Did you know, according ot the Heart Foundation, five-plus servings of fruit and vegies a day is not enough for the average grown-up? Our diets should be nearly half fruit and vegies every day.
That’s the latest recommendation from the Heart Foundation which has dropped the longstanding food “pyramid” in favour of a heart-shaped graphic in which fruit and vegies clearly dominate.
Before now, the foundation’s recommended proportions of grains (rice, pasta, bread etc) was equal with fruit and vegies but now grains, cereals and starchy vegetables take second place.
The proportions for adults go like this:
Veges and fruit 40%
Bread, cereals, grains, starchy vegetables 25%
Fish, meat, chicken, legumes, eggs 15%
Milk, yoghurt, cheese 15%
Oils, nuts 5%
The new chart is based on the foundation’s own “heart healthy” recommendations from 2003, rather than the Ministry of Health’s food and nutrition guidelines which were the basis for the pyramid.
So what does it mean for the average family? Potentially, it represents quite a hike in the grocery bill as fruit and vegetables cost much more than rice, pasta, bread and other high-carb staples. And if you’re already struggling to make ends meet surely this puts more pressure on Mum and Dad who are trying to do their best for the kids?
Foundation nutrition adviser Delvina Gorton says the foundation shares concerns over the extra cost in meeting the new guidelines but there are ways to off-set those costs, for example, shopping at cheaper Asian vegie shops.
“I think definitely supermarkets have good margins on fruit and vegies,” she says.
Other suggestions include buying frozen vegies and produce that’s in season, as well as cutting out expensive highly processed foods to balance the budget.
The foundation is also pushing for Government measures to make sure healthy food was accessible to all.
This is not necessarily about making fruit and vegies GST-free – there may be better ways of achieving this goal, says Delvina.
She says the new “heart” shape is a simple way of showing the recommended balance of foods to get people thinking about making dietary changes.
“It’s about people doing what they can,” she says. It might simply mean adding a carrot to your lunchbox.
The Heart Foundation guidelines don’t apply to children. Ministry of Health Healthy Eating guidelines for children aged two to five are:
The daily minimum:
Two servings of vegies
Two servings of fruit
Four servings of breads, cerals etc
2-3 servings of milk and milk products
1 serving of meat, chicken, eggs, nuts etc