Food for a healthy heart

Healthy eating perceptions and realities don't line up: Heart Foundation


Mind the gap when it comes to healthy eating.


MANY of us like to think we’re eating healthy, but are we really?

According to the Heart Foundation, the proportion of people who actually meet recommended dietary guidelines is disturbingly low. 

This National Nutrition Week, Heart Foundation dietitian Sian Armstrong has highlighted the gap between perception and reality.

“Ninety per cent of respondents to a recent Heart Foundation survey said that they prepare meals at home, and most of them rely on recipes to do so,” she said.

“And the biggest factor that influences recipe selection is how healthy it is – ahead of ease of cooking, and taste.

“But when we asked about the number of fruit and vegetables people usually eat each day, we found that most people don’t eat the recommended five or more serves of vegetables or the recommended two serves of fruit.

“Yet it’s so easy to get more vegetables in by adding them to tasty recipes and using them as snacks. Begin with an extra serve or two and aim to reach the recommended minimum five serves of veggies and two serves of fruit.”

The Heart Foundation says that heart-healthy eating patterns are based on a combination of foods, chosen regularly over time, including:

  • fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • a variety of healthy protein sources including fish and seafood, lean meat and poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds
  • reduced-fat dairy such as unflavoured milk and yoghurt, and cheese
  • healthy fat choices – nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
  • herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of salt.

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