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Tips for healthy eating

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so start by making just one change a week, and build up from there. There are lots of ways to eat less sometimes foods including swapping them for 5 Food Group foods, eating more mindfully, planning for eating out, and limiting portion size.

Eating less sugar

  • Drink plain tap water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Don’t add sugar to cereal, tea, coffee and other drinks. . To make it easier, try reducing the amount of sugar you add gradually, or try other natural sweeteners such as fruit or yoghurt on cereal instead
  • If you need a snack, try unsweetened yoghurt, fresh fruit or a small handful of unsalted nuts instead of grabbing a biscuit, cake, lollies or chocolate.
  • When shopping, check food labels for the sugar content of the product (look for products with less than 15g sugar per 100g), and look for ‘no added sugar’ alternatives.
  • If you choose a sometimes food, choose them only sometimes and in small amounts. Sometimes foods include high-sugar processed foods and drinks such as lollies, chocolates, soft drinks, energy and sports drinks, fruit drinks, cordials, as well as cakes, biscuits and ice creams.

Eating less salt

  • Avoid adding salt to cooking and at the table.
  • Use smaller amounts of high salt ingredients such as sauces and try using herbs, spices, garlic or ginger instead.
  • Look for and use no added salt or reduced salt products when you can (for example no added salt tinned tomatoes and no added salt baked beans).
  • When shopping, check food labels for the sodium content of the product, and look for ‘reduced salt/sodium’ or ‘no added salt’ products. Foods with less than 400mg per 100g are good, and less than 120mg per 100g are best.

Eating less saturated fat

  • Swap foods high in saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods rich in unsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
  • Swap cream on desserts for low-fat ricotta mixed with a little apple juice, or a dollop of low-fat yoghurt.
  • Swap sour cream on savoury meals for a dollop of low-fat natural or Greek yoghurt.
  • Swap fatty, processed sandwich meats such as fritz, salami and mettwurst for lean turkey, chicken, beef, tuna, salmon or sardines.
  • Swap fatty cuts of meat for leaner ones. Choose lean beef, lamb or pork cutlets, and trim off any visible fat on meat, and skin on chicken before cooking.
  • Swap deep-fried meat, chicken or fish for grilled or oven-baked.
  • Swap creamy dishes for tomato-based dishes, or swap cream in recipes for a tin of reduced fat (or light) evaporated milk.
  • Swap biscuits, cakes and pastries for healthier alternatives such as a delicious fruit platter or fruit loaf with a little unsaturated margarine.
  • For the occasional treat, bake a homemade cake using margarine or unsaturated oils like canola, olive, safflower, sunflower, peanut.

Eat mindfully

By eating mindfully, you will enjoy food more and end up needing less food to feel satisfied.

  • Eat slowly, ‘mindfully’ without distractions like the TV.
  • Concentrate on how a food looks, smells, tastes and feels in your mouth and stomach.
  • Put cutlery down between mouthfuls when you’re chewing, or sip water in between swallows to slow your pace.

Planning for eating out or buying takeaway

  • Swap fried or crumbed foods for grilled, steamed or fresh foods.
  • Swap creamy or cheesy sauces for tomato or vegetable-based sauces.
  • Swap a side of chips or wedges for a baked potato.
  • Swap a main course for an entrée-sized meal.
  • Choose leaner cuts of meat and trim any visible fat from your meat.
  • Remove any skin from chicken dishes.
  • Ask for the sauce, dressing or butter on the side – then you are in control of how much you add.
  • Add extra veggies wherever you can – order a side of veggies or a salad, add extra veggies to pizza, or choose a vegetable-based soup.
  • Choose fruit-based desserts or swap cream for yoghurt, sorbet or custard.
  • Swap sweet drinks or alcohol for plain or sparkling water.
  • If kilojoules are shown on the menu, choose a lower kilojoule meal.
  • Listen to your stomach, eat slowly and stop when you are full.

Limiting the portion size of sometimes foods

If you choose to eat sometimes foods, choose them only sometimes, and in small amounts.

Eat for Health has more information about whether and how much sometimes foods might be suitable for you, and what one serve of sometimes food looks like.

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