WHY IS HEALTHY EATING IMPORTANT?
To function properly, the human body requires over 50 nutrients, which can only be obtained from the foods we eat. A nutrient that cannot be made by the body is termed 'essential'. One example of this is the Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which are required for normal growth, development and many other processes in the body.
HOW TO EAT HEALTHILY TO GET THE NUTRIENTS YOU NEED
Incorporate the dietary guidelines into your life to get your body firing. By eating a wide variety of different foods, you get all the nutrients you need. The Australian Government is in the process of updating the Dietary Guidelines for Australians and this process should be finalised in 2012.
The Dietary Guidelines for Australians – a path to healthy eating
- Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods:
- Eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits
- Eat plenty of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta, noodles), preferably wholegrain
- Include lean meat, fish, poultry and/or alternatives
- Include milks, yoghurts, cheeses and/or alternatives. Reduced fat varieties should be chosen, where possible
- Drink plenty of water
- Take care to:
- Limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake
- Choose foods low in salt
- Limit your alcohol intake if you choose to drink
- Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars
- Prevent weight gain: be physically active and eating according to your energy needs.
- Care for your food: prepare and store it safely
- Encourage and support breast-feeding
INCORPORATE THE DIETARY GUIDELINES INTO YOUR LIFE
- Aim to try one new food a week, or try a healthy way of preparing old favourites.
- When planning a meal, start with moderate amounts of carbohydrate rich foods like wholegrain bread, pasta, rice, noodles, cereal, oats, or fruit and vegetables. Then add lean meat, poultry or reduced fat dairy products for protein. This way you can be sure of getting adequate carbohydrate, protein and nutrients. Try to fill half your plate with vegetables at your evening meal.
- Choose mono or poly-unsaturated margarine spreads on your bread, rolls and muffins.
- Find ways to be more active. Make walking the dog or that visit to the gym a regular thing. Incorporating small amounts often is just as beneficial as one long session.
- Snack on fresh fruit and vegetables in between meals and add variety with portion controlled nutrient dense snack foods.
- If you drink alcohol, stay hydrated by introducing a non-alcoholic spacer, such as plain mineral water and try to have two alcohol free days per week
- Enjoy the sweetness of fruit such as strawberries, mangoes, dates or figs the next time your sweet tooth strikes
- Leave the salt shaker in the cupboard and start experimenting with herbs, spices, lemon and lime-juice or mustards to add flavour to your meals and try the salt reduced version of some of your favourite foods
- If you are pregnant, find out all you can about breast feeding now. Women who are informed and confident about breast-feeding tend to have greater success
- A tub of reduced fat yoghurt makes a handy snack and is a great way to boost your calcium intake
- Start the day with an iron-rich meal – use an iron fortified breakfast cereal, and then add a piece of fruit rich in vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron better
FOODS TO HELP YOU ALONG THE PATH TO HEALTHY EATING
- Fruits and vegetables of many different colours, along with a variety of herbs and spices.
- Wholegrain muffins, pita bread, rolls, bagels and breads
- High fibre breakfast cereals including oats
- Rice, pasta and low fat Asian noodles use wholegrain/wholemeal variety where possible
- Lean meat (beef, lamb, pork) and skinless poultry
- All types of fish including salmon and tuna
- Reduced fat dairy products including milk, cheese and yoghurt
- Unsaturated and monounsaturated spreads and oils like margarines, olive, sunflower and canola oils
This fact sheet contains general information and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific advice for your personal situation.
If you would like current information about our products please go to www.nestle.com.au/brands or call our Consumer Services Department during business hours on 1800 025 361.
Australian Dietary Guidelines and Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (last updated 2 April 2009)
Australian Government Consumer Resources http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-food-resources.htm#consumers
Australian Government process updating guidelines, http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your_health/healthy/nutrition/index.htm#blog
Australian Alcohol Guidelines http://www.alcohol.gov.au/internet/alcohol/publishing.nsf/Content/guidelines
Dietitians Association of Australia Food and Nutrition – Healthy Eating Links, http://www.daa.asn.au/index.asp?pageID=2145834536
Dietitians Association of Australian Healthy Eating Self Assessment, http://www.daa.asn.au/smart_eating/quiz/index.asp