Getting Good Food Variety
by Clare Wood
In most countries there is an abundance of food choices. There are thousands of different foods in the supermarket to choose from. Most fresh food these days, like fruit and vegetables, are available all year round, not just seasonal, so we have a wide variety all of the time.
Many people believe there are only two types of foods, "good" foods and "bad" foods, and to have a healthy diet, you must only eat the "good" foods. How many times have you heard the comment 'every thing that tastes good is bad for you'?
The good news from nutritionists is that foods are not "good" or "bad" by themselves, and no food needs to be completely banished from the diet.
Rule number one for a winning diet is to explore and enjoy a wide variety of foods around you. Variety will help you enjoy every meal, as well as allow you to meet your nutrient needs from a range of good food sources.
One way to know if you are getting a good variety is to make sure you get at least the following serves from each of the five food groups every day.
- Five serves of: Breads and cereals, pasta and rice
- Four serves of: Vegetables and salad vegetables
- Three serves of: Fruit - fresh, tinned or dried
- Two serves of: Dairy products - milk, yogurt and cheese
- One serve of: Meat and meat alternatives - eggs, nuts and legumes
Strategies to increase your food variety
- Make your meals colorful, interesting, and nutrient rich by combining all these foods together
- If you don't like a particular food, try it again, taste buds change over time you may like it one day
- Try to snack on foods that you may not eat at main meals, e.g. fruit, fruit bars, yogurt, milkshakes, bread rolls, crackerbread
- Plan your daily intake to include all the food groups - don't just leave it to good luck
- Try new and interesting foods every day that you have not tried