Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Why We Should Be Eating Healthy Food

Eating healthy food = Food Variety

Healthy Food VarietyEating healthy food equals Food variety, which means eating a wide selection of foods from within and across each of the five food groups, in the amounts recommended.
Eating a wide variety of foods increases the likelihood that you will receive sufficient quantities of all essential nutrients, which vary in amount and combination among different foods. This will help to improve your health and may help prevent diseases.
The five food groups as laid out in the The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables, legumes
  • Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, legumes
  • Bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese

Ways to include the five food groups in your diet

It’s not hard to be eating healthy food if you  include foods from the major food groups into snacks and meals. Here are some suggestions:
  • Fruit – this is easy to carry as a snack or it can be included as a part of most meals. For example, try a banana with your breakfast cereal, an apple for morning tea and an orange for an afternoon snack. Fresh whole fruit is recommended over fruit juices and drinks because fruit juices and drinks generally contain less fiber and are more concentrated sources of sugar and energy.
  • Vegetables and legumes – 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’.
  • Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, legumes and tofu – these can all provide protein. It’s easy to include a mixture of protein into snacks and meals.
  • Bread, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles – grains and cereals come from a wide variety of sources including breakfast cereals (oats, muesli and wholegrain flakes), wholemeal breads and biscuits, rice, barley, corn and varieties of pasta.
  • Milk, yoghurt and cheese – eat a diverse range of dairy foods including milk, cottage cheese, yogurt and other types of cheese.

Good food variety means good nutrition

If you decide to start eating healthy food and eat a variety of good food, your diet will provide you with adequate nutrition. However, you should remember that:
  • how your foods are grown, stored and prepared can affect nutrient value
  • Food variety is not based on how often or how much of each food you eat
  • Providing energy (kilojoules) is not the only reason for food variety. It also helps ensure that other important parts of your dietary needs, such as fibre, are part of your diet.

So, rather than worry about following the latest diet, think about your health and your lifestyle instead. Start your journey to eating healthy food by learning more about your food and what is good for you.

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