Take the time to check in on your nutrition, it’s important to know what foods are healthy and what you can do to eat the healthiest diet possible. Eating a variety of foods and ensuring you have regular meals that include fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and fibre, and limiting the amount of sugar, salt and fat, are all recommended for good nutrition1.

  1. The key to good nutrition and a well-balanced diet means eating a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, which keeps our bodies working well and helps to prevent diseases, such as cancer, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease2.
  2. While knowing what foods are best to put on your plate, and how much and how often you should eat, is important for your health, so is understanding your gut health. In fact, the bacteria in your gut can be a pillar of strength for your overall health and general well-being.

So, what can you do to eat for good health and gut health?

Focus on eating foods from the five major food groups and reducing your intake of occasional foods – The foods that should make up our daily diet are from the five major food groups2:

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain or high-fibre varieties
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat

Occasional foods tend to be high in saturated fat, added salt and sugars, and they have low levels of important nutrients2. These foods should only be eaten occasionally as they can lead to poor health and weight gain. Some examples are2:

  • Cakes, desserts, pastries
  • Processed and fatty cuts of meat
  • Takeaway foods (e.g., pizza, burgers, hot chips)
  • Ice cream and chocolate
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Sugar-sweetened soft drinks and energy drinks
  • Cream, butter and spreads that are high in saturated fats
  • High-salt foods (e.g., potato crisps, salty snack foods)

Keep Your Gut Healthy

Your gut is your gastrointestinal system, which includes your stomach, intestines and colon3. The gut is important because it digests and absorbs nutrients from foods and excretes waste from your body that you don’t need3. Hundreds of different species of bacteria, viruses and fungi live in your large intestine, and the bacteria and other microorganisms are known as your gut microbiota3.

Good digestive health means looking after your gut microbiota. Many health problems, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even anxiety and skin conditions, are linked to poor gut health4. Good gut health equals having more (not fewer!) species of bacteria in your gut because gut bacteria digests food that has not been broken down by your body4 and absorbs nutrients that support your body’s functions. Gut bacteria also work hard to prevent harmful bacteria from staying in your gut, keeps the intestinal lining intact, and even stops infections from occurring4.

You can avoid poor gut health and improve it through changes to your diet. Dietary fibre, for instance, can improve your gut health as it keeps you regular and feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut3. High-fibre foods include fruit, vegetables, legumes (e.g., chickpeas, lentils, beans), and wholegrains (e.g., brown rice, oats, quinoa, corn)4.

A diet rich in all types of fibre is great for your gut microbiota. Try these easy gut-friendly swaps and tips for your diet:

  • Eat oats for breakfast
  • Choose wholegrain bread instead of white bread
  • Swap white rice for brown rice
  • Opt for a legume-based meal rather than a meat-based one
  • Have yoghurt and berries for dessert

Additionally, whole foods, such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, may prevent the growth of some bacteria that are linked to certain diseases and inflammation.

You can also improve your gut health by eating a variety of foods, limiting your intake of processed foods, drinking plenty of water and eating foods that are rich in polyphenols (e.g., herbs and spices, colourful fruits and vegetables, green and black tea, nuts and seeds)3.

Cost of living

In these times of high cost of living and its impact on food security, it is harder to make healthier choices. When we are stressed, we tend to crave comfort foods, such as things that are salty, sweet or high in fat. On top of that, unfortunately it is often cheaper to buy foods that have lower nutritional value or are marketed as “fast food” which is a combination of high in fats, sugars and preservatives. The compounding effects of poor diet and stress are things such as weight gain, mental health challenges and low energy and mood. But it is not impossible to make healthier choices on a budget, though it can take some creativity or the help of an expert to get you started.

MetLife 360Health Nutrition Service

This is all just some food for thought. If you’re looking for more guidance when it comes to your nutrition, MetLife offers eligible policy holders and their partner and children, access to MetLife 360Health’s Nutrition service. The service aims to provide you with evidence-based advice to help you in making healthy food choices that are relevant to your lifestyle, food preferences, health and weight goals, and any nutrition-related health conditions that you may have.

Learn more about 360Health Nutrition Service


  1. jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/good-nutrition
  2. betterhealth.vic.gov.au/healthyliving/healthy-eating
  3. betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/gut-health
  4. jeanhailes.org.au/news/good-food-for-gut-health