It’s time we got back to basic. What you eat affects your whole body, not just your waistline. A healthy diet leads to more energy and a higher chance of preventing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, bowel cancer, heart diseases and osteoporosis.
In Australia malnutrition is rarely a problem. The greater problem is with diets that include large intakes of energy-dense foods, saturated fats, sugar and/or salt, and low intakes of vegetables, fruit and wholegrain cereals. These are the main contributors to overweight and obesity, diet-related disease and poor health (AIHW 2012)
The 2011-2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) surveyed the population's usual dietary intakes. The key findings in this survey were:
So is my diet balanced?
In Australia the most reliable nutrition advice is provided by The National Health and Medical Research Council. NHMRC has guidelines for healthy eating based on the best available scientific evidence including the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
The Guidelines highlight the groups of foods and lifestyle patterns that promote good nutrition and health. They have been designed to help Australians consume a healthy diet by eating a variety of foods. The aim of these Guidelines is to help individuals consume a balanced diet, namely:
In Australia the five food groups include:
To help maintaining a healthy and balanced diet the guidelines suggest the following tips:
How much food from each food group do I need each day?
Foundation diets are dietary patterns developed by the NHMRC based on the five food groups. It describes the minimum number of serves from each food group required to be eaten each day, to ensure adequate nutrients are consumed. The diets consider gender, age and life stage.
People who want to lose weight are recommended to choose the minimum number of serves. Additional portions or discretionary choices are needed only by people who are taller or more active to meet additional energy requirements
In summary, the foundation diet and associated servings has been developed by the NHMRCH to promote health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of diet-related conditions and chronic disease. It does so by promoting a wide variety of whole foods. The underlying premise: Any diet that excludes any essential food groups leaves you at risk of nutrient deficiencies
The guidelines apply to all healthy individuals, however if you have a specific medical condition (including food allergies and intolerances) you should consult a qualified dietician.
So how do your eating habits measure up?
Q. How would you rate your nutrition on a scale of 1-10?
Q. In regards to the foundation diet, on average do you meet the recommended daily serves in respect to the five food groups (for your age and sex)?
Q. Is there a particular food group that you feel you could improve your consumption for overall health and wellbeing?
Q. What step can you take this week to improve your variety of whole unprocessed foods?
If you would like assistance in supporting your healthy eating, I am offering three complimentary coaching sessions as part of my Professional Diploma in Health & Wellness Coaching
As a health & wellness coach I help my clients to increase self awareness, building their resources and skills so that they can make changes to healthful eating and wellbeing on their terms. J Contact Jason
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