What is healthy eating?

It’s hard to eat well when our pesky, little taste buds are misleading us all the time. It’s not our fault that we ate 3 take-away kebabs last night, the taste buds made us do it, right? Thankfully, kebab-guilt can be a thing of the past. There are some simple guidelines to eating well, and even kebabs get a small mention. Phew. If you struggle to eat well, there are things you can do.

This can help if:

  • You want a balanced diet but you’ve got no idea where to start
  • You aren’t sure which foods are most nutritious
  • You ate 3 kebabs last night and now you feel bad about it
basket of vegetable

What does healthy even mean?

Eating well is about eating a good amount of a variety of different foods and feeling well and energised as a result. It’s about having a good understanding of which foods are really nutritious and good for you, and which are purely for their taste. What is it not? Being healthy is not about the way you look or how much you weigh. Read more about the idea of health at every size.

No food is off limits when maintaining a healthy diet – it’s just a question of how often you eat it and how much of it you eat. So, don’t overthink it, and definitely don’t feel guilty every time you eat a piece of cake.

Eat well, feel swell

Eating well isn’t about counting calories or having tiny portion sizes. Check out the following tips to help you make decisions that you’re happy with when it comes to your diet:

  • Eat a variety of foods

    Each food contains it’s own, unique vitamins and minerals and in order for your body to have a balance of all the nutrients it needs, it’s important to eat lots of different foods. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recognises 5 main food groups, which are all equally as important when it comes to getting the nutrients we need:
  1. Veggies and beans
  2. Fruit
  3. Grain foods, which are foods made from rice, oats, wheat (like bread or pasta) or another cereal grain.
  4. Lean meats (meats without a lot of fat), poultry, tofu, nuts, fish, eggs, seeds and beans.
  5. Milk, yoghurt and cheese

    Get more info on the 5 main food groups that you should be eating every day, and how much you should be eating of each one.
  • Drink lots of water

    The human body is up to 60% water so it’s no surprise that drinking lots of water is a really important part of healthy eating. It’s recommended that we have around 8 glasses of water every day but the most important thing is to drink as much as you feel you need. Sometimes you’ll need more, like when you’re exercising.
  • Don’t fear fat

    Fat is okay. Some fats, called unsaturated fats, should be included in small amounts in your diet, and are actually a really important part of healthy eating. You can find unsaturated fats in things like avocados, nuts and olive oil.

    Then there are saturated fats, often found in things like butter, fried food and cake, which are okay in moderation. Don’t be afraid to eat a piece of birthday cake or have some potato chips if you want a snack – just don’t get into a habit of doing it all the time. 
  • Limit the not-so-nutritious stuff

    It’s a little bit heartbreaking that hot chips aren’t nutritious. The good news? It doesn’t mean you can’t eat them, just that you shouldn’t eat them regularly. Things like (but not limited to) deep fried foods, pizza, cakes, pastries, biscuits and pies all fall into this category. If you’re looking for snacks on-the-go, try fruit, plain popcorn or wholegrain crackers.
  • Don’t forget the drinks

    Soft drinks and fruit juices contain a huge amount of sugar and not a lot of the good, nutritious stuff. Alcoholic drinks also have very little nutrients, so limit your intake.
  • Don’t forget about the fish

    Fish is particularly excellent for our health. It’s recommended that we eat 2 or 3 serves of oily fish each week. This includes fish like salmon, blue mackerel, trout and tuna, which are all rich in Omega-3 and protein (tuna is only rich in Omega-3 when it is fresh and not canned). And then there’s the added bonus that fish is delish.

  • Eating habits

    Don’t skip breakfast, eat regularly throughout the day and check out other tips for healthy eating.

Struggling?

If you’re finding it really hard to get into the habit of healthy eating, make some time to chat about it with your GP or someone you trust. Also, if you’ve got any dietary requirements, there are more things to think about when it comes to eating well. Talk to your GP about how you can make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need. 

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 04 November, 2015
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