Food for Health – English version

Food for Health – English version

HE Code: 
Leaflet A4 (online only)
Publication date: 
1 November 2007
Status: This resource is online only.
Key messages in English about healthy food and nutrition. Includes sections on vegetables and fruit, breads and cereals, milk and milk products, meat, seafood, chicken, eggs and legumes, processed and pre-packaged foods, takeaways, and food safety. NOTE: this resource is under review and it cannot be ordered.

You need a variety of foods to maintain your health. Choose foods from the four following food groups each day. Eating small amounts of lots of different foods will help provide the range of nutrients your body needs.

Vegetables and Fruit

  • Vegetables and fruit are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre and are low in fat.
  • Raw fruit and some vegetables make great snacks.
  • Choose fruit and vegetables in season to keep costs down.
  • Enjoy the taste of fresh fruit and vegetables without added sauces and fats.
  • Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

Breads and Cereals (includes pasta, rice and other grains)

  • Breads and cereals are good sources of fibre and some vitamins and minerals.
  • Fill up on breads, cereals, pasta and rice.
  • Many breads and cereals have added vitamins and minerals so it is important to read package labels for information.
  • Breads and cereals make great snacks but go easy on fatty spreads and fillings.
  • Eat at least six servings of breads and cereals a day.

Milk and Milk Products

  • Milk and milk products are valuable sources of some vitamins and minerals, especially calcium.
  • Choose reduced-fat milks and milk products.
  • Reduced-fat milks and yoghurts make a great snack and can be easily used in cooking.
  • Eat at least two servings of milk and milk products a day.

Meat, Seafood, Chicken, Eggs and Legumes

  • Lean meats, seafood, chicken, eggs, cooked dried beans, peas and lentils are important sources of protein, vitamins and minerals – especially iron and zinc.
  • Eat lean meats, seafood and chicken without added fats or fatty sauces.
  • Dried beans, peas and lentils are a good low-cost alternative to meats, seafood and chicken.
  • Try to eat this group of foods with some fresh vegetables that are high in vitamin C – such as tomato, broccoli or peppers. This will help you absorb the iron.
  • Eat at least one serving of meats or alternatives a day.

Processed and Pre-packaged Foods

  • Processed foods can be high in fat and salt.
  • Try and serve processed and pre-packaged meals with some fresh salad or vegetables.
  • Look for packaged foods which are lower in fat and salt and include some cereal or vegetable fibre.
  • Read the label. For example, 5g of fat or sugar = approximately 1 teaspoon.

Takeaway Foods

  • Bread-based takeaways can be lower in fat, especially if you ask for low-fat spread, cheese or dressing (eg, pizza, burgers).
  • If buying chips:
    • thickly cut potatoes absorb less fat
    • higher cooking temperatures mean less fat is absorbed
    • ask for no added salt.
  • Ask for grilled fish rather than fish in batter – or remove the batter.
  • Takeaways made with rice or noodles can be a good choice, especially if made with lots of vegetables.
  • Enjoy your takeaways but don’t eat them too often.

Food for Different Family Members

  • Some family members have different nutritional needs. It is important that everyone eats well.
  • Make sure everybody has the variety of food they need.           
  • Eating meals together makes food more enjoyable.

Food Safety

  • Keep all utensils, chopping boards and benches clean.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling food.
  • Cook foods steaming hot for serving and reheat leftovers thoroughly.
  • Don’t leave cooked food at room temperature for longer than two hours.
  • Keep raw and cooked foods separately in the fridge.

Enjoy eating for health.

Do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day (moderate intensity makes you huff and puff!)