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Since it was updated a year ago, Nutrition Australia’s Healthy Eating Pyramid has made its way into schools, health centres and businesses around the country. But have you taken the time to understand the differences between the new pyramid and its outdated counterpart? Today we zone in on the changes that have been made to Nutrition Australia’s healthy eating guidelines, and just what they mean for you and your family.
Rather than following the old model in which food groups were separated into ‘Eat More’, ‘Eat Moderately’ and ‘Eat In Small Amounts’ layers, Nutrition Australia has now clearly defined the food groups represented in each pyramid layer, making it easier than ever for families to make informed decisions regarding their diet.
In the new and improved pyramid, the two bottom foundation layers are comprised of ‘Vegetables and Legumes’, ‘Fruits’ and ‘Grains’. Nutrition Australia explains that plant foods are highly nutritious and provide the main sources of fibre and carbohydrates in our diets—they recommend that 70% of what we eat should be from this category!
The middle of the new Nutrition Australia Healthy Eating Pyramid includes two food groups: ‘Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese and Alternatives’ as well as ‘Lean Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds and Legumes’. The foods included in this layer provide us with most of our calcium and protein requirements, however, are often over-consumed. It’s important for children and adults alike to limit their intake of dairy and meat each day.
The smallest of the pyramid’s layers is the top ‘Healthy Fats’ layer, which is essential for good health, Nutrition Australia recommending that small amounts of olive oil be included in our diet which satisfied our requirements, which are not to be confused with the consumption of bad fats which are found in fatty meats, desserts and processed foods.
Gone is the pyramid’s ‘Move more’ layer, which has been replaced with some additional food-related nutrition tips—two breakout boxes encourage people to ‘Enjoy Herbs and Spices’ and to ‘Choose Water’, as well as a third which states ‘Limit Salt and Added Sugar’.
It’s clear from Nutrition Australia's revised Healthy Eating Pyramid that a plant-based diet low in sugar, salt and fat is the most nutritious and sustainable option for families. Try to incorporate vegetables into more meals, get creative with whole foods and flavour dishes using nutrient-filled herbs and spices.
How does your family’s diet shape up against Nutrition Australia’s new Healthy Eating Pyramid? Are you going to try to introduce some healthy changes?
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