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Level 1
Unit No:
Guided learning hours:
27 hours


The aim of this unit is to help learners understand what is meant by a balanced healthy diet. It also considers the importance of drinking water as part of healthy living.

Unit Learning Outcomes


Understand the importance of healthy eating. 

The key features of a healthy diet should include:-


  • Carbohydrates – provide energy and are found in bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
  • Fats and oils provide energy – found in butter and vegetable cooking oil
  • Proteins which help make new cells and repair damaged tissues like muscles – found in beans, eggs, fish, meat, milk
  • Vitamins such as vitamin C that can help prevent illness found in fruit

Fibre – helps food pass through the digestive system and is found in fruits, vegetables and wholegrain cereals

Water – 70% of the body is water. Water is lost in urine, sweat and breathing out so needs replacing with water from drinking and eating

A balanced diet needs to have the right combination and quantity of foods from each of these categories. The 'eat well' plate is a valuable visual tool for learners.

If a diet is not balanced it may cause some of the following:

  • illnesses e.g. diabetes, heart disease, cancer related illnesses, iron deficiency
  • eating disorders
  • developmental delay
  • poor resistance to infections
  • dental decay

A healthy balanced diet can:

  • give the body the nutrients it needs to grow and develop
  • give energy
  • improve concentration
  • help fight infection
  • protect against long term illness

Examples of ways to inform individuals about eating a balanced diet could include:

  • giving them written or visual information on poster on a wall
  • getting them to help prepare meals
  • giving healthy choices and options

Assessment Criteria

  • 1.1

    Outline what is meant by a balanced diet.

  • 1.2

    Give examples of the effects on health if a diet is not balanced.

  • 1.3

    Give examples of ways that food can contribute to helping an individual to stay healthy.

  • 1.4

    Outline ways to inform individuals to eat a balanced diet.


Understand the importance of drinking enough to stay healthy.

Learners should state the current daily fluid intake recommended to stay healthy. Learners need to understand that water is needed to remove body waste, aid digestion and prevent dehydration.

Drinking sufficient water:

  • ensures a healthy skin
  • helps the body fight infection
  • helps to prevents joint pain
  • helps to prevent constipation

Not drinking enough water can:

  • allow the blood to become too thick resulting in the heart muscle having to work harder
  • cause confusion and the ability to think logically
  • result in illnesses such as stomach ulcers, kidney damage

Signs of insufficient water in the body include:

dizziness or light headedness

  • headache
  • feeling tired
  • dry mouth, lips and eyes

Learners can suggest a number of ways of helping individuals to drink more. These may include:

  • offering different types of drink (hot/cold; smoothie/water)
  • making drinks more easily accessible
  • introducing fluids through soups or ice pops, instead of as a drink
  • enticing through appealing to favourite flavours
  • ensuring individuals understand the importance of keeping hydrated/consequences of dehydration

Assessment Criteria

  • 2.1

    State the recommended daily fluid intake to stay healthy.

  • 2.2

    Outline how drinking enough can help to stay healthy.

  • 2.3

    Identify the effects to health of not drinking enough.

  • 2.4

    Give examples of signs of not drinking enough.

  • 2.5

    Outline ways to encourage individuals to drink enough to stay healthy.


Know how to support healthy eating and drinking within a health and social care environment.

Learners need to be able identify ways in which they can find out information about dietary needs. This could include:-

  • asking the individual about what they like dislike
  • reading their personal care plan – being aware of allergies, aids and adaptations used
  • checking daily records about their ongoing daily need (could be ill or missed meals)

Assessment of dietary needs can be done by specialist health services e.g. dietitian.

Learners can choose a specific setting within health and social care. Examples of methods used to encourage healthy eating could include:-

  • Being a good role model
  • Offering choice
  • Serving attractively presented coulourful food
  • Serving the meal within easy reach
  • Using the right utensils for the persons needs
  • Offering to cut up food (privately to avoid embarrassment)
  • Making sure a person’s likes and dislikes are known
  • Being aware of how disability or illness may affect someone’s ability to eat e.g.visual impairment
  • Making mealtimes fun and enjoyable
  • Following the care plan e.g. use of food supplement such as fortisp

A personal care plan or individual child’s nursery records will identify what their dietary requirements, allergies and preferences are.

Assessment Criteria

  • 3.1

    Describe how a worker can find out information about an individual’s dietary needs.

  • 3.2

    Identify what help is available to assess an individual’s dietary needs.

  • 3.3

    Describe methods a worker can use to support healthy eating and drinking in a specific health or social care setting.