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How to make healthier food choices, save money and stay healthy as a young adult

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How to make healthier food choices, save money and stay healthy as a young adult

Download our guide for First Time Home Leavers!

This year may be marked by you leaving home for the first time. Perhaps to start uni, or tafe, or maybe you are starting a new job or an apprenticeship.

This can be a time of significant change, and for many young adults this shift in lifestyle and a move towards being more independent often sees a move away from healthy habits and routines. Among 18-24 year old Australians, between 2014 and 2018, the rates of overweight and obesity have increased from 39 - 46%. Many factors likely contribute to this increase, including changes in income, how and what those around us are eating, the sheer volume of food choices available now, a change in priorities and time available to shop and cook healthy foods, as well as a general lack of knowledge regarding what healthy food is.

The types of foods you eat, as well as the quantity have an influence on your overall health and risk of chronic diseases, including some cancers and diabetes. Eating well may also be linked to improved academic performance, so improving your eating habits could be a valuable investment in your education.

Here are our top tips for setting yourself up to make healthier food choices, save money and stay healthy as a young adult:

Set up your kitchen.

By having healthy foods on hand at home you will more likely reach for them. Follow our guide to stocking your fridge, freezer, and pantry with useful, and easy staple foods.

Get the right tools

There are a few kitchen tools and gadgets that will make preparing and cooking healthy meals a little easier. Start with a sharp kitchen knife, a large, non-stick fry pan or pot, food safe storage containers, chopping board, some microwave safe bowls and oven tray (if you have an oven). The rest are ‘nice to have’ items.

Plan your meals (and snacks)

Look at your week ahead and plan out a few meals to cook, write a shopping list and get ahead of yourself with a little bit of preparation. Don’t forget to look at what you have on for that day, such as an evening lecture, or gym class, and be prepared.

Build a balanced plate

Your energy needs will vary depending on a range of factors, however a good place to start when creating your meals is to focus on including half a plate of non starchy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, carrots etc, one quarter of your plate from whole grain carbohydrates such as brown rice, pastas, whole grain breads, and the other quarter from lean protein sources such as fish, chicken, tofu, legumes and lean red meats. Also add in a small source of healthy fats such as from nuts, extra virgin olive oil, seeds or avocado.

Be food safe!

Keep your kitchen and utensils clean, clean up after yourself, don’t overfill your fridge, use food safe storage containers for keeping leftovers, and know the food safe temperature zones and how to reheat foods properly to avoid food poisoning.

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