Everyday food and drinks

Everyday foods and meals are those made from foods in the 5 food groups below plus water.

Fill at least ¾ of your menu with Everyday foods or drinks.

Keep to the Portion sizes for flavoured milk, juice and hot meals.
Follow this equation to turn your recipes into Everyday meals and snacks:

Healthy Everyday foods from the 5 food groups + Ingredients from the Essentials shopping list = Everyday meal or snack

See the Healthy recipes for fantastic ideas and to check whether your home-cooked or freshly prepared meals and snacks are Everyday or Occasional.

Healthy Everyday foods and drinks from the 5 food groups

1. Vegetables, including different types and colours, and legumes/beans

  • all types – fresh, frozen, canned, pre-prepared packaged.
  • vegetable-based dips, e.g. hummus, guacamole, white bean.

2. Fruit

  • all types – fresh, frozen, canned, pre-prepared packaged.
  • 99% fruit juice and/or vegetable juice should be limited to 250mL portions.

3. Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high-fibre varieties (includes gluten-free varieties)

  • breakfast cereal – oats/porridge/muesli, wholegrain wheat flakes/bites/bricks.
  • bread, wraps and rolls – wholegrain, multigrain, wholemeal, high-fibre, fruit/raisin bread or buns (no icing), English muffins, flatbreads, etc.
  • pasta, rice, noodles.
  • couscous, quinoa, rice.
  • plain crackers/savoury biscuits/crispbread.
  • plain pikelets, pancakes and scones. No added confectionery.
  • popcorn (plain, air-popped).

4. Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs and alternatives (crumbed meat is an Occasional food)

  • lean beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, kangaroo.
  • eggs.
  • fish and seafood (including canned or frozen).
  • chickpeas, tofu, lentils, kidney beans, including dips.
  • seeds, raw or roasted (unsalted).

5. Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat

  • reduced and low-fat milks, including non-dairy alternatives with added calcium (such as soy, or rice).
  • reduced or low-fat plain or fruit yoghurt/custard.
  • reduced-fat cheeses.
  • yoghurt-based dips.

+ Water

  • ensure tap water is readily available – children need water as their main drink.

Essentials shopping list

Examples of Ingredients to make Everyday meals and snacks

  • healthy oils – canola, sunflower, olive, grapeseed, corn, and soybean.
  • margarine spread (salt reduced).
  • tomato and table sauces – use reduced salt where available.
  • gravies – use reduced salt where available.
  • vinegars - red, white, rice, cider, balsamic.
  • salad dressings made from healthy oils.
  • fresh and dried herbs and spices.
  • chutney, mustard, horseradish, chilli, relish and salsa.
  • reduced-fat/light coconut milk.
  • to be used sparingly: yeast extract, jam, sugar, honey and syrups, seasonings, marinades, sauces and stock.

Examples of Everyday meals

  • sandwiches or wraps filled with salad/reduced-fat cheese/egg/lean meats.
  • toasties with reduced-fat cheese and tomato/baked beans/apple and cinnamon.
  • rice paper rolls filled with vegetables and tofu/chicken.
  • sushi rolls with tuna and vegetables.
  • vegetable frittata.
  • pizza made with a thin crust topped with lean chicken, pineapple, capsicum and cheese.
  • pizza muffins with tomato, capsicum and reduced-fat cheese.
  • curry made with lean meat, vegetables, herbs and spices.
  • stir-fry with vegetables, chicken and rice/noodles.
  • fried rice made with eggs, lean meat and vegetables.
  • steamed dim sum dumpling – chicken and vegetable filling.
  • soup – chicken and vegetable/pumpkin.
  • spaghetti bolognese or lasagne.
  • jacket potato with tuna and sweet corn or baked beans and reduced-fat cheese.
  • burrito/fajitas/soft tacos with lean meat, beans, salad and guacamole/salsa.
  • uncoated falafel rolls with salad, hummus, tabbouleh.
  • lean, skinless chicken wrap with salads, hummus.
  • hamburger with wholemeal bun, lean beef patty, salad, beetroot.
  • chicken burger on high-fibre roll, with lean chicken, salad.
  • risotto – chicken/vegetable/mushroom.

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