Web Content Viewer (JSR 286) - Healthy Weight

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When we talk about our diets, we usually talk about what we eat, but we don’t often talk about how much we eat. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, it is just as important to eat the right amount of food as the right type of food.

The recommended number of serves and serve sizes of foods from the five food groups, which follows the Australian Dietary Guidelines, are shown in the table below. By selecting and eating a variety of foods from each of the five food groups daily, you will be obtaining sufficient quantities of all nutrients for good health.

You can also use the Recommended number of serves calculator in the registered area of the Healthy Weight Guide website to find out your recommended number of serves.

Few people eat the same way every day, and it’s common to eat a little more on some days than others, but the average recommendations are shown per day.

The amount of food we should eat varies depending on our age, gender, height, body size and physical activity level, and also whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Those who are taller or more physically active (and not overweight or obese) may be able to have additional serves of the Five Food Groups or unsaturated spreads and oils or discretionary choices. These additional serves are listed in the far right column.

To avoid gaining excess weight, there is no room for smaller or less active people in each group to have any additional serves, particularly, unhealthy food and drinks. To achieve a healthy weight, people who are overweight or obese should also avoid additional serves and unhealthy food and drinks.

To work out if you can have any additional serves from the five food groups use the energy requirements calculator in the registered area of the Healthy Weight Guide to work out how many kilojoules you need to stay the same weight. If your goal is to lose weight, you will need to eat and drink fewer kilojoules than you require. (Around 2,000 fewer kilojoules than your energy requirement, each day, will help you lose around ½ kg a week).  To gain weight, you will need to eat and drink more kilojoules than you require to stay the same weight.

Once you have worked out how many kilojoules you plan to eat, you can work out how many kilojoules need to come from your required serves from the five food groups and whether there is room for additional serves from the five food groups or unsaturated spreads and oils or discretionary choices.

The recommended number of serves in the table apply to people who eat both animal and plant foods. More information about different dietary patterns, for example for those who follow a vegetarian diet, are provided at the Eat for Health website.

It’s helpful to get to know the recommended serving sizes and serves per day so that you eat and drink the right amount of the nutritious foods you need for health – as shown in the tables below. The serve size is provided  in grams too, so you can weigh foods to get an idea of what a serve looks like. The ‘serve size’ is a set amount that doesn’t change. It is used along with the ‘serves per day’, to work out the total amount of food required from each of the Five Food Groups.

‘Portion size’ is the amount you actually eat. Some people’s portion sizes are smaller than the ‘serve size’ and some are larger. If you eat portions that are smaller than the ‘serve size’ you may eat from the Food Groups more often. If your portion size is larger than the ‘serve size’, then you may eat from the Food Groups less often.

Table from NHMRC showing recommended serves.

If you want to know more about how much of each food is in a serve and how much of each food group to eat, go to the Eat for Health website.

 

 

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