Australian Core Food Groups for different age groups or status

(National Health & Medical Research Council, 1995)

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating released in 1998 was based on the recommendations made in the Core Food Groups.

Food Group Age group Recommended quantity
Cereals 1

4-7
8-11
12-18
19+
Pregnant
Lactating

120g
180g
180-210g
210g
240g
330-360g
Fruit 2 4-11
12-18
19+
Pregnant
Lactating
150g
300-450g
300g
600g
750g
Vegetable 3 4-7
8-11
12-18
19+
Pregnant
Lactating
150g
225g
300g
300-375g
375g
525-600g
Meat & Alternatives 4 4-7
8-11
12+
Pregnant
Lactating
35g
65g
85g
125g
190g
Milk group 5 4-7
8-11
12-18
19+
Pregnant
Lactating
400ml
450ml
550-600ml
450ml
450ml
450-600ml
  1. Cereal amount is expressed as weight of bread - 30g bread is equivalent to 90g or 1/2 cup cooked rice/pasta or 20g breakfast cereal
  2. 150g fruit is equivalent to one medium fruit (apple, orange, banana, 2 apricots, 1 cup diced pieces, edible portion)
  3. 75g cooked vegetables is equivalent to 1/2 cup or 1 cup salad vegetables
  4. 35g cooked meat is equivalent to 40g cooked fish fillet or one egg or 1/4 cup cooked beans or 1/5 cup nuts/seeds 
  5. 250ml milk is equivalent to 1/2 cup evaporated milk or 40g cheese or small tub (200g) yoghurt.

Cashel and Jeffreson (1995) developed the 'Core Food Groups' in 1995 to replace the '5 food groups'. The core food groups are intended as the basis for the development of nutrition education tools and thus are not appropriate to be directly used for nutrition education purposes as they do not include a ‘total diet context’. The Core Food Groups provide guidance about the minimum amounts of food for good health, e.g. 2 fruits and 5 vegetables, and they provide 70% of the Recommended Daily Intakes (RDI's) for vitamins and minerals and 50% of the RDI for protein. Fat spreads/oils were removed because vegetables were a better source of vitamin A. In other words, the core food groups did not model fats for their contribution of fatty acids, only for vitamin A. 

One problem at present in such models is that Australian food composition tables do not have values for vitamins B12 and folate and do not take into account of vitamins B6 and E, phytochemicals and the minerals iodine, phosphorus and selenium. Neither Australia nor other countries have recommendations about achieving the recommended fatty acid intakes with foods, such as the omega -3 fatty acids (see section 'Recommendations for Macronutrient Intakes'). It could be argued that separate treatment of sources of these fatty acids, like fish, in the model would be an advantage (Wahlqvist, 1996). 

The core food groups:

Are essentially nutrient-based, and not food based i.e. they do not give recommendations on specific favourable foods, such as fish;
Are based on daily food intakes; limited recommendations are given on the desirable frequency of foods across a week or month e.g. fish 1-2 times a week;
Do not address "indulgence" foods (as opposed to the 12345+ plan) and added fats. 

They do, however, encourage a variety of foods to be consumed from within each food group. They acknowledge that cereals, especially bread, are a major source of salt in the Australian diet and encourage consumption of a variety of cereals from this group e.g. rice and pasta which have no salt. Red meat is recommended at least three times a week to ensure an adequate intake of iron and zinc. Vegetarians are recommended to have pulses and/or nuts daily and to consume wholegrain products to ensure an adequate iron and zinc intake. Low fat cheese is recommended, but for consumers who prefer higher fat cheeses, the core food groups recommend that such cheeses be limited to 3-4 times per week. Calcium fortified soy milk, almonds, brazil nuts, lentils, fish with bones and dried apricots are recommended for consumers who do not eat dairy products.

 

Last Updated: March 27, 2001.