We have all heard the message that it is important to ‘eat healthy’ but what does this really mean and how can we eat well in day-to-day life? For many people, eating ‘healthy’ conjures up images of restrictive diets, ‘boring’ food and a focus on nutrients in foods such as fat and sugar. While healthy eating is about eating foods that provide you with the appropriate nutrients and energy to meet your needs, it is also important to consider the enjoyment foods can also bring. Food has many sensory properties like taste and smell, which help us to enjoy eating food. And so, healthy eating is a balance between eating foods that provide us with the nutrients we need to be healthy and enjoying what we eat. This is important to remember as incorporating healthy eating habits into your everyday life doesn’t have to be about eating foods you don’t like or about following a diet that makes you unhappy. Healthy eating is about eating nutritious foods you enjoy each day, and that fit in with your lifestyle and make you happy.

But eating a healthy diet can be easier said than done. Eating well each day can be challenging. The foods we choose are influenced by many factors, not just what we know is good for us. And it is these factors that can mean we fall into some habits which aren’t so healthy. For example we can eat because the clock tells us it is midday (and therefore lunchtime) rather than because we are hungry. Or we eat because we see food and therefore decide we want it such as buying a chocolate bar in the checkout aisle at shops simply because it was next to us while we were paying for shopping, and we saw it, and decided we wanted one. There are many more examples like this, where our eating habits are influenced by more than just how nutritious food is. But even though we can experience some challenges to eating well, it doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to improve our daily diets and eat healthier. A good place to start is to look for opportunities to improve the quality of your meals each day. Remember each meal you eat well will be good for you and help you to improve your health.

So why should we try to eat healthy every day when it is not always easy? A healthy diet is essential for good health and provides the nutrients the body needs to function. While eating well can help maintain a healthy weight (or help us lose weight), the benefits to our bodies go further than just weight. Good nutrition is essential for:
  • helping our immune systems function well
  • reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases
  • supporting the healthy bacteria in our gut
  • assisting in improving our mental health

In other words, eating nutritious foods regularly supports a healthy body and mind.

Let’s look at how you can improve your daily eating habits while still enjoying food. The following strategies and tips will help make your diet more nutritious and help avoid some dieting traps.
  • Look at meal times as an opportunity to nourish your body and provide it with nutrients to be healthy. Remember, each meal you eat well will benefit your health.
  • Eat 5 servings of vegetables per day. To do this, have 2 cups of vegetables at every lunch and dinner – basically, have half your plate filled with colourful vegetables. Don’t forget these vegetables can be fresh, frozen or canned.
  • Include more plant-based foods in your diet every day such as wholegrains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Meat-free Mondays are a great way to help reduce your meat intake and eat more plant foods.
  • Eat out no more than twice a week, including lunches. When thinking about how much we eat out, many people just think about how many times a week they eat out for dinner and don’t think about the lunches or snacks they buy out. Buying food at a food court, café or takeaway shop also counts as eating out.
  • Make water your drink of choice. Drinks such as coffee (e.g. lattes), juices, and soft drinks can contain large amounts of calories (kilojoules), which can add up over time and contribute to weight gain.


By following the simple strategies above, you will be subconsciously ‘Eating well’ every day in no time, and your mind and body will function optimally.

Blog Author -  Melissa Adamski BSc MND APD