Eating a healthy diet is important to help reduce the risk of serious health conditions and improve your quality of life. It means eating a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups, in the recommended amounts.
The 4 main healthy eating guidelines are:
1. Eat a range of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods (2 or more servings a day).
Fruit and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, C, K and many dietary fibres. They should make up about a third of the food you eat.
2. Eat a variety of protein foods (2 or more servings a day).
Protein provides the building blocks for your body. It helps keep you feeling full and gives you energy. It also helps build and repair tissues, including muscle. Choose lean meat, fish, eggs, beans and unsalted nuts and seeds.
3. Choose a variety of fats (including unsaturated fats).
You need some fat in your diet, but it is best to limit saturated and trans fats and eat more unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are healthier than saturated fats and can help protect against heart disease.
4. Choose a low-sodium diet.
A diet high in salt can increase your risk of developing health problems, such as high blood pressure and stroke. Salt can also affect how your body handles the nutrients it gets from food. It’s recommended that adults and children aged 11 and over eat no more than 6g of salt a day, or about a teaspoonful. Children under 11 should eat even less.
5. Limit foods and beverages high in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
Limiting foods and drinks that are high in added sugars, saturated fats and sodium can help you control your weight, prevent heart disease and high blood pressure. It’s also a good idea to avoid foods and drinks that contain artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives.