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What is healthy eating and why is it important?

Eating right is one of the fundamentals for healthy living. Food gives us the sustenance to live a long and healthy life. It also provides us with the nutrients essential for good health, growth and development.

But sometimes we all lose our way. Before we know it those 'sometimes foods' start making a daily appearance.

The important thing to remember, according to Sydney Local Health District's Early Childhood Dietitian, Kalliope Polyronis, is that we can make changes to ensure we're eating the right foods for our health and the health of our family.

"A nutritionally balanced diet is important for optimal growth, development and wellbeing," Kalliope Polyronis says.

"Children have unique nutritional needs. Not only must they meet their requirements for daily activities but they must also meet their special needs for growth and development. Poor nutrition in childhood is difficult to make up for later in life," she says.

"I see children with a wide range of nutrition issues. This includes children who are underweight, who have limited food exposure and those who are overweight or obese."

The mum-of-three loves talking all things food and dispelling the myths that we sometimes hear about nutrition.

"To me, being healthy is about eating a variety of food every day, trying to exercise most days of the week and minimising stress where possible," Mrs Polyronis says.

"The long term benefits of being healthy are priceless. It’s important to make it a priority and plan it into our busy lives. Once it becomes part of your routine, it's easier to continue and feel better."

Eating foods from all the core food groups (as outlined in the Australian Dietary Guidelines), in suitable quantities, will help you hit those optimal growth, development and wellbeing goals for the whole family.

Core food groups:
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Grains and cereals
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes, nuts and seeds
  • Dairy and dairy alternatives

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Good nutrition makes a big difference to your overall health.

“Making good nutrition a focus is a great way to help your kids to make the right choices in the future,” says Mrs Polyronis.

“Good ways to do this including involving children with meal planning and preparation. Be adventurous, show your kids how to eat new foods by eating with them. But just as important, make mealtimes fun and enjoyable,” she says.

 
 
 
 

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Page Last Updated: 10 February, 2017