Today we find ourselves at Guideline 3. It's a big one. Possibly the guideline you were hoping I'd ignore, the one that's probably responsible for a Dietitian's reputation as 'The Food Police'. Here it is:
Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol
a. Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat such as many biscuits, cakes, pastries,
pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips,
crisps and other savoury snacks.
Replace high fat foods which contain predominantly saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods which contain predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
Low fat diets are not suitable for children under the age of 2 years.
b. Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added salt.
Read labels to choose lower sodium options among similar foods.
Do not add salt to foods in cooking or at the table.
c. Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and
d. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake. For women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.*
What sticks out most to me in guideline 3 is that most of the food it recommends limiting are processed or packaged foods. If you focus on eating real food from the 5 food groups, rather than products with long ingredients lists, you are going to be limiting your intake of saturated fats, added sugars and added salt.
Alcohol falls into the 'discretionary foods' category and regardless of your perceived tolerance (or lack thereof) can add excess energy (kJs) to you diet, contribute to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.
5 tips for following guidelines 1,2&3
1. Focus On Your Needs Instead of focusing on all the things you think you have to cut out of your diet, focus on the foods that you should be including. Aim to get the right amount of serves from the 5 food groups and you just might find that you're too full munch on the discretionary foods anyway.
2. Make It At Home The more you cook and prepare food yourself from real food ingredients, the less you will need to rely on processed and packaged convenience items. You have much more control over the fat, sugar and salt added to your food when you've made it yourself.
3. Learn to cook Veg Following on from tip 2, having the skills to prepare vegetables in a flavoursome way will make them much more appetising. If you are used to boiled, soggy, grey veggies, it's no wonder you're not enjoying them!
4. Be Trolley Savvy Notice how the trolleys in the supermarket have a large section and a small section now? When shopping, try only putting foods that belong to the 5 food groups in the big section of the trolley, and 'discretionary foods' in the small section.
5. Read the ingredients When you look closely at the ingredients list on a food label, remember that the ingredients are listed in descending order. You will be surprised what's actually in some products. Did you know that the main ingredient in a typical packet of taco seasoning is sugar?!
*eatforhealth.gov.au, Australian Dietary Guidelines 1-5, viewed 29 July 2014, http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-dietary-guidelines-1-5