The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating tells us the amounts and types of food that kids, teens and adults should eat each day.
To get all the nutrients that you need to stay healthy and well:
- eat a variety of foods from each of the five food groups every day
- eat plenty of plant foods, such as fruit, vegetables, bread, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles
- eat some animal foods, like eggs, lean meats, chicken, fish and reduced fat dairy foods
- only eat small amounts (or none at all!) of fatty, high-sugar 'sometimes' foods, such as lollies, chocolate, soft drinks, cakes, sweet biscuits, sausage rolls – they have lots of calories but very little fibre or nutrients.
- drink plenty of water.
Surveys show that many kids often eat too many 'sometimes' foods and not enough ‘plant’ foods.
Research in 2007-2008 with over 5,000 children in NSW found that:
- most younger children ate enough fruit, but only about half of those aged between 9 and 15 years ate the recommended amount of fruit per day.
- only a minority ate enough serves of vegetables each day.
- most children usually drank full cream milk, which is fairly high in fat. Reduced fat milk is best for children over 2 years).
- the majority of kids ate ‘extra’ foods – such as hot chips, potato chips or salty snacks, lollies, cakes and biscuits – at least once every week.
- very few families ate together at the table every day.
- about 1 in 4 children ate in front of the TV every day.
Source: New South Wales Population Health Survey: 2007-2008 Report on Child Health, NSW Department of Health.