Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April
Healthy eating tips from the Life! Program to improve your health and reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Congratulations for making the pledge to increase your physical activity for Active April. You have already taken the first step to better health. In fact, research shows that just 30 minutes of moderate activity every day (like brisk walking) has many health benefits, including: reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke; reduced stress and anxiety; increased energy; increased muscle strength and weight control.
Whilst physical activity is vital for health and wellbeing, it is equally important to pay close attention to your diet to ensure you are providing your body with adequate nutrition to nourish your body, build tissue, repair muscle and provide energy.
The Life! Program is a diabetes, heart disease and stroke prevention program that can give you the tools to live a healthier life. Take the test to see if you are eligible and read the Life! Program’s top tips for healthy eating to improve your health and wellbeing below:
Eat a wide variety of healthy foods including vegetables, fruit, wholegrain cereals, raw unsalted nuts, low fat dairy products, lean meat, fish, skinless chicken and legumes.
Fuel up on breakfast: choose a high fibre breakfast cereal such as untoasted muesli, rolled oats or bran-based cereals. If you prefer toast for breakfast, choose multigrain, wholemeal, rye or sourdough varieties and replace butter and jam with avocado, tuna or baked beans.
Aim for 2-3 serves of dairy per day. A serve is equivalent to 250mL milk or 200g yoghurt. Choose low fat or reduced fat milk, yoghurt and cheese where possible.
Include some lean protein in each meal, especially fish (80g-120g), skinless chicken and lean red meat (no bigger than the palm of your hand). Other alternative protein sources include low fat dairy, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds. Limit processed meats such as bacon, sausages and salami as these tend to be high in saturated fat and salt.
Most Australians don’t eat enough fibre. To increase your daily fibre intake include: wholegrain cereals; switch to wholemeal or multigrain breads and brown rice; choose plant sources of protein such as legumes, nuts and seeds and aim for 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit each day.
Fat contains a lot of energy (kilojoules) and when this isn’t used up through physical activity, we store this excess on our bodies as excess weight. Try to reduce the amount of fat in your diet by leaving spreads off your bread, choosing cooking methods that don’t require added fat/oil (for example, grilling instead of frying) and limiting high fat snacks (such as chips).
Look for reduced salt or low salt foods. Choose products containing 120mg per 100g or less when reading labels.
Choose vegetable sticks, fruit, low fat vegetable or yoghurt based dips, wholegrain crackers, cherry tomatoes, low fat natural yoghurt, dried fruit and raw nuts instead of chips, cakes, chocolate, biscuits and energy bars.
Water is always the best drink of choice. Fizzy drinks, alcohol, sports drinks and cordials are often very high in energy (kilojoules) and sugar. If you choose to drink alcohol, aim for a maximum of two standard drinks a day, with at least two alcohol free days per week.
Aim for five serves of vegetables every day. One serve is equal to half a cup of cooked vegetables or a full cup of salad. Add chopped veggies to stir-fries, omelettes, soups, salads, stews, casseroles, patties and rissoles. Go for a variety of colour to increase nutrients.
Eat two pieces of fruit a day. Choose whole fruit instead of fruit juice or fruit drinks, which contain energy (kilojoules) but little fibre. You can use fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruit. Buy fruits that are in season, they cost less and taste better.
Changing your lifestyle isn’t easy, especially on your own. The Life! Program gives you the motivation and support needed to make and maintain positive changes to adopt healthy behaviours and a more active lifestyle. Run by expert health professionals, the program is delivered as a Group Course or a Telephone Health Coaching service.
To find out more call 13RISK (13 74 75) or visit the Life! Program website. Take the first step to good health today. Complete the AUSDRISK test and learn more about your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The Life! Program is funded by the Victorian Government and managed by Diabetes Victoria.
Last updated: April 7, 2017 at: 5:07 pm
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