Snacks can sometimes be eaten out of politeness, or simply because they catch our eye as we queue to pay for petrol.

Wisely chosen snacks can increase energy levels and help maintain a healthy body weight

Your goal is to have at least two fruits and three portions of vegetables a day. Eat a rainbow. Photograph: Thinkstock

Eat the right foods and you will be better prepared to keep to your exercise plan, says Paula Mee

Regular exercise and reducing your calorie intake is more effective for weight loss than exercising on its own or just cutting back on what you eat. Photograph: Thinkstock

There are no short-cuts to weight loss but there are strategies to support your ability to exercise and get fit, says Paula Mee

You are – to a large extent – what you eat. Paula Mee gives tips on how to guard against weakness

In a short few years our tableware and crockery has increased in size so quickly that many dinner plates now need to be handwashed. Photograph: Thinkstock

Even reducing the size of plates and bowls can help us to consume less calories and drop stubborn pounds, says dietitian Paula Mee(...)

Salmon: oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and important for the reconstruction of the damaged myelin sheath and cognitive function. Photograph: Thinkstock

Good diet helps reduce fatigue, improve your mood and maintain strong bones

Casual buffet-style suppers work really well. Guests can help themselves rather than have a meal served to them. That way everyone is in control of their portion sizes and the breadth of foods they wish to enjoy. Photograph: Thinkstock

Paula Mee helps you get your menu sorted this Christmas for all of your guests, and their preferences

Foods such as milk that are high in SFA and also high in calcium don’t seem to raise harmful LDL cholesterol fractions. Photograph: Thinkstock

Saturated fat has had a bad rap in recent years, but it might not be entirely deserved

New legislation means 14 ingredients that cause a reaction in some individuals will have to be identified on packaging

Food businesses need to be aware of the food allergens they handle

Quick fixes won’t work: the only way to diet effectively is to change longstanding habits

Eating a well-balanced diet, taking regular exercise and getting adequate rest are all important for skincare. Photograph: Thinkstock

A balanced diet will give you all the nutrients you need for skin, hair and nails

The digestive system is affected by a number of small changes as we age. Photograph: Getty Images

Having symptoms such as cramps, bloating and irregular bowel movements is known as diverticular disease

Bringing your own food that you prepared at home allows you to take control and reduces your reliance on canteen or cafeteria food.  Photograph: Jason Henry/The New York Times

Alternative work patterns can lead to serious health risks, so here’s what you can do to resolve the problem

The vegan diet: accepting it is not for the faint-hearted. Photograph: Thinkstock

While there’s much to be said for the strict regime, supplements should also be considered for balanced diet

A fatty, rich meal may delay stomach emptying and increase the risk of symptoms. Photograph: Thinkstock

Prolonged reflux can result in inflammation and caustic damage to the oesophagus, so how do we avoid it?

People who need supplements often don’t take them. Photograph: Thinkstock

The advice is that we get all we need from a healthy diet but there are areas in which supplements seem to help

Fuelling teenage bodies as they juggle school work, night study, personal stuff and sports is challenging

Eat the whole fruit as nature intended rather than consuming large volumes of fruit juice.

Research shows that a daily breakfast is a common factor among those losing weight and keeping it off

Women are best to ensure an adequate intake of vitamin E from food, such as nuts, rather than from supplements as a general rule. Photograph: Thinkstock Women are best to ensure an adequate intake of vitamin E from food, like nuts, rather than from supplements as a general rule. Photograph: Thinkstock

The menopause need not be the end of the world as you know it – some diet changes will go a long way to help

Studies suggest that avoiding certain foods altogether often makes them irresistible. Photograph: Getty Images

There is no magic bullet, but finding a way to enjoy the foods you like in reasonable amounts will help

Fibre provides a source of energy for the friendly probiotic bacteria living in the large intestine that in turn may help to boost the immune system

Health benefits of a diet high in fibre include reduction in cholesterol and protection against certain cancers

Children are often fed up with sandwich bread and the same old fillings that remind them of school days. Think about colour to entice them, with their lunch boxes and the food you put in them. Photograph: Thinkstock

Steer clear of lunches that remind them of school days during the summer

Make sure your diet is full of calcium-rich foods. Photograph: Thinkstock

Reduce your risk of osteoporosis by including plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet

A recent study found that if one or both partners in a couple had high LDL, or bad cholesterol, it took them longer to get pregnant. Photograph: Thinkstock

Semen quality is on the decline but certain micronutrients can boost your chances of fertility

Foods rich in iron. Photograph: Thinkstock

Getting the right amount of iron is easier said than done, but check out your diet before reaching for supplements

There is some evidence to suggest that cherries help lower uric acid levels and frequency of gout attacks. Photograph: Thinkstock

It’s true you can get gout from some foods, but maybe not the ones you think

Change your diet and you may not need to use supplements to boost your health. Photograph: Thinkstock

Supplements bought online can be contaminated – and downright dangerous

Cholesterol testing: A high HDL is protective because HDL carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, protecting against its accumulation on artery walls. A low HDL can put you at risk of heart disease. Photograph: Getty Images

Your level of cholesterol has to be viewed as part of your overall cardiovascular health risk

