There is so much nutritional and diet information out there it can be tricky to sift through the junk and find the information you actually need.
The truth of the matter is: there is no best kept secret.
Here are some no-nonsense tips on how to eat right:
- Eat a variety of food types every day. You should have cereals (bread, pasta, rice, etc.), vegetables, fruit, dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese, etc.), and protein (lean meat, fish, poultry, nut and legumes, such as beans and pulses.) This can vary depending on how you digest and process different food types.
- Learn what a serve is and how many serves you should be having per day of which food groups. The Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults has an easy to understand chart.
- Vary your intake based on your level of physical activity. If you exercise regularly, have a physical job where you are on your feet all day, and cycle to work, you will need more energy and food than if you have an office job, drive to work and don’t exercise regularly.
- Buy fresh, unprocessed foods wherever possible. If you are buying packaged goods, be wary of what’s on the label. Celebrity endorsements and claims such as ‘Packed full of nutty goodness’ can be misleading. Check the nutritional panel and ensure the product is not too high in sugar, salt and saturated fat. A quick way to decipher the label is check how many ingredients are listed – if it’s just a few then the food is pretty wholesome – whereas if there are lots it’s probably best to steer clear!
- Drinking right is important too. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and avoid alcohol and sugary drinks. Did you know a 600ml bottle of soft drink contains 16 packets of sugar and about 1000 unnecessary kilojoules! Sugary soft drinks are packed full of ‘empty kilojoules' which means they contain lots of sugar, which converts to fat, and nothing of nutritional value. Drinking more water can help avoid becoming dehydrated through drinking too much coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks too.
It’s a balancing act: eat a varied and balanced diet, keep active and aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity per day, avoid food and drinks full of empty kilojoules, and be patient. You won’t get a perfect body overnight, but if you follow our top tips, you’ll be feeling healthier and happier in no time.