In the age of the paleo diet, the ‘I Quit Sugar’ declarations and the fat-is-not-your-friend trends, it might surprise you that Aussies are actually eating less (FAR less) fruits and vegetables than ever before.
In fact, the latest Australian Health Survey points to the nation consuming a whopping 30 per cent less fruits and vegetables than we did 15 years ago. Today, less than seven per cent of Aussies get enough veggies and 46 per cent miss out on adequate fruit every day.
Match that with the recent decision by one of Australia’s leading fast food retailers to trial home delivery services in one of the most obese regions in Queensland, and you’ve got a heavy recipe for worsening our overweight and obesity problem.
Teenagers and young adults are especially vulnerable, ranking as the top consumers of fast food — they drink more soft drink and eat more burgers and chips than any other age group nationally (one in four teenage males eats a burger a day, compared to around one in 14 Aussies on average).
If these trends continue, public health experts warn that our next generation could be the first to face a shorter life expectancy than our parents and grandparents.
Those generations who have gone before us would be rolling in their graves — shocked to think that despite medical and scientific advancements and social progress, we are rapidly becoming less fit to fight on into old age.
The good news is, there are things we can do.
Initiatives such as the Health Star Rating Scheme, while voluntary, are a step towards improved health, helping us make quick and nutritious choices at the checkout — a life saver for on-the-go grocery shoppers!
But it’s also up to each of us as individuals. It’s crucial that we find ways to incorporate a few more fruits and veggies into our daily diet, and get balanced.
Currently, cakes, desserts, processed meats, soft drinks, alcohol, ice cream and other fatty, salty snack foods (discretionary foods) make up one-third of an Australian adult’s total daily energy intake. Holy fatty moley!
It’s time to ditch fast food, do away with home delivery, and get your friends and family together to re-energise balanced, nutritious, filling food. Top your trolley with nutritious nude foods, avoid packaged and processed products, and read the nutritional information panel on food items.
Simply by being more mindful about what we eat, we can reach old age in good health, and enjoy getting there!
If you’re looking to make a change but aren’t sure where to start, check out the Australian Dietary Guidelines online – it outlines the five food groups (grain foods, vegetables and legumes/beans, lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs and nuts, milk, yoghurt, cheese, and fruit) and recommends daily serves based on average energy needs.
Let’s get more choko and less chips on our menus!