To help reduce your risk of chronic disease, a balanced diet is recommended. It contains a wide variety of nutritious foods while taking care with the amount of foods consumed that contain fat, salt, added sugar and alcohol.
Dietary Guidelines for Australian adults
Eating well for good health
Dietary Guidelines for Australian adultsThe Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults, amongst other recommendations, encourage people to enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods:
- eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits
- eat plenty of cereals including breads, rice, pasta and noodles preferably wholegrain
- include lean meat, fish, poultry, and/or alternatives such as eggs, legumes and nuts
- include milk, yoghurts and cheeses and/or alternatives. Low-fat varieties should be chosen where possible and
- drink plenty of water
- limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake
- choose foods low in salt
- limit your alcohol intake if you choose to drink and
- consume only moderate amounts of sugars, and foods and drinks containing added sugars.
Eating well for good health
Things to do
- Eat more fruit and vegetables; at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day. The diagram below illustrates what one serve of fruit or vegetables is:
- Keep a record of your daily food intake for three days, and ensure you include at least one weekday and one day on the weekend to see if your eating habits have changed. Download the weekly meal planner/food diary to track and plan your meals.
- Eat regular meals – and don’t forget breakfast. If you skip meals, you’ll be more likely to eat high fat, high sugar food when you’re hungry. Planning meals ahead can help you ensure that you eat regular meals
- Eat more fibre-containing foods such as oats, wheat, bran, legumes, vegetables and fruit by including these in your meals and snacks
- Drink plenty of water. Water is the best and cheapest drink. Water provides the fluid we need, without the added kilojoules or caffeine found in many other drinks
Things to limit
- Consider your portion sizes
- Eat less processed food
- Limit your alcohol intake if you choose to drink. Alcohol is energy dense and can contribute to weight gain
- Limit your intake of ‘extra foods’ like unhealthy snacks and take-away foods
Nutrition requirementsThe total amount of food that you need each day to provide you with your energy and nutrient needs will vary depending on your age, sex and activity levels, and whether or not you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia provides recommended dietary intake levels (RDIs) for energy and the various nutrients across various conditions, age and sex categories. The RDIs are specified in the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand.
Your specific nutrition needs may vary slightly from those recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council due to genetic differences and/or the amount of physical activity that you undertake, compared to the overall population for your age and gender.
However, in general, eating a balanced diet and following the seven golden rules for healthy eating will provide you with the RDIs that you need. Additional information on how to eat a balanced diet that provides you with your RDIs for energy and nutrients from the various food groups is outlined in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. For further specific nutrition advice on an individual basis, this is best sought from an accredited practising dietitian-nutritionist.