The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
The AGHE is a pictorial guide of the Australian Dietary Guidelines. It should be used as a tool to achieve a diet in line with the guidelines
General Tips for Healthy Eating
Successful weight management requires commitment to a healthy lifestyle focused on eating healthy foods and staying active. Losing weight seems simple and easy, however many people struggle for different reasons. Ask yourself why you want to lose weight and how important it is to you? There are many reasons to keep your weight at a healthy level apart from looking good. Excess body weight is associated with many chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Weight loss can create positive changes to your health such as lowering blood pressure, improving mobility and feeling more energetic.
To help you begin your weight loss journey, it is important to understand the basic concept of weight loss - ENERGY BALANCE. To keep your weight the same, the energy you put into your body (from food) must equal the energy you use (for physical activity). Therefore to lose weight, you must create an energy deficit where more energy is being used than consumed.
Evidence has shown that short-term restrictive diets DO NOT work and can actually cause weight gain! The key to successful weight loss is commitment to a lifestyle change. The Dietary Guidelines for Australian Adults recommend eating a variety of healthy foods. Try to aim for:
- Lots of fruit, vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals
- Reduced-fat dairy foods, lean meats and meat alternatives such as eggs, dried beans, lentils and nuts
- Moderate amounts of healthy fats such as olive and canola oils, nuts and avocado
- Drink plenty of water each day
- Include only small amounts of foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt
10 Nutrition Tips for Weight Management:
- Eat less and move more – Reduce your overall energy intake and increase your level of physical activity. These changes will allow for a gradual weight loss that is sustainable and will provide long term health benefits.
- Reduce your portions – Try having small portion sizes or using small plates/bowls. This will help to decrease your overall energy intake and create the energy deficit for weight loss.
- Listen to ‘hunger’ – Hunger is the best guide! Eat when you feel hungry and stop when you are full. Beware of eating for other reasons such as boredom or habit. Try keeping a food diary to become aware of your eating behaviours. Remember to eat slowly and allow your body time to register when it is full.
- Some foods are ‘occasional foods’ – avoid eating occasional foods on a regular basis such as takeaways, cakes, biscuits, pies, chips and chocolate. Enjoy them at special events only.
- Bactive - Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most (if not all) days of the week. If time is an issue, break this up into three 10 minute sessions.
- Wake up to breakfast every morning – breakfast eaters are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and are less likely to re-gain lost weight.
- Moderate your alcohol intake – Alcohol also contains kilojoules or calories (energy) that will affect weight loss. Just two glasses of wine takes a 52 minute walk or a 26 minute run to burn off!! Aim for two alcohol free days per week.
- Drink water – Drinking water is important when exercising to stay hydrated. Aim for 2 Litres of water each day.
- Plan meals in advanced – Staying organised with meals will help avoid unplanned convenience meals and last minute trips to the drive-through. The more spontaneous you are, the more likely you’ll turn to higher fat and sugar foods.
- Beware of snacks - Try to limit snacking time, as this is where a lot of people tend to consume most of their daily calories. Choose snacks that are low in fat and sugar such as fruit, yogurt or crumpets.
Remember, successful weight loss requires commitment to a lifestyle change. A desire to lose weight is the first step. You can’t fail if you never stop trying!
Eat well, stay healthy and Bactive!
Accredited Practising Dietitian