The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide up-to-date evidence-based guidelines about the kinds and amounts of foods that we need to eat regularly for health and wellbeing. Here are the key points:
Children should enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day:
- Legumes, beans and plenty of vegies of different types and colours
- Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high fibre varieties, including breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
- Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds
- Mostly reduced fat milk, yoghurt and cheese
Parents should limit ‘discretionary’ or ‘sometimes’ foods, which are foods that are not an essential part of our diets. Discretionary foods are generally high in kilojoules, saturated fat, added sugars and added salt, and if chosen, should be eaten rarely and in small amounts. These include:
- foods high in saturated fat such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, takeaway burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips and other savoury snacks.
- foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters and energy sports drinks.
- foods and drinks containing added salt. (Instead choose lower sodium options and don’t add salt to foods in cooking or at the table).
Parents should replace foods which contain predominantly saturated fats like butter, cream, cooking margarine and coconut palm oil, with foods that contain predominately polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters and avocado.