Variety is not only the spice of life but it’s also essential for our health, especially as we get older. By eating the recommended amount of a variety of foods from the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating’s 5 food groups, you can improve your feeling of wellbeing. A balanced diet can even help prevent certain medical conditions.
Groups 1 and 2 (grains and vegetables) are the most important food groups and should make up just over half your daily food intake, with Groups 3, 4 and 5 making up the remainder.
Group 1. Grains
Grains include cereal, rice, pasta, noodles and bread are mostly made from wheat, oats, rice, rye, barley, millet, quinoa and corn.
Cereals and wholegrain foods can reduce the risk of developing certain diseases including coronary heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes and diverticular disease. The high fibre in wholegrain cereals also helps maintain the digestive system and prevent constipation.
Group 2. Vegetables and legumes
Vegetable varieties include green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, capsicum, onion or leeks, cabbage, and peas. Legumes include chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans.
There is strong evidence that for each serve of vegetables eaten each day the risk of coronary heart disease is reduced. Eating vegetables, especially colourful vegetables, also reduces the risk of stroke and weight gain.
Group 3. Meat and fish
Included in this category are poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans. Many people are now cutting down on their red meat intake for environmental as well as health reasons.
Lean red meat is an excellent source of nutrients, but too much red meat could increase the risk of colorectal cancer and renal cancer. Eating fish at least twice a week, on the other hand, is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and age-related macular degeneration in the eyes.
Group 4. Dairy and dairy alternatives
Many of us have a taste for dairy products, which include milk, yoghurt and cheese. Generally considered a healthy food in moderation, some milks and cheeses are high in fat.
If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, your bones will lose calcium over time, making them less dense and more likely to break. Milk, cheese and yoghurt provide calcium in a readily absorbable and convenient form but for those who are dairy or lactose intolerant there are many delicious and healthy dairy alternatives available.
Group 5. Fruit
Fruit includes bananas, pears, apples, grapes, strawberries, pineapple and stone fruit like peaches and nectarines.
Like vegetables, choosing fruits of different colours provides different nutrients which enhance your overall health. Different coloured fruits, especially orange, red and yellow fruit, contain carotenes (Vitamin A) which are thought to assist in immune function.
If putting together all these food groups seems daunting, why not leave it to the professionals at the Good Meal Co? For a healthy start to the day, tuck into a wholesome bowl of creamy oat porridge, topped with our luscious seasonal fruit compote. If you need to cut down on red meat, try our popular spring vegetable risotto made with abundant garden veg and cooked in our homemade Parmesan cheese sauce. And for those who don’t feel confident about cooking fish, you can’t go past our juicy baked white fish fillet topped with a fantastic wholegrain mustard.
Whatever your tastes, the Good Meal Co. has the 5 food groups covered. It’s not necessary to eat from each food group at every meal but it’s important to eat a variety from each group. So don’t forget to stock your freezer with your favourite Good Meal Co choices.
Eat, feel and live better today with Good Meal Co.’s delicious home-delivered care meals. Call 1800 155 255 or get started at goodmeal.com.au