What should I eat?

A question which, in bygone days, was assuredly simple to answer:

“What should I eat?”

With organic kale chips, bread high in antioxidants and fat-free ice cream all becoming regular features in the supermarket aisle, anyone would be forgiven for thinking that this supposedly simple question is no longer so simple.

To make things even more confusing, several food outlets here in Australia have started displaying the kilojoule content of their foods. Suddenly, the shopper is no longer merely contending with strange foodstuffs, but an assault of meaningless numbers.

And in comes the revised Australian Dietary Guidelines. Published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC, an Australian Government body) last year and based on the latest scientific evidence, they provide some refreshingly simple guidance about what we should be eating. Similar guidelines are in use around the world, including MyPlate in the US, and a dietary pagoda (think oriental food pyramid) in China.

Australian Guide to Healthy Eating Source: National Health and Medical Research Council

Source: National Health and Medical Research Council

 

For those of us who prefer it even simpler, the NHMRC summarised what the average Australian should be trying to do with their diet.

The average Australian should be trying to eat more:

  • Vegetables and legumes (beans, lentils, peas) – 5-6 serves a day
  • Fruits – 2 serves a day
  • Wholegrains
  • Reduced fat milk, yoghurt, cheese – 2 serves a day
  • Fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, legumes/beans (including soy), and nuts and seeds
  • Red meat (young females only)

 

The average Australian should be trying to eat less:

  • Starchy vegetables, like potato
  • Refined grains, like white bread or pasta
  • High and medium fat dairy products, including full-fat cheese
  • Red meats (adult males only)
  • Food and drinks high in saturated fat, added sugar, added salt, or alcohol (e.g. fried foods, fast food, cakes and biscuits, chocolate and confectionery, sweetened drinks).

Source: http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/about-australian-dietary-guidelines

 

Journalist Michael Pollan, acclaimed author of Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Rules, summarises what we should be eating into 3 refreshingly SIMPLE guiding principles:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

 

For more on Michael Pollan, go to: http://michaelpollan.com/books/

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