New CSIRO research and top tips on how to get back to healthy diet

We know healthy diet can take a back seat priority at some point in life.

But when you have these additional stress, of course it makes sense for it to move even further down the list.

A CSIRO survey of 4000 people found a 3rd felt their diet had worsened during COVID-19 and two-thirds were eating more junk food or snacking more.

So now is the perfect time to shake up our eating habits for the better.

The CSIRO has just re-launched its Healthy Diet Score online survey to understand the eating habits of Australians in 2020.

Its last report canvassed the results of 85,600 adults in 2016.

As well as being an important research tool, the survey is a way for people to check in with themselves and find out how their diet compares to national guidelines and to other Australians.


Sometimes just seeing a score is enough of a reality check to motivate people to make changes.

People often think their diet score will be better than it is.

A big problem is our understanding of serving sizes, for example takeaway meals can be three times bigger than recommended, whereas when we think we’ve eaten a serving of vegetables, we’ve actually only had half.

Although COVID-19 is still very much a part of our everyday lives … we need to look after ourselves to make sure we feel good at the end of the day.

Here are top tips for a diet this year:


Think colour. With spring we think of colour, and for our diet, that usually means variety.

It can be as simple as trying to have three different vegetables on our plate every night at dinner.

Research has shown this can significantly increase your overall vegetable intake.

Plus, as the weather starts to warm, salads become more appealing and they’re an easy way to bring variety.

Reduce (don’t cut) junk. Yes, junk foods while high in energy and low in nutrients play an important role in our diet because they’re fun and are often consumed socially.

But CSIRO research shows Australians eat on average twice as much as they should.

Going cold turkey rarely works or makes you crave more, so we recommend picking one of three different strategies to simply decrease your intake: eat smaller portions, eat them less frequently, or eat fewer types of junk food.

Watch the drinks.

It is easy to forget that beverages such as alcohol, soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, large coffees and even things like kombucha, all contain kilojoules and often, a lot of sugar.

These can add up over the day.

Our bodies don’t detect feelings of fullness from liquids in the same way as it does from solid foods.


Obviously, water should be our first drink of choice.

But similar to junk food, other drinks have a role in our life, so we just need to be mindful and reduce our amount each day.

Trick with flavour.

Cut back on the fatty oils, butter and rich sauces in spring.

Things that are lighter, but still have that flavour … can bring a meal to life without necessarily the extra kilojoules.

To fresh herbs and spices including garlic, ginger, coriander and basil.

Or think about mixing in punchy ingredients such as capers and olives, or some crunch with nuts and seeds.

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