Tips for healthy eating
Eating healthy is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet includes a variety of nutritious foods and keeps our bodies working well and helps prevent against chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines (external site) provide an overview of which foods should be eaten most to maintain good health.
A healthy diet includes a wide variety of nutritious foods including:
- wholegrain cereals, breads, rice, pasta, noodles, oats, quinoa and barley
- lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans
- milk, yoghurt, cheese and their alternatives
- plenty of water.
Food and beverages containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol should be limited.
Examples of these include:
- deep fried foods
- soft drinks
- chocolates and confectionery
- fast food and takeaway
Learn more about healthy eating.
Eating at home
Food prepared at home tends to be lower in saturated fat, added sugar and salt than fast food and meals eaten when dining out. It can also be a lot cheaper to eat food prepared at home.
Tips for making healthier choices when eating at home
- Base main meals around plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, or frozen and low salt/sugar tinned options.
- Choose wholegrain breads, pastas, noodles and rice with meals and snacks.
- Opt for small servings of lean meats, fish and poultry and limit the use of processed meats such as ham, bacon, salami and polony.
- Drink water with meals.
- Cook large batches of soups and stews and freeze into portions for moments when time is scarce.
- Plan ahead to save time and money. For example, plan a fortnightly menu, prepare a box of fresh cut fruits and vegetables sticks and make lunchboxes the night before.
- Add extra vegetables or pulses to meat dishes such as stews, bolognese sauces and curries. Pulses are grain legumes, such as chickpeas, broad beans, lentils, lupins and mungbeans. Tinned beans and lentils are a great option.
- Use minimal oil when pan-frying meats.
- Try tomato-based sauces instead of creamy ones or replace cream in recipes with low-fat yoghurt or low-fat evaporated milk.
- Try not to add salt to your cooking and to your meal.
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It is estimated that up to 30 per cent of Western Australians consume food which has been purchased away from the home at least once per day. Food purchased from cafes, restaurants and fast-food outlets tends to be higher in fats (particularly saturated fat), added sugar and salt. It is recommended to limit consumption of these foods.
How can I make healthier food choices when eating away from home?
The following tips can help you make healthier choices:
- Choose hamburgers with lots of salad, rather than ‘the lot’ and limit extras such as bacon, cheese and mayonnaise.
- Try vegetable-based sides such as jacket potatoes, corn on the cob or salads. Resist the temptation to upsize or add chips.
- Drink water with your meal.
- Choose wholegrain breads and wraps. Fill sandwiches with salad and avoid high fat/salt meats and spreads. Choose avocado or vegetable-based spreads instead of butter or margarine.
- Order doner kebabs with salad, tabouleh and hommous rather than extra meat and high fat sauces.
- Order tomato-based curries rather than those based on cream or coconut milk. Choose some vegetable or pulse curries in place of meat options. Limit deep fried sides such as samosas, pakoras, bhajee, spring rolls or dumplings.
- Opt for steamed or stir fried Asian dishes with extra vegetable and steamed rice.
- Choose pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces with plain bread rather than garlic bread.
- Try thin crust pizzas with extra vegetable and limit fatty, processed meats such as bacon and sausage.
- For dessert, opt for low-fat frozen yoghurt, fruit or low-fat smoothies and milk shakes.
Where to get help
- Eating healthy is important to keep your body working well and help prevent chronic diseases.
- Eating at home is often a healthier option and can save you money.
- Limit the amount of processed and takeaway foods you consume and make healthier choices.
This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.