Fuelling Your Body

Food is more than fuel – our bodies require more than just energy to survive. We require a whole range of nutrients.

Macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) are required by our bodies in large quantities and supply us with energy, often measured in Kilocalories (kcal) or Kilojoules (kJ). Macronutrient deficiency can lead to weight loss and starvation.

Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are required in smaller quantities, but they are just as essential. Micronutrient deficiency can lead to serious health problems and a range of specific illnesses.

So What Should A Young Adult Eat?

Whilst each individual's requirements are unique, there are guidelines for what we should eat:

Healthy proteins

What to eat: Try meat such as chicken and fish and beef and lamb twice a week. There are also vegetable sources of protein such as soy, beans and quinoa.

How much to eat: Dietary reference intakes suggest 0.8g -1g per kg of body weight a day. For a 70kg person that is 70g and the same as eating 275g of raw chicken, cooked. Try to include a lean protein source in each meal. A healthy amount of protein would be the size of the palm of your hand.

Why: Protein is satiating so eating a small amount of protein in each meal will help you keep fuller for longer. If you are trying to put on muscle or lose fat, a higher protein diet (up to 2g per kg body weight) may help as it will decrease the overall amount of calories eaten.

Fruits and vegetables

What to eat: Try a range of colours - carrots, broccoli, peppers, beetroot, apples, berries, and oranges.

How much to eat: Whilst UK dietary advice is to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, the latest research indicates that we should eat 5 to 9 portions of at least 80g (1 apple or 1 cup of blueberries) of each fruit and vegetable a day.

Why: Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fibre and micronutrients.

Whole-grain carbohydrates

What to eat: Try quinoa, oats, barley, brown rice, whole wheat bread and starchy vegetables (like sweet potato).

How much to eat: The number and size of portions that you require depend on your health and fitness goals and how active you are.

Why: Optimal brain function requires carbohydrates. Whole grain choices are better as they will release blood sugar a little more slowly. Whole grains will also ensure that you get enough fibre.

Healthy Fats

What to eat: Fatty fish such as Salmon, unsaturated oils such as olive oil.

How much to eat: Try to include 2 -3 portions of healthy fats a day – this might include 150g salmon, 2 tbsp olive oil, a handful of nuts.

Why: Our brains and immune systems require healthy fats (monounsaturated) such as olive oil, nuts, oily fish, avocados, nuts.


How much: At least 2 litres a day, more if you are exercising or going through cancer treatment.

Why: We all need to drink water. Hydration affects our metabolism and brain function. Even being dehydrated by 2% can affect your brain function by 10%.