The Government provides guidelines and recommendations for Australians to encourage healthy eating that will minimise the risk of the development of diet-related diseases within the Australian population.
For consumers and nutrition educators
Eat for Health Program - Australian Dietary Guidelines
The Australian Dietary Guidelines are a joint initiative between the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Department of Health and Ageing. They provide recommendations (based on the latest scientific evidence) on how to eat a healthy diet which can improve the health of Australians and reduce the burden of preventable diet-related death, illness and disability.
The guidelines apply to all healthy Australians from the age of 6 months through to 70 years of age, as well as those with common health conditions such as being overweight. They do not apply to people who need special dietary advice for a medical condition, or to the frail elderly.
The Guidelines were recently reviewed and revised advice was issued on 18 February 2013. Information relating to the review, plus the guidelines associated resources and additional information can be found at: Eat for Health website
Australian Dietary Guidelines
Publication number: N55
The Australian Dietary Guidelines 1 – 5
There are five principal recommendations featured in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Each Guideline is considered to be equally important in terms of public health outcomes.
Guideline 1To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs
- Children and adolescents should eat sufficient nutritious foods to grow and develop normally. They should be physically active every day and their growth should be checked regularly.
- Older people should eat nutritious foods and keep physically active to help maintain muscle strength and a healthy weight.
Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five groups every day:
- Plenty of vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/beans
- Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley
- Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
- Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat (reduced fat milks are not suitable for children under the age of 2 years)
And drink plenty of water.
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Guideline 3Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol
a. Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as many biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips, crisps and other savoury snacks.
- Replace high fat foods which contain predominantly saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods which contain predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
- Low fat diets are not suitable for children under the age of 2 years.
b. Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added salt.
- Read labels to choose lower sodium options among similar foods.
- Do not add salt to foods in cooking or at the table.
c. Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks.
d. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake. For women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.
Guideline 4Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding
Guideline 5Care for your food; prepare and store it safely
Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is a food selection guide which visually represents the proportion of the five food groups recommended for consumption each day.
Description of Image
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Publications :Get Up & Grow: Health Eating and Physical Activity for Early Childhood resources
These resources have been developed to support early childhood education and care settings (centre based care, family day care and preschools) to implement the healthy eating and physical activity guidelines.
Eat for Health: Australian Guide to Healthy Eating – Poster (2013)
This poster illustrates on a plate the proportions of the five food groups recommended for consumption each day.
Poster size: A1 (extra large) - Publication number: N55I
Poster size: A3 (medium) – Publication number: N55M
Poster size: A4 (small) – Publication number: N55O
Eat for Health: Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary Booklet (2013)
– for consumers
Publication number: N55A
This booklet has been developed to assist consumers to understand the guidelines and how to apply them and choose a healthy diet using a variety of foods. The booklet includes practical information on serve sizes and recommended number of serves for each food group depending on age, gender and activity level, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Eat for Health: Educator Guide (2013)
– for health professionals
Publication number: N55B
The booklet has been written for people who educate others about eating for good health, including health professionals – such as dietitians, nutritionists, GPs and health care nurses; public health educators; plus TAFE and university lecturers.
Eat for Health Brochures (2013) – for consumers :
Healthy Eating for Adults – Eat for Health and Wellbeing
Publication number: N55G
Healthy Eating for Children – Teach your Child Healthy Habits for a Healthy Life
Publication number: N55F
Healthy Eating During your Pregnancy - Advice on Eating for you and your Baby
Publication number: N55H
Giving your Baby the Best Start – the Best Foods for Infants
Publication number: N55E
Australian Guide to Healthy Eating – Fridge Magnet (2013) (available for order)
Publication number: N55I
Eat for Health website
Additional consumer friendly information can be found on the Eat for Health website, information includes:
- How to understand and apply the dietary guidelines;
- Serve size information available for all age groups from 6 months of age;
- Calculator to work out your daily energy needs, nutrient requirements, and number of serves from each of the five food groups;
- Food balance game for children;
- Tips for eating well and how to apply the guidelines into every day eating;
- Meal planning and recipes;
- Healthy eating through life; and
- Frequently asked questions.
For more information please visit Eat for Health
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For nutrition educators and health professionals
Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand including Recommended Dietary Intakes
The Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand including Recommended Dietary Intakes
(NRV) is a set of recommendations for nutritional intake based on currently available scientific knowledge.
More information is available on the NRV website
Related publications are available to download from the NHMRC website
As of 30 June 2006 the NPHP was replaced with the Australian Health Protection Committee and the Australian Population Health Development Principal Committee, two Principal Committees of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council.
Strategies to improve nutrition outcomes in Australia, outlined in Eat Well Australia were consistent with the Food and Nutrition Policy (1992)
. The Food and Nutrition Policy
was based on the principles of good nutrition, sustainability and equity and aimed to improve the health of all Australians and reduce the burden of preventable diet-related death, illness and disability. Strategies that contributed to the implementation of the policy were outlined in the National Food and Nutrition Policy Summary Report (1998)
1995 National Nutrition Survey Publications
The last National Nutrition Survey was conducted in conjunction with the National Health Survey in 1995 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics
and the Department of Health and Ageing. The results were released between 1997 and 1999.
The results from the 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey are expected to be launched in mid 2008. The first survey of the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey Program is expected to commence in late 2009 and is expected to focus on Australian adults. For further information visit National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey Program
There are 12 publications available in PDF format below.
2010 National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines
The National healthy School Canteen Guidelines and resources provide national guidance and training to help canteen managers across Australia to make healthier food and drink choices for school canteens. These guidelines build on activities of state and territory governments and encourage a nationally consistent approach to promoting healthy food through Australian school canteens. The guidelines include three components: a national food categorisation system for school canteens; training materials for canteen staff; and an evaluation framework.
The guidelines and resources can be accessed through the following link: National Healthy School Canteen Project
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Material can be obtained from:
National Mailing and Marketing
PO Box 7077
Canberra Mailing Centre ACT 2610, on 1800 020 103
Or by emailing Health at National Mailing
For further information please email PHD Frontdesk