NHS Lothian

Tips and resources for Eating Difficulties

2 min read

There are lots of things you can do to make healthier eating choices. Try these helpful habits: 


  1. Base your meals on higher fibre starchy carbohydrates – choose wholegrain varieties to help you feel full for longer.
  2. Eat more fruit and vegetables – at least 5 portions every day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.
  3. Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish.
  4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar – you need some of these in your diet, but have these in moderation.
  5. Eat less salt: no more than 6g a day for adults.
  6. Get active to maintain a healthy weight.
  7. Stay well hydrated – it’s recommended that you drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid (preferably water) every day. This is in addition to the fluid you get from the food you eat. 
  8. Always eat breakfast – skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight and it deprives you of some of the nutrients you need for good health.


For more tips on eating well, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/

There are also lots of other things that can help you manage eating problems. We recommend that you have a look at the following self-help tools:


Website and online resources

NHS Inform provides a good source of evidence-based information about eating disorders. The website is: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/mental-health/eating-disorders

Beat is a charity for people with eating disorders. It has a range of information on the help and support available for people with eating disorders, and their friends and families. They are accessible via this website: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/

The Scottish Eating Disorders Interest Group (SEDIG) provides a range of information for people with eating disorders, their carers and loved ones, and healthcare professionals. They also link to local sources of support. They are accessible via this website: https://www.sedig.org/



For the latest blogs covering real-life experiences of living with an eating disorder, including recovery, visit:


Eating Disorder Hope

National Eating Disorders Assoc (NEDA) Blog 


Self-help guides

NHS self-help guide for managing eating disorders (1.4Mb PDF)
(Also available via: https://web.ntw.nhs.uk/selfhelp/leaflets/Eating%20Disorders.pdf)

A self-help guide towards recovery from binge-eating disorder (520kb PDF)
(Available via: https://bodywhys.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/BEDBookletUpload.pdf)

An Australian website which provides a series of self-help booklets you can work through. The booklets are organised into modules that you can work through one-by-one. The modules provide information about disordered eating, how it develops, how it is maintained and strategies to help you start to recover from disordered eating. Available via: https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Disordered-Eating


Information sheets

Normal Eating vs. Disordered Eating (289kb PDF)

Body Image and Body Dissatisfaction (119kb PDF)

What are the Risks (126kb PDF)

Regular Eating for Recovery  (76kb PDF)

Eating Disorders in Men  (63kb PDF)

Information for Carers (72kb PDF)



Anorexia Nervosa: A survival guide for families, friends and sufferers by Janet Treasure

Skills based learning for a loved one with an eating disorder: the new Maudsley method by Janet Treasure

Overcoming binge eating by Chris Fairbourne

Getting better bite by bite: a survival guide by Janet Treasure

The eating disorder recovery handbook: a practical guide to long-term recovery by Dr Nicola Davies and Emma Bacon

Urgent Help


If you, or someone you know, is in crisis and in imminent danger of causing harm to themselves or others, call 999 immediately

Help within 24 hours