The New Dietary Guidelines - do you know what you should be eating?

The New Australian Dietary Guidelines


The Australian Dietary Guidelines have been revised from 2003 and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating plate above has also had a makeover. Still taking an evidence-based approach, the guidelines give healthy Australians the best and most current advice for the types and amounts of foods they should aspire to eat for optimal health and wellbeing.


What are the dietary guidelines?

  1. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs
  2. Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the Five Food Groups every day and drink plenty of water
  3. Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol
  4. Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding
  5. Care for your food; prepare and store it safely

 Guideline 3 is all new, based on the most up-to-date evidence it is recommended to limit intake of foods containing saturated (bad) fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.  These foods have been shown to increase risk of chronic diseases. However good fats like olive oil are recognised as being an essential part of a healthy diet, in small amounts.


Take home messages:

  • Choose a wide variety of foods as seen on the plate daily
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Choose wholegrain or high fibre cereal products for a healthy digestive system and to help you feel fuller for longer
  • Use small amounts of unsaturated (good) fats like olive and canola oil, avocado and nut butters
  • Only sometimes and in small amounts foods should be limited, 0-3 serves per day (depending on your size, and not daily) à only 2-3 serves per week if you are trying to lose weight
    • These foods are high in energy, saturated (bad) fat, refined sugars, salt or alcohol.  They can lead to weight gain and other health complications such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease
    • Want a sweet dessert? Have some fruit and reduced fat yoghurt for a sweet, filling dessert that’s good for you!
    • Go for 2 fruit serves – daily
      • Make sure you have a wide variety of veggies!
      • Make your plate a rainbow! Different coloured veggies have different antioxidants, all working to keep you in your best health
      • Women should aim for 5 serves daily
      • Men aged 19-50 should be aiming for 6 veggie serves per day
      • Ensure you are having enough reduced fat dairy for strong bones
        • Serves per day:
          • Men aged 19-79 and women aged 19-50: 2.5 serves
          • Women aged 51+: 4 serves
          • Men ages 70+: 3.5 serves
          • Choose lean cuts of meat, always cut the fat and skin off your meat
          • Defrost meat in the fridge and store leftovers in the fridge

What is a ‘serve’?

Vegetables and legumes/beans (~75g)

  • ½ cup cooked green or orange coloured veggies, corn or legumes (cooked or canned beans, peas, lentils)
  • ½ medium sized starchy vegetable (potato, sweet potato, taro)
  • 1 cup raw salad vegetables

Fruit (~150g)

  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (choose no added sugar varieties)
  • 1 medium banana, orange, apple
  • 2 small stone fruit or kiwi fruit

Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternative

  • *Choose mostly reduced fat*
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 slices of hard cheese
  • ¾ cup yoghurt

Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans

  • 65g cooked lean means
  • 80g cooked lean poultry
  • 100g cooked fish
  • 1 cup cooked or canned legumes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 30g nuts, seeds or nut paste
  • 170g tofu

Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties

  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 crumpet
  • 3 crispbreads
  • ¼ cup muesli
  • ½ roll or flat bread
  • ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, noodles, quinoa, porridge



Want to check out the full guidelines yourself? Head over to:




1.            National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Australian Government; 2013; Available from:

2.            National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines. In: Department of Health and Ageing, editor. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council,; 2013.





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