November 14, 2018 By Southpoint Tuggeranong

While there are many steps you can take to keep your body in shape, tweaking your diet and eating well is a great place to start.

Eating healthy doesn't have to be difficult, and while your diet might not necessarily require a complete overhaul; making small changes to your everyday meals can result in big changes to your overall health and wellbeing. With a lot of advice out there on how to eat healthy, sometimes it can get a little overwhelming. Below we have rounded up five ways in which you can integrate healthy foods into your diet, and become more aware of what you're eating.

1. Check the nutrition label before you buy

Food labels can be very confusing and tricky to understand. Often we don’t have the time to spend trying to work out what they mean and how to use them. However, a few quick tips can make shopping for healthy food a whole lot easier and quicker. According to the Department of Health, "all ingredients in a food product must be listed on the label in order, from largest to smallest by weight". "To lose weight we need to eat and drink fewer kilojoules than our bodies use. The kilojoules can come from one source or a combination of fat, sugars, protein, carbohydrate or alcohol. It’s the overall kilojoule total that matters for weight loss, rather than the source of the kilojoules". The Health Star Rating (HSR) system is a front-of-pack labelling scheme developed for use in Australia and New Zealand to ‘provide convenient, relevant and readily understood nutrition information and/or guidance on food packs to assist consumers to make informed food purchases and healthier eating choices’. Health Star Ratings will make it much easier for shoppers to make informed choices about healthier food options. 2. Eat whole foods - foods you can grow Unprocessed, whole foods are going to give you the most benefits. Processing takes out the nutrients such as antioxidants and fibre, and extra sodium and sugar can be added to provide better taste. Of course, there is nothing wrong with indulging on the occasional processed food, but of you're trying to shop healthier, be on the look out for products that have been minimally processed. Exclusive Deals on Food and Dining at South.Point 3. Include the five food groups into your diet

    • Vegetables and legumes – raw or cooked vegetables can be used as a snack food or as a part of lunch and dinner. Salad vegetables can be used as a sandwich filling. Vegetable soup can make a healthy lunch. Stir-fries, vegetable patties and vegetable curries make nutritious evening meals. Try raw vegetables like carrot and celery sticks for a snack ‘on the run’.

    • Fruit – this is easy to carry as a snack and can be included in most meals. For example, try a banana with your breakfast cereal, an apple for morning tea and add some berries in your yoghurt for an afternoon snack. Fresh whole fruit is recommended over fruit juice and dried fruit. Fruit juice contains less fibre than fresh fruit and both fruit juice and dried fruit, and are more concentrated sources of sugar and energy. Dried fruit can also stick to teeth, which can increase the risk of dental caries.

    • Bread, cereals, rice, pasta and noodles – add rice, pasta or noodles to serves of protein and vegetables for an all-round meal. There are many varieties of these to try. Where possible, try to use wholegrains in breads and cereals.

    • Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, legumes and tofu – these can all provide protein. It’s easy to include a mixture of protein into snacks and meals. Try adding lean meat to your sandwich or have a handful of nuts as a snack. You can also add legumes to soups or stews for an evening meal.

    • Milk, yoghurt and cheese – try adding yogurt to breakfast cereal with milk, or using cottage cheese as a sandwich filling. Shavings of parmesan or cheddar can be used to top steamed vegetables or a salad. Use mostly reduced fat products.

Source: Better Health Victoria. 4. Make small allowances for healthy fats 

Unsaturated fats are an important part of a healthy diet. The two main types of unsaturated fats are monounsaturated fats (found in olive and canola oil, avocados, cashews and almonds) and polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 fats (found in oily fish) and omega-6 fats (found in safflower and soybean oil and Brazil nuts). These fats can help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels when they replace saturated fats in the diet. The Australian Dietary Guidelines include a small allowance for healthy fats each day (around 1–2 tablespoons for adults and less for children). The best way to include healthy fats in your diet is to replace saturated fat that you may currently be eating (such as butter and cream) with a healthier, unsaturated fat option (such as polyunsaturated margarine or olive oil). Source: Better Health Victoria. 5. Cook your own food

When you can, make your way into the kitchen and start cooking! This is a surefire way to guarantee that you know exactly whats going into the meals that you prepare. It's also a great to to get kids involved in cooking too! By preparing your own meals, you can be inventive in the kitchen, but can also save money on eating out and purchasing takeaway. Just about any food worth eating can be prepared at home, bringing you one step closer to the food you eat and giving you complete knowledge of every single ingredient that goes into it.

Information sourced from Department of Health and Better Health Victoria.

Want exclusive deals and discounts for our stores? Sign up below!