Healthy Eating Pyramid should be considered by everyone.
The Healthy Eating Pyramid is Nutrition Australia’s own food selection guide which is also based on the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines.
It shows the five core food groups according to how much each contributes to a balanced diet. It is based on the recommended food intakes for 19-50 years old, but it is generally applicable to all ages 1–70.
It is a food selection guide which visually represents the proportion of the five food groups recommended for consumption each day.
Discretionary (optional, non-compulsory, voluntary) choices can be enjoyed occasionally as part of a balanced diet, but only in small amounts. We recommend limiting your intake to one serve per day as a maximum (approx. 600kJ);
· sweet biscuits, cakes and desserts
· processed meats and sausages
· ice-cream, confectionery and chocolate
meat pies and other pastries
· commercial burgers, hot chips, and fried foods
· crisps and other fatty and/or salty snacks
cream and butter
· sugar-sweetened cordials, soft drinks, fruit drinks and sports drinks
· alcoholic drinks
The Healthy Eating Pyramid encourages Australians to enjoy a variety of foods from every food group, every day.
The foundation layers include the three plant-based food groups:
Vegetables and legumes
These layers make up the largest portion of the Pyramid because plant foods should make up the largest portion of our diet – around 70% of what we eat!
Plant foods contain a wide variety of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are also the main source of carbohydrates and fibre in our diet.
Older children, teens and adults should aim to have at least 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables or legumes each day.
From the grains food group, choose mostly whole grains (such as brown rice, oats and quinoa), and wholemeal/wholegrain/high cereal fibre varieties of bread, pasta, crisp breads and cereal foods (over highly processed, refined varieties).
The middle layer includes the milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives and the lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes food groups.
Foods in the milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives group primarily provide us with calcium and protein, plus other vitamins and minerals. This food group also refers to non-dairy options such as soy, rice or cereal milks which have at least 100mg per 100ml of added calcium. Choose reduced fat options of these foods to limit excess kilojoules from saturated fat.
Foods in the lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes section are our main sources of protein. But each food also provides a unique mix of nutrients, including iodine, iron, zinc, B12 vitamins and healthy fats. We should aim to have a variety of meat and non-meat options from this food group.
The top layer refers to healthy fats because we need small amounts every day to support heart health and brain function. We should choose foods that contain healthy fats instead of foods that contain saturated fats and trans fats.
Choose unrefined polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from plant sources, such as extra virgin olive oil, nut and seed oils. Limit the amount of saturated fat you consume and avoid trans fats.
We also get healthy fats from foods in the other food groups, such as avocados, nuts, seeds and fish, so we only need a little bit extra from oils and spreads each day.
Lastly, Many herbs and spices have health-promoting properties, but since we tend to eat them in smaller amounts their primary purpose is to flavour and colour our meals.
Cooking with fresh, dried or ground herbs and spices is an easy way to create foods that suit your tastes, and increase your enjoyment of home-made meals without needing to use salt when cooking or eating.
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