A Guide to Healthy Eating - By Prue Mynard Dietician & Nutritionist
Updated: Mar 2
General Healthy Eating/Balance
When people hear the phrase ‘healthy eating’ they often think of a boring, restricted diet with lots of salad, no pasta, no bread and lots of hunger. This is absolutely NOT the case and healthy eating is actually really enjoyable and can be maintained for a very long time.
A healthy BALANCED diet (balance being the key word here) includes foods from all food groups, eaten at regular intervals throughout the day to prevent excessive hunger. It includes eating predominantly plant based whole foods, but also including lean protein, fats, mainly healthy fats, wholegrains and dairy the majority of the time and then allowing yourself to indulge on foods or habits that you enjoy, without feeling guilty.
All foods are classified into one of six food groups, based on nutrients that they provide the body. In order to achieve balance, choose foods from the first five groups the majority of the time and food from the final group occasionally.
- Vegetables and legumes
- Wholegrains and cereals
- Lean meat, poultry, fish, tofu and legumes
- Dairy – milk, yoghurt and cheese
- Discretionary – this includes highly processed, treat type foods.
A big part of eating a healthy balanced diet is making more from scratch, eating more wholefoods and less processed foods. For a diet or way of eating to be sustainable and to achieve balance, it is really important that you don’t exclude foods that you love. If chocolate is your vice and you know you cannot live without it, then include it, but instead of choosing the Caramello koala, opt for a darker chocolate that contains a higher % cocoa solids and less sugar, making it less sweet and therefore more satisfying, meaning you need less to achieve the same result.
Healthy eating needs to be healthy for your mind and healthy for your body. It needs to cater for social activities, a drink on a Friday night after work and also exercise to match the needs of your body. A good rule to live by as far as eating a healthy balanced diet goes is to eat well 80-90% of the time and the other 10-20% is forgivable. This allows indulgent dinners out, drinks with friends, takeaway when you can’t be bothered cooking, and most importantly it is sustainable and realistic.
Another essential part of healthy eating is hydration. When the body is adequately hydrated, it functions to the best of its ability, energy levels are improved as is performance. Drinking water, not only replaces water lost through sweat, it also improves the function of the kidneys, regulates blood pressure and assists with bowel function and digestive health. In addition to this, thirst can often be misinterpreted as hunger, so aim to have a good-sized glass of water every time you eat something or at least 6-8 glasses per day.
Below are a few simple swaps to improve the health of your diet:
- Swap White Bread for Wholegrain / Sourdough Bread
- Swap Flavoured Yoghurt for Greek Style Yoghurt with Fresh Fruit
- Swap a Salada with Vegemite for Vitawheat or Ryvita with Tomato and Avocado
- Swap Orange Juice for a Whole Orange
- Swap a Ham and Cheese Sandwich for a Wholegrain Wrap with Ham, Cheese & Salad
- Swap Beer Battered Chips for Homemade, Oven Baked Potato Chips
- Swap Soft Drink for Soda Water with Fresh Lime
- Swap Creamy Salad Dressings for Olive Oil and Vinegar based Dressings
- Swap Mayonnaise for Avocado
- Swap Takeaway Pizza for Homemade Pizza
For more information and recipes on Healthy Balanced Eating you can visit Prue's Website www.whatspruecooking.com.au
Alternatively Prue is available for Private Consult at Peninsula Physical Health & Nutrition (PPN) on the Mornington Peninsula.
Image by Natalie Davies Photography