Food is essential for our survival – but maybe even more important, we all love it!
Food variety means eating a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups, in the amounts recommended. Eating many different foods helps maintain a healthy and interesting diet which provides a range of different nutrients to the body. Eating a variety of foods promotes good health and can help reduce the risk of disease.
Eating a varied, well-balanced diet means eating a variety of foods from each food groups daily, in the recommended amounts. It is also important to choose a variety of foods from within each food group because different foods provide different types and amounts of key nutrients. Choosing a variety of foods will help to make your meals interesting, so that you don’t get bored with your diet.
The five food groups are:
- vegetables and legumes/beans
- lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
- grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
- milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.
Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of key nutrients. For example, key nutrients of the milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives group include calcium and protein, while the fruit group is a good source of vitamins, especially vitamin C.Examples of ‘discretionary choices’ or occasional foods are
- sweet biscuits, cakes, desserts and pastries
- processed meats and fattier/salty sausages, savoury pastries and pies, commercial burgers with a high fat and/or salt content
- sweetened condensed milk
- ice cream and other ice confections