What does eating well look like?
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is a simple guide to help us eat enough of the delicious healthy foods we need to promote health and wellbeing; reduce the risk of diet-related conditions (such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure); and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease and some types of cancers.
There are 5 Food Groups that make up the Australian Guide for Healthy Eating, and are essential to eat every day as part of a healthy diet.
Vegetables and legumes/beans
- Enjoy a variety of different types and colours of fresh vegetables.
- Frozen and tinned vegetables are good options too. If you choose tinned vegetables, try to choose no added or reduced salt products.
- Enjoy a variety of different types and colours of fresh fruit.
- Frozen and canned fruit in water or juice (with no added sugar) are good options too.
- If you choose to drink fruit juice (no added sugar), enjoy it only sometimes and in small amounts (1 serve = 1/2 cup or 125mLs).
Grain (cereal) foods
- Choose mostly wholegrain and/or high fibre (at least 3g of fibre per serve) cereal varieties such as wholegrain bread, wholemeal pasta, brown rice and wholegrain breakfast cereals with no/low added sugar.
Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
- Eat a variety of foods from this group.
- Alternatives to animal foods include tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes and beans.
Milk, yoghurt, cheese
- Choose mostly reduced fat varieties.
- If you prefer to avoid dairy drinks, choose alternatives which are calcium fortified (have calcium added), such as soy, almond or rice drinks.
Unsaturated fats and oils
Fat is an essential part of our diet. However, there are different types of fats –and some fats are healthier than others. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating includes an allowance for a small amount of healthy unsaturated fats every day. Unsaturated fats reduce the risk of heart disease and, when they replace (less healthy) saturated fats, lower cholesterol levels in our blood.
Discretionary (sometimes) foods
Some foods are not an essential part of a healthy diet because they are high in saturated fat, added salt, added sugar and/or alcohol. These foods are called discretionary foods or sometimes foods. If chosen, sometimes foods should only be eaten sometimes (not every day), and in small amounts. Most of us try to eat foods from the Five Food Groups as much as possible, however with so many sometimes food available where we live, learn, work and play, it can make it harder to eat a healthy diet.
How much do I need?
We all need different amounts and combinations of the five food groups every day, depending on our age, gender and how active we are.
Use the Eat for Health Calculator to find out how much of the 5 Food Groups you need to eat each day to get enough of the vitamins and minerals essential for health and wellbeing. Alternatively, seek advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian.