Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April
We are too often swamped with rules for a ‘healthy diet’ that it can be hard sorting fact from fiction. Nutrition Australia is here to save the day with their top four tips for keeping meals healthy and balanced.
Most of the time we are told to cut out a lot of different foods, or even whole food groups, to maintain a healthy diet. But somehow after all that we still end up with a more expensive grocery list! So what is the truth? And is there anything useful we can take from this deluge of information?
The truth is, cutting down on some foods is a good idea, but healthy eating is also about the foods you add in for health benefits, too! Here are Nutrition Australia’s top tips for eating healthy:
The key to a healthy and balanced diet is filling your day with a variety of minimally-processed foods from the five core food groups. They are fruits, vegetables and legumes, grain foods, lean meats and alternatives, dairy foods and alternatives, and a small amount of healthy fats.
Did you know that on average around one third of our daily energy intake comes from ‘junk’ foods like cakes, fried foods, alcohol and sugary drinks? These are often high in added fat, salt and sugar, and take the place of all those lovely nutritious foods in the Pyramid. Cutting back on nutrient-poor junk foods happens to be something most fad diets have in common, which is most likely why people see results with them – not because they cut out whole food groups, like grains or dairy.
A great first step to healthier eating is to focus on adding more plant foods to your day – vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes and grain foods. There’s a reason the plant-based food groups make up the foundation layers of the Healthy Eating Pyramid – they should be around three quarters of our daily intake.
Plant foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other properties which help keep us healthy from inside out. Eating a variety of plant foods every day is linked to better physical health, gut health, and even mental health. Plus, the fibre helps us feel fuller for longer, which can prevent overeating and help us resist temptation for later.
The average Australian eats less than half of their recommended amount of vegetables each day. So if there’s one thing to take away from this, it’s “eat more vegetables.” This can be as simple as taking a carrot to work, or enjoying some cut up veg with a plant-based dip (like carrots, celery, capsicum, beans or snow peas with hummus or guacamole). Try adding an extra serve of vegetables to lunch and dinner, too. In fact, 2016 is the UN’s International Year of Pulses, so get involved by adding some lentils, chickpeas or kidney beans to your next meal.
Remember, all the food groups are important as they have their own unique combinations of nutrients that we need to maintain good health, prevent disease and to look and feel brighter. So ditch the fad diets and restrictive rules, and find new and interesting ways to enjoy a variety of foods from ALL five food groups … and don’t forget to eat more vegetables.
For more handy healthy eating tips and tasty recipes visit the Nutrition Australia website.
Last updated: November 29, 2016 at: 4:36 pm
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