For adults

For adults

Healthy eating in adulthood is important. It helps you to:

  • feel good and have the energy to live well
  • manage chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • fight off colds and infections.

Heart disease is still the most common cause of death for Australian adults followed by stroke. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause and moving up the list.

The good news is that eating well and being active can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. If you already have these conditions, eating well and being active can help you to manage your health and live well for longer.

The way you eat is also important. Have regular meals. Be aware of your appetite for example how hungry your feel. Finish when you are satisfied. In other words, don't go without food for long periods or overeat too often. Eating slowly and without distractions like the television or phone, will help you tune in with your hunger and fullness cues.

Australian Dietary Guidelines

Guideline 1

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs.

  • Children and adolescents should eat sufficient nutritious foods to grow and develop normally. They should be physically active every day and their growth should be checked regularly.
  • Older people should eat nutritious foods and keep physically active to help maintain muscle strength and a healthy weight.

Guideline 2

Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five groups every day:

  • plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/beans
  • fruit
  • grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
  • lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat (reduced fat milks are not suitable for children under the age of two years).

And drink plenty of water.

Guideline 3

Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.

  1. Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as many biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips, crisps and other savoury snacks.
    • Replace high fat foods which contain predominantly saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods which contain predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
    • Low fat diets are not suitable for children under the age of two years.
    • Read labels to choose lower sodium options among similar foods.
    • Do not add salt to foods in cooking or at the table.
  2. Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added salt.
  3. Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks.
  4. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake. For women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.

Guideline 4

Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding.

Guideline 5

Care for your food; prepare and store it safely.

For more information see the Australian Governments Eat for Health website.

Australian Alcohol Guidelines

Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol

Physical Activity Guidelines

Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults (18-64 years) provide information on the amount and type of physical activity that adults need for health and wellbeing.

September 2018