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What does healthy eating actually look like?

Suzannah Smart, Dietitian and Nutritionist

Some of the many benefits you can expect to experience by eating well and moving more include:

  • improved energy, sleep and mental health

  • reduced risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia

  • improved management of blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure (with less reliance on medications)

  • lower your risk of developing a variety of different cancers

  • better gut health and microbiome

  • healthier hair, skin, nails and teeth

  • a stronger immune system

Many people are confused about what they should be eating, with so much conflicting advice available. I like to simplify things and bring it back to the basics of a sensible balance that has been proven by large-scale research.

Overall, healthy eating means getting a wide variety of foods from all of the food groups, mostly from ‘whole-food’ sources that are low in saturated fats, salt, added sugar and artificial ingredients.

This is epitomised in a well-known quote by Michael Pollen; “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”.

Do your best to eat as many colourful vegetables as possible, a variety of different types of fruit, minimally processed whole grains, some dairy (or calcium alternatives) and fresh lean meat, seafood and/or vegetarian protein.

It’s also important to keep alcohol to levels that reduce your risk of disease and injury over your lifetime. Checking the amount of sugar you are getting from drinks (such as juice, soft drink and iced coffee) is very helpful too as you may be accidentally having more than you realise!

Over the coming weeks, we will be exploring each of these topics in more detail as well as other useful tips to help you get more benefits from the food you eat.

For more information on what the recommendations are for portions and daily intake from each of the food groups, visit the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating website at

For more information on safe alcohol consumption, visit

If you’re interested in learning more, why not join me for an upcoming supermarket tour and interactive label reading session? Visit to secure your spot as there are limited spaces available!

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