Nutrition action plan

We also have a printable version of the action plan. Simply, download and print the PDF version available below, review each action and tick the relevant columns. Make a start once you've chosen the actions you are ready to do now.

Eat plenty of vegetables (aim for five serves every day). 

Eat plenty of vegetables (aim for five serves every day). 

Five serves are ideal. Use a diary to record how many serves you are having each day. If five feels like a lot, you can build up to it. Start by adding an extra ½ cup of green or orange colour vegetables to your main meals.

Discover ways to increase your vegetable intake.

Choose wholegrain breads, cereal, pasta, rice and noodles. 

Choose wholegrain breads, cereal, pasta, rice and noodles. 

Wholegrain foods like multigrain bread and wholemeal pasta are healthier than white or refined grain foods like white bread. An easy way to think of this is to choose brown and grainy rather than white versions of these foods.

Find out more about choosing healthier grain foods.

Select lean meat (meat trimmed of fat and poultry without skin). 

Select lean meat (meat trimmed of fat and poultry without skin). 

Choose chicken with the skin off and remove any excess fat.

Trim fat off cuts of meat including beef, lamb, mutton, veal, pork, venison, rabbit, emu, kangaroo, buffalo and goat.

Keep the amount to around the size of your palm (when it’s cooked).

Find out more about choosing healthier protein foods.

Have two to three serves (150g serve) of fish and seafood every week.  

Have two to three serves (150g serve) of fish and seafood every week.  

A serve of fish is 100–150 g. For fillets, a serve is about the size of your whole hand or one small tin.

Ways to add fish to your diet:

  • Add canned tuna to a mixed salad for a quick, healthy lunch or to one cup of cooked penne pasta and your favourite veggies for a quick supper or pasta salad.
  • Mash sardines in a bowl with a little vinegar, and serve on toast with sliced tomato and cracked pepper.

Find healthy fish recipes.

Incorporate legumes into at least two meals a week. 

Choose from dried peas (e.g. split peas), rinsed dried beans (e.g. haricot beans, kidney beans), canned beans (e.g. baked beans, three bean mix) or lentils. 

Incorporate legumes into at least two meals a week. 

Choose from dried peas (e.g. split peas), rinsed dried beans (e.g. haricot beans, kidney beans), canned beans (e.g. baked beans, three bean mix) or lentils. 

Legumes can be dried or tinned, and they include products like baked beans, lentils, chickpeas and 4 bean mix. Tinned varieties are quick and easy and save on the preparation time.  Make sure you go for no added salt varieties, or rinse and drain them before adding to dishes. Try to include legumes in at least two meals a week. A serve of beans, peas or lentils is one cup.

Get healthy legume recipes.

Include up to six eggs every week. 

Include up to six eggs every week. 

Worried about whether you should be eating eggs? They're really nutritious and it's fine to have them regularly as part of a healthy diet.

Most people, including those with high cholesterol, can eat up to 6 eggs per week (or around 1 per day) as part of a healthy eating pattern. Speak to your dietitian or doctor if you’re concerned about how your diet may be affecting your cholesterol levels.

Learn more about eggs and heart health.

Choose unflavoured reduced fat milk, reduced fat natural yoghurt, cheese or custard, or calcium-added non-dairy food and drinks. 

Choose unflavoured reduced fat milk, reduced fat natural yoghurt, cheese or custard, or calcium-added non-dairy food and drinks. 

Everyday dairy foods include milk, cheese and yoghurt. Alternatives to dairy are foods made from soy, rice, cereal or nuts for example, with at least 100 mg added calcium per 100 g.

We recommend:

  • Replacing full fat dairy products with reduced fat ones to reduce the total amount of saturated fat you eat.
  • Choosing unflavoured dairy products to reduce the total amount of saturated fat and added sugar you eat.
  • Avoiding dairy foods like ice-cream, cream and butter.

Include these dairy foods every day as part of a healthy eating pattern.

