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Our top 5 foods from the 5 food groups

2 minute read

Healthy eating should be easy and accessible to everyone. Get your grocery shopping list ready: here are the nib dietitians' top 5 choices from each of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating food groups.

Vegetables and legumes/beans

  1. Green leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinach): packed with vitamins and minerals, folic acid, antioxidants, vitamin C, fibre and anti-cancer compounds beta-carotene and lutein.
  2. Carrot: packed with vitamin A (good for your eyes and cells). Eat cooked or raw as an excellent snack.
  3. Capsicum: loaded with vitamin C (more than oranges). Like carrot, eat cooked or raw as an excellent snack.
  4. Mushrooms: packed with B vitamins 1, 2, 3 & 5 (essential for energy, the nervous system and the health of your brain, heart, cells, skin and gut). Eat cooked or raw.
  5. Potato (sweet, white, purple): is a good source of unrefined carbohydrate and great source of vitamin B6, C and potassium.

    Fruit

  6. Berries (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, mulberry): full of antioxidants and vitamin C.
  7. Apples: full of fibre and vitamin C and readily available year round.
  8. Kiwifruit: very fibre rich and high in vitamin C.
  9. Bananas: high in potassium and low in sodium (good for your heart), energy dense and nutritious.
  10. Grapes (red): the skin in red grapes contains resveratrol which is a powerful antioxidant.

    Grains and cereals

  11. Wholegrain bread: provides you with nutrients including protein, fibre, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium).
  12. Oats (porridge or included in any mixed foods which aren’t high in added sugar – check the label): contain a specific type of fibre known as beta-glucan which can lower cholesterol.
  13. Wholegrain rice and pasta: high in B vitamins, iron and fibre and keep you feeling fuller longer (takes a little longer to cook but is delicious).
  14. Quinoa (said as 'KEEN-wah'): high in protein, gluten free, full of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron. Rinse with water before and after cooking and add to salads or casseroles, use it as a cooked cereal or instead of rice.
  15. Buckwheat: contains minerals, flavonoids and fibre. Can also be used instead of rice, as cooked cereal and in casseroles or pancakes.

Healthy eating should be easy and accessible to everyone.

Lean meats and alternatives

  1. Salmon and tuna: both high in omega 3 essential fatty acids (known to reduce inflammation and good for your heart) and readily available fresh or canned (in springwater is best).
  2. Eggs: excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as omega 3s.
  3. Nuts (raw unsalted, 30g serving): contain unsaturated fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids, fibre, vitamin E and plant sterols.
  4. Beans, lentils and chickpeas: readily available, dried or canned, high in protein and soluble fibre (lowers cholesterol), very low in fat and can easily be added to casseroles and mince dishes, or to salads for a protein and fibre boost. Great meat alternative.
  5. Lean meats: white and red lean meats are high in protein, zinc and B12. Reduce the amount of saturated fat by cutting off fat or removing skin prior to cooking and limit the portion size to no bigger than ¼ of your plate.

    Dairy and alternatives

  6. Low fat milk, low fat yoghurt and cheese: readily absorbable and convenient source of calcium, protein, iodine, vitamin A, D, B vitamins and zinc.
  7. Ricotta: a low fat cheese providing all the health benefits of milk and can be eaten fresh or in a wide variety of dishes.
  8. Soy milk: a plant-based alternative to milk. Choose a calcium fortified variety.
  9. Almonds and almond milk: a calcium-containing plant-based alternative to milk. 100g almonds contains equivalent amount of calcium as 1 cup of milk. Choose almond milk that has added calcium if possible.
  10. Sardines (canned in water): calcium-containing alternative to milk and good for your heart. 60g contains equivalent amount of calcium as 1 cup of milk. For some examples of healthy and delicious meal options using these foods, see our recipes for a healthier barbecue, better breakfast options and tips for a more nutritious summer.

Interested in a health coach?

The COACH Program® is a confidential free health coaching service delivered over the phone by nib’s Accredited Practicing Dietitians to help those at risk of, or with, Coronary Heart Disease. Based on a self-management model, it’s all about helping you to take better care of yourself. Please phone 1800 339 219 or email [email protected] for more information.

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