Healthy eating

What and how much you eat and drink, and being physically active are important for your health.

Being healthy improves your quality of life and your sense of wellbeing. Being healthy also means that you are more likely to be around longer for your whānau.

Healthy eating:

  • helps your body to work well and helps you to feel good
  • can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers and help you to have a healthy bodyweight
  • means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients your body needs.

Eat from the four food groups

Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods, including:

Veges
Plenty of vegetables and fruit
Grain foods
Grain foods, mostly whole grain and those naturally high in fibre
Milk and dairy
Some milk and milk products, mostly low- and reduced-fat
Fish
Some legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and other seafood, eggs or poultry, or red meat with the fat removed.

Legumes include lentils, split peas, chickpeas and cooked dried beans (eg, red kidney beans, baked beans).

Find out more at The four food groups.

Making healthier food choices

Choose and/or prepare foods:

  • with unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats
  • that are low in salt (sodium); if using salt, choose iodised salt
  • with little or no added sugar
  • that are mostly ‘whole’ or less processed.

Find out more at Making healthier food choices, including tips on choosing between packaged foods and on how to eat less saturated fat, sugar and salt.

For advice on diets, see our Popular diets review and Spotting good and poor weight loss diets.

Food safety

Food safety is about making sure that food is safe to eat. Harmful bacteria and viruses (bugs) can live in some foods, and if the food is not safely gathered, prepared, cooked or stored the bugs can make you or other people ill.

Buy or gather, prepare, cook and store food in ways that keep it safe to eat.

Nutrition for mums and younger children

Pregnancy and early childhood are a special time for you and baby.

Healthy eating tips

Get practical tips and advice in our healthy eating guides.

More resources

In this section

  • Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods, including plenty of vegetables and fruit, grain foods (mostly whole grain and those naturally high in fibre), some milk and milk products (mostly low- and reduced-fat), and some legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and other seafood, eggs or poultry, or red meat with the fat removed. Read more
  • Tips on choosing between packaged foods and how to eat less saturated fat, sugar and salt. Read more
  • Make plain water your first choice over other drinks. Read more
  • Young children can choke on food quite easily. Find out how to reduce the risk of food-related choking and keep your child safe. Read more
  • Iodine is a nutrient that supports normal growth and development. Find out about getting enough iodine – especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Read more
  • Vitamin D is important for healthy bones. Find out about getting enough vitamin D safely. Read more
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