Eat a Variety of Foods

Consuming a variety of dishes from every one of the 5 essential nutritional groups in the recommended amounts is an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle.

Consuming a wide selection of food items belonging to the five essential dietary categories can supply various essential nutrients to the body, improve one’s well-being and reduce the possibilities of illnesses – while adding enjoyment and excitement to the overall food regimen through different flavours and textures.

A lot of the foods that are usually consumed on a regular basis do not belong to the 5 basic food groups. These types of foods, which are sometimes thought of as “unhealthy”, “optional picks” or “once in a while choices” can be relished occasionally, however should not be a staple part of a nutritious diet. Fats and oils have a high energy content but should be consumed in moderation to maintain a healthy diet.


5 Major Food Groups

According to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, our diets should be comprised of food items which fit into 5 distinct categories.

The 5 food groups are:

Different types of foods are placed into categories because they contain an equivalent amount of fundamental vitamins and minerals. Illustrating the dieting essentiality, milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives have prominent nutrients, such as calcium and protein. Fruits, on other hand, are known to be rich in vitamins, particularly Vitamin C.

Incorporating a diversified, healthy eating program involves consuming different kinds of food from all 5 food groups every day, in the suggested quantities. It is essential to select multiple foods that come from each food group to make sure you are getting the proper quantities and types of necessary nutrients. Selecting an assortment of food items will make your meals exciting, so that you do not tire of your nutrition plan.



Occasional Foods

Certain edibles cannot be categorized into the 5 food groups as they are not mandatory for having a proper nutrition. These items of food are referred to as ‘discretionary choices’ or ‘junk foods’ and ought to be eaten sparsely.

They generally have an excessive amount of saturated fat, extra sugars, salt, or alcohol, and significantly lack essential nutrients like fiber.

These food and beverages can contain too many kilojoules (energy). Consistently consuming an excessive amount of kilojoules in comparison to what your body requires will result in an increase in weight.

Examples of ‘discretionary choices’ or occasional foods are:

  • sweet biscuits, cakes, desserts and pastries
  • processed meats and fatty, salty sausages, savoury pastries and pies, with a high fat or salt content
  • takeaway foods such as hot chips, hamburgers and pizza
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • alcoholic drinks
  • ice cream and other ice confections
  • confectionary and chocolate
  • commercially fried foods
  • potato chips, crisps and other fatty and/or salty snack foods including some savoury biscuits
  • cream, butter and spreads which are high in saturated fats
  • sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, sports and energy drinks

It is alright to indulge in these dishes occasionally as a special indulgence. It is dangerous to habitually substitute more nutrient-rich and healthier edibles with these kinds of foods, since it could put you at greater risk of being obese and falling ill with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some varieties of cancer.



What counts as a daily food serve?

The size of the portion served typically depends on the kind of meal and the food group it is part of.


One standard serve of vegetables is about 75 g (100 to 350 kJ) or:

  • ½ cup cooked vegetables (for example, broccoli, carrots, spinach or pumpkin)
  • ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils (preferably with no added salt)
  • 1 cup of green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (such as sweet potato)
  • 1 medium tomato.


One standard serve of fruit is about 150 g (350 kJ) or:

  • 1 medium piece (for example, apple, banana, orange, pear)
  • 2 small pieces (for example, apricots, plums, kiwi fruit)
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar).

Only occasionally, one standard serve of fruit can be:

  • 125 ml (½ cup) fruit juice (no added sugar)
  • 30 g dried fruit (for example, 4 dried apricot halves, 1½ tablespoons of sultanas).

Grain (cereal) foods

Opt for grain foods that are either primarily wholegrain or that contain high amounts of cereal fibre.

One standard serve is (500 kJ) or:

  • 1 slice (40 g) of bread
  • ½ medium roll (40 g) or flatbread
  • ½ cup (75-120 g) cooked rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur or quinoa
  • ½ cup (120 g) cooked porridge
  • ¼ cup (30 g) muesli

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

One standard serve is (500 to 600 kJ):

  • 65 g cooked lean red meat such as beef, lamb, veal, pork, goat or kangaroo (about 90 to 100 g raw)
  • 80 g cooked poultry such as chicken or turkey (100 g raw)
  • 100 g cooked fish fillet (about 115 g raw weight) or 1 small can of fish
  • 2 large (120 g) eggs
  • 1 cup (150 g) cooked dried or canned legumes/beans such as lentils, chick peas or split peas (preferably with no added salt)
  • 170 g tofu
  • 30 g nuts, seeds, peanut or almond butter or tahini or other nut or seed paste (no added salt)*.

