It’s easy to make little changes to bring your eating closer in line with the five Australian dietary guidelines, regardless of where you’re starting. If your current diet is quite different to the recommendations, try starting with just one or two little changes at a time rather than changing everything at once. Once those first few changes have become the norm, add a couple more. Remember, even a little step towards healthier eating is better than doing nothing at all!
If you’re not sure where to start, you can break it down into two key messages:
Include the five food groups in your diet.
Cut back on ‘occasional’ foods.
Include the five food groups in your diet
A healthy diet focuses on the five major food groups. The ‘daily serves’ tables on our Healthy eating page tell you how many serves you should be eating from each of these groups every day.
It’s not hard to include foods from the five food groups into snacks and meals. Some suggestions include:
vegetables and legumes or beans – raw or cooked vegetables can be used as a snack food or as a part of lunch and dinner. Salad vegetables can be used as a sandwich filling. Vegetable soup can make a healthy lunch. Stir-fries, vegetable patties and vegetable curries make nutritious evening meals. Try raw vegetables like carrot and celery sticks for a snack ‘on the run’ or just keep a box of cut up raw vegetables front and centre in your fridge to catch your eye when you’re looking for an easy snack. These are perfect teamed with bean-based dips such as hummus (made from chickpeas)
fruit – fruit is easy to carry as a snack and can be included in most meals. Try a banana with your breakfast cereal, an apple for morning tea, and add some berries to your yoghurt for an afternoon snack. Fresh whole fruit is recommended over fruit juice and dried fruit
grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain– add rice, pasta or noodles to serves of protein (such as lean meat, fish, poultry, legumes, beans or tofu) and vegetables for an all-round meal. There are many varieties to try. Where possible, choose wholegrain breads and cereals as these will provide more nutrients and fibre, which helps keeps your digestive system healthy. Check the fibre content by looking at the nutrition information panel on the back of a product – choose options that have 3 g or more of fibre per serve
lean meats and poultry, fish , eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes or beans – these can all provide protein. Try adding lean meat to your sandwich or have a handful of nuts as a snack. Legumes and beans can also be added to most meals (for example, soups or stews) or make meat stretch further (for example, when added to a bolognese sauce)
milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives (mostly reduced fat) – try adding yoghurt to breakfast cereal with milk, or using cottage cheese as a sandwich filling. Shavings of parmesan or cheddar can be used to top steamed vegetables or a salad.