Combining healthy eating with exercise will help achieve and maintain a healthy weight and have the energy you need to live life to the full.
It’s never too late to start improving the way you eat or to engage in gentle exercise to get you on your way.
What is healthy eating?
You can start enjoying a healthy balanced diet today simply by following these five tips:
- eat a variety of foods
- include vegetables, wholegrains, fruit, nuts and seeds every day
- choose healthier fats and oils
- try to limit sugary, fatty and salty take-away meals and snacks, and
- drink mainly water.
Healthy eating and drinking
Healthy eating and drinking is an important part of looking after your health. Here are some easy tips to help you to follow a healthy balanced diet.
Eat a variety of foods, including vegetables, wholegrains, lean meats, oily fish, fruit, low, reduced or no fat dairy, and vegetable and seed oils. Remember to also include nuts, seeds and legumes.
Make plant-based foods the main part of each meal. Include vegetables, wholegrains, fruit, nuts and seeds every day.
Include five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day.
Choose wholegrain breads and breakfast cereals, and include pasta, noodles and rice.
Try to include legumes and pulses in at least two meals a week. Legumes and pulses include canned beans (e.g. baked beans, kidney beans and three bean mix), dried peas (e.g. split peas), dried beans (e.g. butter beans and broad beans), chickpeas or lentils.
Fats and oils
Fats are an important part of a healthy balanced diet and you should not exclude them.
However the type of fats you include in your diet is important. Choose healthier unsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats. Use spreads and margarines made from canola, sunflower or olive oil and dairy blends.
You can use other foods, such as avocado or hommus, as an alternative to spreads and margarines two to three times a week.
Choose from a variety of vegetable and seed oils when you are preparing food. Healthier choices include canola, sunflower, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils.
Use salad dressings and mayonnaise made from canola, sunflower, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils.
Eat two to three serves of oily fish a week. A serving size of fish is 150 grams or approximately the size of your whole hand. Use fish oil capsules and omega-3 enriched foods and drinks to supplement your intake of omega-3 fats.
Select lean meat and poultry (meat trimmed of all visible fat and chicken without skin).
Try to limit processed meats (e.g. sausages) and deli meats (e.g. salami). Limit foods such as liver, kidneys and pate.
Try to limit take-away foods, such as pastries, pies, pizza, fried fish, hamburgers, hot chips and creamy pasta dishes to once a week. Healthier take-away choices include sushi or sashimi, Asian stir-fries, tomato-based pasta dishes, grilled fish, chicken and lean meat.
A healthy balanced diet can include a serve of eggs (two eggs) in two to three meals a week.
An easy way to reduce saturated and trans fat intake is to choose reduced, low or no fat dairy foods or calcium added non-dairy foods every day.
Consume reduced, low or no fat milk, yoghurt, custard and desserts.
Include small portions of cheese (one to two slices or 20-40 grams) up to four times a week. Lower fat cheeses, such as light tasty cheddar, ricotta, cottage and light mozzarella, are healthier choices.
A healthy balanced diet can include a serve of plain ice cream (1½ scoops or 50 grams) up to three times a week. Lower fat plain varieties are healthier choices.
It's better not to add salt to food. If you want to add flavour use herbs and spices. When shopping choose foods labelled no added salt, low salt or salt reduced where possible.
Healthy snacks include sliced raw vegetables with hommus, a piece of fresh fruit, a handful of dried fruit, up to a cup of canned fruit or a handful (30 grams) of plain, unsalted nuts. Other choices can be rice cakes and non-confectionery bars, such plain nut bars, seed bars and cereal bars.
Try to limit sugary, fatty and salty snack foods, such as crisps, cakes, pastries, biscuits, lollies and chocolate, to once a week
Choose mainly water to drink.
A small glass of fruit or vegetable juice can be consumed occasionally, but should not replace water.
Limit sugary drinks, such as soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juice drinks and cordials.
Drink coffee (regular or decaffeinated) and tea in moderation. If you use milk, choose reduced, low or no fat milk.
If you drink alcohol, have no more than two standard drinks a day.