Occasionally using this food as an alternative to other items in its food group.

Milk, yoghurt, cheese

Milk, yoghurt and cheese should mostly be reduced fat.

One standard serve (500-600 kJ) is:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) fresh, UHT long-life, reconstituted powdered milk or buttermilk
  • ½ cup (120 ml) evaporated milk
  • 2 slices (40 g) or one 4 x 3 x 2 cm cube (40 g) of hard cheese, such as cheddar
  • ½ cup (120 g) ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup (200 g) yoghurt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink with at least 100 mg of added calcium per 100 ml.

If you do not eat any foods from this group, the following foods contain about the same amount of calcium as a serve of milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives:

  • 100 g almonds with skin
  • 60 g sardines, canned, in water
  • ½ cup (100 g) canned pink salmon with bones
  • 100 g firm tofu (check the label – calcium levels vary).

Be aware that some of these foods have higher levels of kilojoules (energy), especially the nuts.

Frequently, products that appear to be nutritious have a lot of sugar, unhealthy fat, and carbs hidden inside. We specifically selected the most nutritious foods that not only taste great but are also simple to prepare.

Rule 1 for adhering to a wise eating regimen is to not become bored. Mix up the foods you eat and eat a lot variety.  This will keep your taste buds satisfied and your waist line under control.

Nutrition does not need to be complicated: choose simple components, like a produce, legume, cereal, or dairy products. Avoid commercially-prepared foods that contain a long list of unfamiliar ingredients. When looking for grocery items, it is recommended to buy food that is uncomplicated and natural, plant-based, or found around the perimeter of the store. All of these items, typically vegetables, eggs, fish, and other unprocessed foods, are excellent choices. (Literally.)



Now, on to the healthiest foods to eat list:


Oatmeal aids in lowering cholesterol levels, aids in the prevention of coronary conditions, and its fiber content keeps you satiated until midday, thanks to its soluble fiber. Look for old-fashioned or steel-cut varieties.

This could be rephrased as: If you’re looking for a savory breakfast, why not try drizzling cooked oatmeal with olive oil and topping it off with Parmesan? Another great option is to try a hearty oatmeal dish with spinach and poached eggs.

Read More:  Health Benefits Of Eating Oatmeal Daily


Approximately 20% of your necessary fiber intake can be found in one 1/2 cup serving of avocado. It will also contribute to reducing your cholesterol as it has monounsaturated fats.

For a side, slice a ripe avocado in two halves, top with some soy sauce, squeeze some lime juice on top and finish with toasted sesame seeds. Or try avocado toast.

Read More:  Ways How Avocado (Butter Fruit) Can Benefit Your Overall Health


Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fats, which have the capacity to reduce so-called bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase levels of helpful cholesterol (HDL).

Try this to stay healthy when on the go: Combine walnuts, figs that are dried, and several anise seeds for a snack. (As the ingredients sit together, the anise releases flavor.)


Mushrooms provide a satisfying and hearty alternative to beef, reducing the calorie content of a meal by as much as 400.

Try this: Sauté sliced mushrooms and shallots until tender. Pour in some white wine and let the liquid reduce until it has completely disappeared. Serve over roasted fish or chicken. Or try Mushroom White Pizza.

Greek Yogurt

This type of yogurt contains beneficial bacteria that can improve your digestive system and support your immune system. It’s thicker than most traditional yogurts and contains eight more grams of protein per serving.

This might work well: Combine ground cumin, cucumber, garlic, and cilantro together. Serve with grilled chicken. Or try Buffalo Cauliflower With Yogurt Ranch.


The whites provide a high level of protein with barely any calories (and it contains no fat or cholesterol). Egg yolks are generally overlooked, yet they are a great source of vitamin B12, Vitamin A, and choline – which is essential for expectant mothers.

How about giving this a go: Create a sandwich using whole-grain bread, hard boiled eggs cut into slices, tomatoes, olives, anchovies, red onion and a splash of olive oil. Or try Italian Baked Eggs.


The sprouted soybeans have more dietary fibre than shredded-wheat breakfast cereal and contain the same amount of protein as roasted turkey. Soybeans are a protein-rich plant food that can be used in a variety of recipes. They belong to the pea family. Soy is a complete protein. This means that the product contains all nine essential amino acids. It is an important source of protein for many people, especially those who don’t eat meat.

Blend together cooked edamame, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice to create a fast and easy hummus-like dip. Or try risotto with edamame, lemon, and tarragon.


