Do you meet the new Australian dietary guidelines?

The new Australian dietary guidelines have been updated. How do you fare?

Published by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the guidelines note that Australians need to make a few changes:

  1. We need more vegetables
  2. We need more whole grain foods
  3. We need more reduced-fat dairy and lean meats
  4. We need less fried foods and confectionery

It also points out that we often forget the amount of calories in drinks - juices soft drinks and alcohol are the main offenders so make water your everyday choice.

A major theme of the guidelines is serving size. Eating the right amount of food is just as important as eating the right kind of food so it pays to read up on how much food you really need. Dr Naras Lapsys has put together a detailed guide on portion sizes for you to use and tips on how to choose your meals sensibly.

With that in mind have a read of the guidelines and see how your diet compares.


The 5 guidelines - Plus tips on how to meet them


1. “To achieve and maintain a healthy weight be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs."

  • Start by eating a healthy breakfast.
  • Prepare meals for busy days so you don't turn to fast food or takeaway.
  • Snack on fruit or vegetables - try one of our Smart snacks.
  • Prioritise home cooking over eating out or takeaway.


2. “Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five food groups every day: vegetables, fruit, grain, protein (lean meat, eggs, nuts) and dairy."

  • When you buy vegetables try and choose different coloured ones - they usually have different combinations of nutrients.
  • Buy fresh in-season produce. It's tastier and will expose you to some new recipes.
  • Choose whole-grain bread, pasta and rice over white varieties.
  • Fresh natural foods are usually cheap and filling making them a great value. Consider buying frozen veggies in bulk to save even more.

3. “Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat added salt added sugars and alcohol."

  • Make the effort to buy healthy snacks when you go shopping so you don't fall prey to vending machines or impulse buys
  • Eat unsaturated fats in foods like nuts, fish, eggs and avocado.
  • Grill steam boil or stir-fry your food instead of deep-frying it.
  • Avoid processed foods which usually overcompensate with salt.
  • If you're getting fast food or takeaway go for wraps and rolls rather than pies or fast food.

4. “Encourage support and promote breastfeeding."

  • Breastmilk helps reduce the risk of asthma, eczema and other allergies and sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Breastfeeding only directly applies to a few people but it is important for public spaces like restaurants and workplaces to support breastfeeding mothers by providing facilities for their use.
  • Awareness helps everyone see that breastfeeding is the natural normal and healthy way to feed our babies.

5. “Care for your food; prepare and store it safely."

  • Keep your fridge and freezer clean and make sure they are set at the right temperature (fridges at or below 5°C and freezer between -15° and -18°C).
  • Check best-before and use-by date of food regularly especially canned goods that might have sat in the cupboard for a long time.
  • Wash fruit and veggies before you eat them.

In combination with regular exercise following these tips will help you achieve your wellness goals whether it is losing weight feeling more energetic or entering a fun run - everything!

Written by Jack Rothery

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