, the darker and stronger smelling your urine, the more dehydrated you are.

Some groups are particularly vulnerable to dehydration, babies, infants, older people, diabetics and athletes are all at higher risk of dehydration due to low body weight, less awareness of dehydration or increased fluid loss.

Thankfully, the cure to dehydration is simple: Drink more.

You should ignore the old ‘Drink 6-8 glasses of water every day and drink when you’re thirsty instead, and the best part is, is it doesn’t have to be water that you drink to hydrate you, it can be from juice, cordial, tea, coffee or anything else you like. It's best to avoid drinking things containing caffeine too often as it is a diuretic – it makes you pee more.


Fluid Pouring in Pint Glass


If you’re sick of regular, plain old water here are a few ways to make drinking a little more interesting:

  • Sports drinks – Great for hydration as they are full of electrolytes and the sugar-free ones can help you keep on top of sugar cravings.

  • Smoothies – Can help you top up on your 5-a-day, get the kind that contains all the pulp for an extra fibre boost.

  • Fresh fruit and veg – Some contain up to 99% water and make for an incredibly hydrating healthy snack.

  • Play ‘Beat the clock’ – Get a timestamped water bottle and see if you can drink to the line before you hit the time.

  • Infused water – Get an infusion water bottle and add whatever flavours you feel like that day to your water.



Taking supplements such as vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin D, vitamin K, folic acid and multivitamins can offer temporary boosts to your health but, as you can get everything you need from a healthy diet, it’s best not to over-rely on them. Healthy eating will give you everything your body needs in terms of micronutrients, macronutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Maintaining good nutrition and increasing your hydration are quick, easy ways to improve your health and give you better sleep, more energy and more motivation. If it’s simple food swaps to sugar-free versions or just eating more slowly, you can care for your body with little effort and without the need to go through a drastic diet.