This fluffy fruit has more Vitamin C per ounce than what can be found in an orange and more potassium than there is in a banana.

Cut the slices kiwi as thin as possible, then pour honey over them and top with toasted, non-sugar added shredded coconut.

Read More: Vitamin C’s Health Benefits

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have many health benefits.  They are high in vitamin A.  Vitamin A is good for your eyes and your immune system.  Sweet potatoes contain: potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, thiamin, zinc, calcium, B vitamins and antioxidants which protect cell health.

The deeper the hue, the more beta-carotene present in these root vegetables.  Beta-carotene is where we find the antioxidant properties of sweet potatoes.

To make a side dish, try steaming chopped sweet potatoes and apples. Puree with maple syrup and crushed red pepper.


The benefits of this leafy vegetable are plentiful, including a high content of vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, and antioxidants. Kale contains lutein, a beneficial nutrient for the eyes that may impede the progression of macular degeneration.

Cut the kale leaves into smaller segments, then combine them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper to make delicious kale chips. Put the baking sheet in the oven at 300 degrees F and bake until it is crunchy, 20-30 minutes. Or try quinoa with mushrooms, kale, and sweet potatoes.


Barley is another high-fiber cholesterol fighter. On weeknights, use the pearl or quick-cooking variety. More time? Try using hulled barley, which has an outer layer of bran.

Some people take barley grass juice powder for its potential health benefits, which may include improving digestion, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation. It is also thought to have antioxidant and detoxifying effects. Barley grass juice powder is often added to smoothies, juices, and other beverages, or it can be mixed into water or other liquids to make a drink.

See if this works: Throw some sautéed mushrooms and sherry vinegar into your cooked barley. Or try chicken thighs with barley and peas.


The winter squash pumpkin has the capability of keeping skin in good condition due to its antioxidants, while the potassium in it is useful in bringing down blood pressure levels.

Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, high in potassium, contains vitamin C, fights cancer and can help with weight control.  Pumpkin contains just 50 calories per cup so it can fill you up without a lot of calories.

Give it a go: Peel the item, chop it into pieces, and bake it in a mixture of olive oil and springs of fresh thyme. Or try pumpkin-leek soup.

Nut Butter

The protein content in peanut and almond butter is particularly high, and these spreads contain a good amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Choose those with only two components: nuts and salt.

Try this combination: Soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice wine vinegar to create a fast Asian-style dip for chicken skewers. Or try peanut noodles with edamame.


Chard is loaded with beneficial elements including calcium, B vitamins, and beta-carotene. This leafy green fuels your body with fiber, too.

Try this recipe: Cook chopped chard with garlic slices in a skillet, then combine it with whole-grain pasta and raisins. Or try Swiss Chard With Chickpeas and Couscous.


Bulgur is created with wheat that is steamed, dried, and cracked, giving it higher levels of fiber than brown rice. Additionally, consumption of bulgur provides benefits in terms of potassium, B vitamins, and calcium.

Try this: Cook bulgur as you would oatmeal. Add honey and chopped nuts to the top of your food for a healthy morning meal or an energizing snack. Or try minty bulgur salad with salmon and cucumbers.

Whole-Grain Pasta

A serving of whole-grain pasta has triple the amount of fiber compared to semolina pasta. Avoid purchasing pasta that states it is “multigrain,” as it could include numerous grains that aren’t necessarily of the whole variety.

Mix together some whole-wheat noodles, pesto sauce, chopped up arugula and grated citrus zest. Or try whole-grain spaghetti with kale and tomatoes.

Black Beans

Black beans have antioxidants and magnesium, both of which support the normal functioning of nerves and muscles.  Black beans are high in protein and fiber.  They also contain iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and copper.  All of these are important for overall nutrition and help build bones.  Black beans are a good source of selenium which helps your liver function.

For this recipe, you could spread some canned black beans on a baking sheet, then drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle on some ground cumin, and finish it off with a pinch of salt. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until golden brown in order to create a delicious treat. Or try cuban black beans and rice.


It is possible to eat spinach either uncooked or prepared. Spinach has many beneficial antioxidants that could protect one from a variety of illnesses. Spinach contains Vitamins A, B, C, E, K , zinc, magnesium  and large amounts of iron  that is necessary for the red blood cells in the body. Spinach is also helpful in the maintenance of the hair, skin, nails and eyesight. Iron, folate, and a minimum of twelve flavonoids, which contain loads of antioxidizing compounds, will support your hair’s health.

See if you can mix a small amount of spinach in with your preferred fruit smoothie.


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