The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is the national food selection guide. The Guide provides us with information about the amounts and types of food that need to be eaten each day to get enough of the nutrients essential for good health and wellbeing. The Guide is designed to suit most healthy people but may not be appropriate for people with certain health problems. If you want advice individualised just for you, you should see a dietitian or ask your doctor.
A diet in line with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends we consume a variety of foods across and within the five food groups, and avoid foods that contain too much added fat, salt and sugar. This aims to promote healthy eating habits throughout life, which will help reduce the risk of health problems later, such as heart disease, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and some Cancers.
The five foods groups are grouped together mainly on the basis of their nutrients:
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating food selection guide represents a plate, and shows the recommended size of each food group to be eaten. It's important to note that the number of serves differs according to age, gender and whether or not the person is pregnant or breastfeeding.
There are five key recommendations featured in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Each Guideline is equally important in terms of public health outcomes.
Children and adolescents should eat sufficient nutritious foods to grow and develop normally. They should be physically active every day and their growth should be checked regularly.
Older people should eat nutritious foods and keep physically active to help maintain muscle strength and a healthy weight.
a) Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as many biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips, crisps and other savoury snacks.
- Replace high fat foods which contain predominantly saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil, with foods which contain predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
- Low fat diets are not suitable for children under the age of 2 years.
b) Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added salt.
- Read labels to choose lower sodium options among similar foods.
- Do not add salt to foods in cooking or at the table.
c) Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks.
d) If you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake. For women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.