The food and drink choices we make, along with the amount we consume and our level of physical activity, all contribute to our overall health. Choosing nutritious food and drink options that are low in sugar, salt and saturated fat, along with keeping physically active is important for good health.
As part of a healthy diet, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating a variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day. Consuming a variety of foods from each of the food groups helps provide our bodies with essential nutrients. The five food groups are:
Here’s how you can make healthier choices within these five food groups:
Vegetables and Fruit
Vegetables and fruit are an important part of a healthy diet as they provide vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Fresh, frozen, and canned fruit and vegetables that are low in sugar and salt are all nutritious options. Here is what to look out for:
Did you know that Australian adults should be aiming for at least 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit every day?
A serve of vegetables is about 75g, which for example is the same as ½ cup cooked peas or 1 medium tomato. A serve of fruit is about 150g, which is one medium banana or two small kiwi fruits.
Wholegrain foods like brown rice, wholemeal breads and wholemeal pasta provide more health benefits than refined grains, like white bread and white rice.
Wholegrains provide energy (mainly from the carbohydrates, but also some from protein), fibre, vitamins and minerals. Some easy ways we can increase our consumption of wholegrain foods are:
Lean Meats and Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Tofu, Nuts and Seeds, and Legumes/Beans
This food group contains both animal and plant-based sources of protein. When we consume a variety of protein sources, we also help provide our body with essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and B group vitamins. Examples include:
Choose leaner cuts of meat and chicken where possible, to reduce your intake of saturated fat. Legumes can be a more affordable option and also help increase our dietary fibre intake. Try and add some beans or chickpeas to your next meat based dish, to increase your intake of legumes and use less meat.
Heinz have a selection of canned chilli and baked beanz to choose from, so why not give beans a go!
Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese and/or their Alternatives
Not only do milk and milk products provide protein, they also provide vitamins like vitamin D and B12, as well as minerals like calcium. Choose low or reduced fat options like lite or skim milk, edam cheese and low-fat unsweetened yoghurt.
If choosing non-dairy milk alternatives like plant-based milks, choose products that are fortified with calcium and vitamin B12, so you aren’t missing out on some of those important nutrients that dairy foods provide.
National Health and Medical Research Council (2013) Australian Dietary Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council.