Read more about how much dairy food to eat.

Use a variety of oils for cooking – some healthier choices include canola, sunflower, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils. 

Use a variety of oils for cooking – some healthier choices include canola, sunflower, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils. 

Use healthier oils like olive and canola, and margarine spreads made from them, instead of butter when you cook. Most recipes still work well if you do, and it’s a much healthier way to cook.

You’ve probably seen claims about coconut oil being a healthy food, and perhaps even a ‘superfood’. Research shows it’s not as good as other plant oils like olive and canola oil.

Replace butter with spreads such as avocado, nut butter or tahini.

Replace butter with spreads such as avocado, nut butter or tahini.

Swap from butter to healthier spreads on your toast and sandwiches, such as avocado, nut butter and tahini. This could remove a huge 3 kg of saturated fat from your diet in 1 year!

If you don’t like margarine, use nut butters, avocado or tahini as a spread instead.

Read more about healthy and unhealthy fats.

Healthier oils can be used to ‘dress up’ salads and vegetables. 

Healthier oils can be used to ‘dress up’ salads and vegetables. 

Using healthier oils on vegetables and salads to make greens tastier.

Heathier choices are salad dressings and mayonnaise made from oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils. Choose varieties of pre-made salad dressings and mayonnaises with less salt and sugar.

Make your own healthy salad dressing by mixing olive oil with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice in a small bowl, and drizzling over your salad or vegetables.

Discover foods with healthy fats. 

Snack on plain, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit (aim to eat two serves of fruit and one handful of nuts every day). 

Snack on plain, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit (aim to eat two serves of fruit and one handful of nuts every day). 

Plan to have healthy snacks on hand.

Serve fruit for morning and afternoon tea, or try carrot or cucumber sticks.

Nuts make a great snack. Choose plain, unsalted, unroasted varieties.

There’s a huge range of nuts and seeds to choose from. Examples include:

  • almonds, cashews, peanuts, brazil nuts, walnuts
  • pine nuts
  • sesame seeds
  • pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds
  • linseed (flax seed) and chia seeds.

Avoid processed meats, including sausages, and deli meats, such as salami. 

Avoid processed meats, including sausages, and deli meats, such as salami. 

Processed meats are higher in salt and saturated fat than lean, unprocessed products. These foods should be chosen only occasionally and eaten in small amounts.

Eat a variety of healthy protein foods regularly – including lean meat and poultry, eggs, nuts, tofu, legumes and fish.

Read more about better meat choices.

Avoid take-away foods, such as pastries, pies, pizza, hot chips, fried fish, hamburgers and creamy pasta dishes. 

Avoid take-away foods, such as pastries, pies, pizza, hot chips, fried fish, hamburgers and creamy pasta dishes. 

Plan your main meals for the week, rather than trying to come up with an idea after a long day. Plan your main meal around the vegetables, and aim for a variety of foods over the week. For example, if you have pasta one night, eat brown rice with fish, couscous with chicken, or steak with vegetables another night.

Discover our tips on how to make a healthier meal.

Avoid salty, fatty and sugary snack foods, such as crisps, cakes, pastries, biscuits, lollies and chocolate. 

Avoid salty, fatty and sugary snack foods, such as crisps, cakes, pastries, biscuits, lollies and chocolate. 

Next time you reach for one of these foods, why not swap it for a healthier snack such as plain unsalted nuts, fruit or reduced fat milk, cheese or yoghurt to tide you through to your next meal.

Discover our healthy meal and snack ideas

Drink mainly water, and avoid sugar-sweetened drinks. Choose caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea in moderation. 

Drink mainly water, and avoid sugar-sweetened drinks. Choose caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea in moderation. 

Plain tap water is the best drink choice. It's cheap, quenches your thirst and has no kilojoules.