Pouring olive oil on fresh green salads is one way of adding small volumes of high-calorie foods to meals. Photograph: Getty Images

Inadequate protein in older adults leads to a more rapid, unintentional loss of body weight and muscle

There is no definite evidence to support one particular diet for PCOS, but it’s advisable to include lean protein at each meal to help lower the GI. Beans, peas, lentils are also very good choices

The effects of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can be severe for a woman to cope with but good nutriton can help

Simple things like wrapping food in tinfoil rather than cling film can help you avoid facing tempting leftovers every time you open your fridge. Photograph: Getty Images

It’s important to discover the trigger for your urge to eat

Alzheimer’s disease: A recent Behaviour & Attitudes survey among a representative sample of 700 Irish adults (aged 50 years and over) revealed that a third of respondents believed a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease would be significantly more difficult to cope with than one of heart disease. Photograph: Getty Images

Nutritional supplementation may help reduce the incidence of dementia, but more research is needed

Try to eat a rainbow of colour every day: that means at least one red fruit or vegetable for lycopene. Remember fruit and vegetables provide critical vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Photograph: Getty Images

When exercising, it’s not just what you eat, but when you eat that makes a big difference to your performance

Fodmaps food to include  in your diet. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The Fodmaps approach has had positive results for people struggling with irritable bowel syndrome

Fresh off the rotisserie grill, people are buying whole chickens, removing the skin and using the flesh in their own home-assembled meal. Photograph: Getty Images

There are many ways to trim the fats and sugars from your home-cooked meals – and even your takeaways

Meatless Monday: If Americans were motivated to remove meat from their diet for just one day a week, approximately 45 billion gallons of petrol could be spared in one year. Photograph: Getty Images

Apart from tackling the obesity epidemic, there are huge environmental benefits linked to the pledge

Skip the nightcap. Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, but you may waken up more often and experience less restful sleep. Photograph: Getty Images

Sleep deprivation can mess up the body’s metabolic rate and cause an imbalance

If you run first thing in the morning, you may need some water or something small like a banana or a yoghurt to provide some energy for your run. Photograph: Getty Images

Make sure you are eating the right food to keep up with your training, particularly if you’re new to exercise

The truth is, there is no single cause and no single treatment for obesity

Record your pattern of eating, drinking, sleeping or activity with a diary or smartphone app. Photograph:Getty Images

Writing out a plan forces us to really think about what we want to change

One mince pie contains 239 calories so make sure you enjoy every mouthful of it. Savour the treats you choose to eat. Photograph: Getty Images

Don’t deny yourself a little party food this Christmas but try to get back to healthy eating as quickly as possible

Mock-ito, with lemon and ginger ale. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

While alcohol consumption per adult declined by 12.5% between 2007 and 2012, we’re still fond of our drink

Salmon and courgette tray bake. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The dark days of winter won’t help your vitamin D intake, so try to treat your diet to a little sunshine

Jack Rogers of Newgrange Gold, one of Ireland’s largest seed oil producers, with last summer’s crop of rapeseed

While it’s true that we need some fats in our food, the type and the quantity are the most important factors

Creamy guacamole. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Thousands of species of friendly bacteria are at work in your gut. Nurture them with the right food and they’ll boost your immune (...)

Butternut squash with provencal vegetables. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Many people discover they have thyroid problems after battling expanding waistlines for many years

Tropical summer fruit salad.

Many parents find the treats collected at Halloween can present huge problems for their children with allergies

Mixed Beans, beetroot and chilli marinated chicken escalapes. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

While diet in some sunnier shores may be changing, the original regional foodstuffs are a recipe for better health

Aubergine and coconut curry. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Food plays a very important contributing role in the development and management of mental health

Herb and lemon fish and prawn casserole.

The general guideline is to eat two servings of fish each week – one oily and one white

Oriental chicken and vegetable stir fry

Reducing salt intake can have great health benefits but it may require a new attitude to the food we eat

Cold salmon frittata. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

A standalone source of protein, eggs offer a light meal option that is both nutritious and inexpensive

Apple sauce cinnamon muffins.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Sugar intake does not cause type 1 diabetes but artificial sweeteners are more gentle on blood glucose levels

Sea bass with marjoram and lemon; and chicken escalopes with Italian bean, tomato and and basil salad. Photographs: Brenda Fitzsimons

Protein-rich food helps make muscle, connective tissue and crucial enzymes

Beetroot, Basil and Hazelnut salad.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons  05/07/2013-HEALTH-Beetroot, Basil and Hazelnut salad.FOR JULY 30th.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons  /  IRISH TIMES

Consistently tasting once-rejected food, such as vegetables, can help that food ‘grow’ on the taste buds

Tikka marinade and  minty yoghurt marinade. Photographs: Brenda Fitzsimons

It's not just what you cook on the barbecue that matters - how you cook it plays a big part too

Baked salmon with Mediterranean vegetables. Photograph: Cyril Byrne. And Super Green Smoothie.

Some of the guidelines in relation to nutrition during pregnancy have changed as a result of emerging research

In the first of a series, liquid sugars as a driver of obesity comes under scrutiny

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