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How to make healthier food choices when out and about

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How to make healthier food choices when out and about

The research tells us that people eat takeaway, café or restaurant foods often, spending on average $75 per week on foods eaten away from home. People who cook more foods at home are more likely to have healthier eating habits. However, if you often find yourself eating takeaway, café or restaurant meals, then thinking about how to make healthier choices whilst out and about will help to be a healthy eating champion and achieve your personal nutrition goals.

Read some of our tips on how to make healthier food choices when purchasing takeaway, café or restaurant meals below:

Menu items and meal size.

Tune in to your hunger. It might be tempting to order an entrée, main and dessert, with a side or two, or to upsize your meal because the meal deal is too good to refuse, but this is likely to undermine your personal nutrition goals. Sometimes it is the advertising that get you ‘in’ or because you are super hungry at the time of ordering. If the offer is too good to refuse, consider sharing some of your meal with others. Some food venues offer the option of choosing smaller sizes of their menu items. Consider whether a smaller meal size would be sufficient to satisfy your hunger and energy needs.

Add a side of vegetables

Many menu items are lacking in vegetables. Your burger will probably come with a piece of lettuce and two slices of tomato, but overall, it could still be less than 1 serve of vegetables in total. (Note that a serve of vegetables is consider 1 cup of salad) . Whilst not necessarily being nutrient poor (depending on your order), increasing the vegetable content by ordering a side salad, or steamed vegetables, swapping out the usual side of chips or bread can reduce the number of total kilojoules (energy) you consume overall, whilst increasing your intake of vegetable with the extra fibre, vitamins and minerals that they contain.

Consider your sauces and dressings

Sauces and dressings add flavour and interest to meals. However, sauces and dressings often contribute extra kilojoules to a meal. Because they are typically based on ingredients like cream, butter, coconut milk or cream, oils and mayonnaise, they are typically higher in saturated fat, added sugar and salt (sodium).

Choose tomato based or vegetable-based pasta sauces, stir fries, grilled meat dishes, thin crust pizzas, soups, and salads, and request that dressings be served on the side, to allow you to monitor and reduce the amount you use.

Don’t forget your drinks

Soft drinks, juices, as well as alcoholic drinks (and non-alcohol varieties) and hot drinks such as coffee and hot chocolate contribute to your total kilojoules and nutrient intake.

Soft drinks are energy dense, and high in added sugar contributing little in terms of vitamins and minerals. Consider choosing diet soft drinks or opt for soda water or plain water instead.

The energy provided from alcoholic drinks varies significantly with the type and style of drinks. If you choose to drink alcohol, follow Australia’s alcohol intake guidelines.

Choose skim or reduced fat milk alternatives when purchasing coffees and other hot beverages based on milk to reduce the overall energy intake.

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