There seems to be a new diet out each and every week with information that can be contradictory and confusing.
To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, we need to be physically active and choose nutritious food and drinks in the right amounts to meet your energy needs. We have included some guidelines to help you achieve balanced eating habits.
Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods everyday from the five food groups. The five food groups includes:
- Vegetables, eat plenty of vegetables including different types and colours, and legumes/beans, and enjoy them raw or cooked.
- Fruit: 2 serves per day is usually adequate. Choose a variety of different fruits over the week.
- Grain (cereal) foods. Aim to choose wholegrain and/or high fibre varieties of breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
- Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
- Reduced fat milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives (reduced fat milks are not suitable for children under the age of two years)
Limit your intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt and added sugars
- Foods high in saturated fat, salt and /or sugar include biscuits, cakes, pastries,
pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips,
crisps and other savoury snacks.
Choose the right fats
- Replace saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with mono- and polyunsaturated fats such as canola and olive oil, margarine spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
- Trim the visible fat off meat, opt for lean cuts of meat, remove the skin off poultry and choose chicken breast over thigh or drumsticks.
Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added salt
- Read labels to choose lower sodium (salt) options among similar foods.
- Do not add salt to foods in cooking or at the table.
- Use herbs and spices to flavour meals instead of salt.
Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars
- Foods and drinks that are high in added sugar include confectionery, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, slices, ice cream and sugary breakfast cereal, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, milkshakes, flavoured milk, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks. Try to limit these types of food and drinks to special occasions.
Drink plenty of water
- Swap sugary soft drinks, cordial, fruit juice or energy drinks for water.
- Carry a drink bottle so that you always have some close by.
- Have a big glass of water before each meal.
If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your intake
- Aim to have 2 alcohol free days each week
- Drink in moderation and stick within the guidelines; 2 standard drinks for men and 1 standard drink for females.
- It is important to aim for a regular eating pattern to help meet the recommended serves of nutritious foods.
- Try not to skip breakfast: studies show that people who consume breakfast daily are more likely to be a healthy weight and it’s a great opportunity to get some extra fibre into your day. Include a breakfast based on wholegrain breads and cereals, add some protein such as low fat yoghurt or milk to cereal or eggs to toast and top it off with a serve of fruit or vegetables for a balanced meal.
- If you like to have dessert choose fruit and/or low fat dairy products such as milk, yoghurt or custard for a healthy option which contains fibre, calcium and various other vitamins and minerals.
- Snack on healthy foods such as fruit, low fat yoghurt, wholegrain crackers with low fat cheese or a small handful of plain unsalted nuts.
- Freeze leftovers so that there is always something quick and easy for those busy nights.
- Plan your meals and snacks for the week and write up a grocery list accordingly; this will ensure you have all the ingredients ready to go. Planning your meals can also help to reduce waste.
- Stock the fridge, freezer and pantry with healthy foods and you will choose healthy food
For more information visit Eat for Health
An accredited practicing dietitian can provide you with individualised advice - click here to find a dietitian