Healthy eating means eating a wide variety of nutritious foods. Healthy foods contain all the energy, minerals, vitamins or fibre you need to grow. You should try and eat lots of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and bread. Small amounts of foods like cakes and lollies are fine to eat too, as long as you don't eat them all the time.
Healthy eating means eating a wide variety of nutritious foods from all of the food groups. These foods contain lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Eating a wide variety of foods from all food groups will help you grow.
Some foods contain too much sugar or fat and not many vitamins or minerals. These are foods we should only eat sometimes.
The foods you eat have been divided into three groups according to how nutritious they are. These make up what is often called the ‘food pyramid’. You can use these groups to help you decide which foods to eat more of and which to eat less often.
Group 1: Eat these foods most of the time
You should try to eat lots of:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Grains such as rice and pasta
- Beans and lentils.
Plant foods contain thousands of nutrients (small parts), which can help to prevent serious diseases. This is why it is important to eat a variety of different types of plant foods.
Group 2: Eat these foods moderately
These foods are important for health, so you should eat them in medium amounts:
- Dairy products such as milk, cheeses and yoghurts (sometimes low fat ones should be chosen)
- Lean meat
- Chicken (without skin)
Group 3: Eat these foods sometimes
These foods don’t give us very many nutrients and are really just ‘extras’. They may contain lots of sugar or fat (or both) but often don’t have many vitamins, minerals or fibre. It’s OK to have these ‘sometimes foods’ if you are healthy, active and not overweight. Most of the time they are better left for occasions like birthday parties.
An example of one serve of these foods includes:
- Sweet biscuits (2 small)
- Chocolate coated bars (1 bar)
- Potato chips (30g)
- Ice-cream (2 scoops)
- Lollies/chocolate (30g)
- Cake or muffin (1 medium piece).
The food pyramid
The three groups of foods you eat from are often shown as a food pyramid:
- The bottom of the pyramid is the biggest part of the pyramid. It contains the foods you should eat most of the time.
- The middle of the pyramid contains foods you should eat moderately (a medium amount). They are important for health but we don’t need too much of them.
- The top of the pyramid is the smallest part of the pyramid. It contains foods you should only eat sometimes.
Where to get help
- Your parents
- Your teacher
Things to remember
- Healthy foods we should eat most of the time contain lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
- Sometimes foods can contain lots of fat or sugar but not many vitamins and minerals.
- Try to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods from all food groups.
- Lollies, cakes and chips are OK to eat, but only every now and then (for example, at parties).
You might also be interested in:
- Bottle feeding - nutrition.
- Cereals and wholegrain foods.
- Child nutrition - juices and sweet drinks.
- Children's diet - fruit and vegetables.
- Constipation and children.
- Eating disorders - adolescents.
- Eating tips for children (1) - babies.
- Eating tips for children (2) - young toddlers.
- Eating tips for children (3) - older toddlers.
- Eating tips for children (4) - preschoolers.
- Eating tips for children (5) - primary school.
- Eating tips for teenagers.
- Food and your life stages.
- Food to have sometimes.
- Food variety and a healthy diet.
- Foods from plants and animals.
- Fruit and vegetables.
- Healthy eating tips.
- Lunch box tips.
- Obesity in children - management.
- Overweight children - healthy lifestyle tips.
- Toddlers and fussy eating.
Want to know more?
Go to More information for support groups, related links and references.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
(Logo links to further information)
Deakin University - Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
Fact sheet currently being reviewed.
Last reviewed: July 2011
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