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Building a balanced plate

Resource Building a balanced plate

Understanding what the serving sizes are of each of the nutrient-dense core foods and how to create meals that provide you with a balance of nutrients can take time. A useful tool that is used the world over, is the plate model. The plate model has been developed to translate dietary guidelines into a visual guide that shows the amount of each food type to put onto your plate, to provide the balance of the energy and nutrients that you need for good health.

Studies that have used the plate model to support people in losing weight found that the visual guidance offered by the plate model was useful in supporting people to lose weight. Building a balanced plate using the plate model helps people to understand what portion of each of the different food types to eat at main meals and understand how this compares to the space given to other food types.

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends that people eat between 5 & 6 serves of non-starchy vegetables each day (depending on age and gender). Most Australian’s are not meeting this requirement. Non-starchy vegetables are a valuable source of vitamins and minerals that are needed for good health and are low energy compared to other foods. For most people, a good guide is to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables.

The other half of the plate model is distributed between sources of complex carbohydrates, including breads, rice, pasta and potato, that make up one quarter of a plate, and the other quarter being made up of lean protein sources including chicken, beef, tofu and seafood.

The contribution of non-starchy vegetables, complex carbohydrates and lean protein sources will vary slightly depending on a person’s physical activity levels and life stage, however using the balanced plate guide to determine the portions of foods to eat may be a useful tool that you can implement easily into your daily routine.

Your Personal Healthy Eating Quiz

What you eat or don’t eat affects how you look, feel and perform. Take our short quiz to find out what foods you could introduce to help you be your best.

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What is healthy eating?

Eating healthy is making sure you enjoy a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups daily, in the amounts recommended. The five major food groups as recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are:

  1. vegetables and legumes/bean
  2. fruit
  3. lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
  4. grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  5. milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of key nutrients and eating a variety of foods from the list above helps to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease.

How do I improve my diet?

If you want to improve your diet you have come to the right place. By completing the Healthy Eating Quiz you’ll receive instant personalised feedback and a report on your diet quality to highlight any areas where you can improve your overall eating habits. Your score is based on the frequency and variety of the foods consumed from the five major food groups mentioned above. No Money No Time can help you improve your score by providing tips, goals and suggestions. On top of this we will provide quick, cheap and healthy recipes as well as credible answers to diet hacks, myths and FAQ’s.

Is my diet healthy?

Dietary habits are different between people. Some people choose to follow a particular diet (i.e., Keto diet or vegan diet) while some have to make changes due to certain food restrictions or health conditions. If you want to know if what you usually eat is healthy, then do the Healthy Eating Quiz today to give you the answers in less than 10 minutes.

Why is healthy eating important?

Your HEQ score and personalised feedback report is based on the frequency and variety of healthy core foods you usually eat. This is important because no single food contains all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Some foods are higher in nutrients than others and people who have a lot of variety in the foods they eat are more likely to be healthy and to stay healthy. In other words, if you can eat a large variety of vegetables as opposed to only 2-3 types of vegetables, the benefits are much greater. This type of diet also helps you to feel better, think better and perform better during your usual daily activities.

Take the Healthy Eating Quiz