In addition to water, it’s fine to have these drinks in moderation:

  • plain mineral or soda water
  • reduced unflavoured fat milk
  • herbal tea
  • tea or coffee (regular or decaffeinated) with reduced fat milk.

It's also OK to have a small glass (125 ml) of 98% fruit or vegetable juice sometimes. Try adding sparkling or still water to make the drink last longer.

Learn more about healthy drinks.

Ask your doctor for a referral to an accredited practising dietitian. 

Ask your doctor for a referral to an accredited practising dietitian. 

A health professional can give you personalised advice and information.

A dietitian is trained to provide advice on healthy foods and meals, and can help you navigate changes you may need to make to your eating patterns.

The support of a health professional, including an Accredited Practising Dietitian, may help you make and sustain these changes.

Find an Accredited Practising Dietitian near you.

  • At least one action needs a decision made.

Well done on making a great start. You're already doing many of these actions already. It's good to go back and check the things you're already doing. For example, use a food diary track your progress, whether it's actions you're already doing, or ready to do now.

The tips below can help you plan each step in your recovery.

Well done on making a great start. You're already doing many of these actions already. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress, whether it's actions you're already doing, or ready to do now.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on making a great start. You're already doing many of these actions already. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress, whether it's actions you're already doing, or ready to do now.

Don't worry about not being ready to take action on some things. Recovery is not a race. Remember every step you take counts.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on starting your action plan. It's great that you're ready to take action on so many things. Sometimes, it's challenging when you have a long list of things to do. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress as you go.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on making a start. It's great that you're ready to take action on so many things. Sometimes, it's challenging when you have a long list of things to do. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress as you go.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

It's great that you're ready to take action on so many things. Sometimes, it's challenging when you have a long list of things to do. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress as you go.

Don't worry about not being ready to take action on some things. Recovery is not a race. Remember every step you take counts.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on starting your action plan. Making a plan is an important step in your recovery. Even though you don't feel ready to make a start with most actions, don't worry. Recovery is not a race. Every step you take counts – even if it's just one.

Take your time. The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

Well done on making a start. Making a plan is an important step in your recovery. Even though you don't feel ready to make a start with most actions, don't worry. Recovery is not a race. Every step you take counts – even if it's just one.

Take your time. The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

Well done on starting your action plan. It's great that you're ready to take action, no matter how many steps you're ready to take action on.

Making a plan is an important step in your recovery.

Even though you don't feel ready to make a start with most actions, don't worry. Recovery is not a race. Every step you take counts – even if it's just one.

Take your time. The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

Already doing this

You haven’t selected anything that you’re ‘already doing’. Don’t worry, just choose something you’re ‘ready to do now’ and focus on that. If you need advice, you can call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 1300 36 27 87.

You’ve already started these actions. Great work. When you get started, keep track of your progress using a diary and the will become part of your routine in no time.

You’ve already started these actions. Great work. Keep track of your progress using a diary and the will become part of your routine in no time.

Ready to do now

You haven’t selected anything that you’re ‘ready to do now’. If you’re not sure what to do next, talk to a friend, your health care professional about steps you can take to improve your heart health. If you need advice, you can call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 1300 36 27 87.

It’s great you’re ready to start this action. Take your time getting it right, then select a new action to try. The tip below can help you make this action plan work for you.

It’s great you’re ready to start these actions. Take your time getting them right, then select a new action to try. The tips below can help you make this action plan work for you.

Not ready yet / Undecided

You haven’t selected anything you’re ‘not ready to do’. Well done, it looks like you’re making great progress. Follow the tips above for things you’re ‘ready to do now’. If you need a new challenge, ask a health care professional about more ways to improve your heart health. If you need advice, you can call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 1300 36 27 87.

You’ve listed the below item as something you’re not ready to do yet. Give this action a try when you’re ready.

You’ve listed the below items as something you’re not ready to do yet or you may not have selected it at all. Give one of these actions a try when you’re ready

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Nutrition action plan (pdf)

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