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Nutrition and Hydration Week – tips from our experts

Nutrition and Hydration Week (13 to 19 March) highlights how essential food and drink are to good health and wellbeing, and this year’s theme focuses on gut health.

Our team of 12 community dietitians work across west Essex and advise people on food, health and nutrition. They use their scientific knowledge to help prevent disease and treat medical conditions.

Team lead dietitian Bridie Holland said: “The week highlights the importance of good nutrition and hydration and to keep both high on the agenda for all.

“Here are some of my top tips on how to stay hydrated, and also some healthy snack ideas below as a guide to help people.”

Top tips on how to stay hydrated

  • Always start your day with a glass of water
  • Use a variety of different low calorie and low sugar drinks
  • Bring a water bottle to work and keep it with you throughout the day
  • Schedule in drinks breaks during long meetings
  • Sip a drink in between tasks
  • Consider buying a water bottle that is insulated and has a measuring line
  • Set alarms to prompt you to stretch your legs and take a drink
  • Keep track of your fluid intake
  • Hydrate when you drink caffeine

Healthy snack ideas

  • Vegetable sticks and hummus
  • Celery sticks and cream cheese
  • Vegetable sticks and guacamole
  • Hardboiled egg
  • Crab sticks
  • Chicken pieces
  • Olives
  • Plain popcorn
  • Yogurt with chopped nuts
  • Yogurt with berries
  • Unsalted nuts and dried fruit
  • Cheese and seeded crackers
  • Cheese and grapes
  • Nut butter and apple slices
  • Nut butter and carrot sticks
  • Homemade fruit milkshake (e.g. milk, banana and ice)

Our community dietitians in west Essex cover a variety of specialist areas.

Community Services

We support housebound patients, including those in nursing or residential care, with good nutrition and medicine management. At any one time, we care for more than 500 patients, who are referred to us by community health teams, GPs, Social Care and acute hospitals.

GP Practice Service

We provide dietetic clinics for patients with a wide range of conditions at more than 30 GP surgeries and support people with diabetes in many practices.

Diabetes Education programmes

We offer the award-winning X-PERT diabetes education programme for people with Type 2 diabetes. The six-week programme aims to empower people to make more informed choices to improve their diabetes and transform their health. We also run carbohydrate insulin management education sessions for patients with Type 2 diabetes on insulin therapy.

Home Enteral Feeding

Our specialist home enteral feeding service supports about 140 patients at home or in care homes.

Specialist gastroenterology clinics

This service helps people requiring more specialist dietetic input for gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease and food intolerance. Our team of dietitians are trained to help successfully identify foods that are not easily broken down by the gut, and other food triggers that contribute to irritable bowel syndrome.

Other services

We support patients staying in our in-patient wards at St Margaret’s Hospital and Saffron Walden Community Hospital and a dietitian who works closely with our Adult Mental Health Service.

We also support patients in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation group and who are struggling with symptoms from Long COVID.


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