Eating a healthy, balanced diet based on whole foods can help us achieve optimal health throughout life. But knowing exactly what to eat can be confusing when there's so much conflicting advice from books, websites, TV programs, magazines and celebrity chefs. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released the latest 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines based on scientific evidence on what we should all be eating. Here's my handy summary to make things easier to digest:
I find it pays to plan for the week ahead especially if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. On a Sunday night, for instance, I like to make up one of these five healthy, high-fibre lunches to grab as I head out the door the next morning. It saves me time and money and keeps me out of the food court and away from fattening and fatty nachos, fries, pizza and other fast food.
Catherine Saxelby's Complete Food and Nutrition Companion - The Ultimate A-Z Guide. This new book contains over 500 entries on 400 pages with tons of food facts, colour pictures, handy charts and tip lists. It's written in an alphabetical A to Z format from Acai to Zinc. It's the nutrition reference book to end all reference books! Available from June 2012
The Dietary Guidelines - spelling out what foods Australians should eat - are being updated to reflect the latest knowledge on nutrition, diet and health. This latest 2011 revision has focused on food choice recommendations rather than on how much of certain nutrients you should consume, which was the approach of the 2003 version of the Dietary Guidelines. It runs for 288 pages with over 1,000 references. Here's a handy summary and a list of what's changed.
Confused about healthy eating? Join a group of friendly practical dietitians, foodies, teachers and chefs each month for a chat on Twitter. Called EatKit, we meet online on the third Wednesday of the month for a moderated conversation on a range of nutrition and cooking topics from good oils to encouraging kids to eat right.
Do you look for the red-and-white “Tick” of approval when you shop? Is it really giving you the healthiest choice on the shelf? Or is it something that companies just buy to make their product look better for you? I’ve long been a supporter of the Tick program and think it’s proved that it’s got the clout to make the Australian food supply healthier without alienating shoppers.
People often ask me why we nutritionists keep changing out minds! One year, carbohydrate is wonderful, the next year it's not. One year, fat is a no-no, the next year, it's only saturated fat that we should worry about, the other fats are ‘good' fats that are OK to eat and enjoy. Protein was ‘forgotten' for some years, now it's back and considered important for satiety and weight loss.