Eating right improves your mental outlook, gives you more energy and can even make it easier to manage chronic health conditions. If you're a veteran, you're eligible for support to help make a balanced diet part of your daily routine.

Do you maintain a balanced diet?

Research shows that there is a greater risk of weight gain in the lead up to, and following, transition from the ADF. 

People who have poor nutrition or are outside the healthy weight range are more likely to have heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer and depression, while a poor diet will increase your stress levels which makes even small problems harder to deal with.

If you're a veteran, you may be eligible for specialised dietetic support.

If you have a Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) Health Card - All Conditions (Gold) or Totally & Permanently Incapacitated (Gold), DVA will fund dietetic services to meet your clinical needs. 

If you have a DVA Health Card - Specific Conditions (White), DVA will fund dietetic services if related to an accepted war or service-caused injury or disease. 

To learn more about eligibility, visit (HSV21 - Dietetic Services).

Self help

You can improve your diet today by:

  • Drinking enough water (try for eight glasses a day).
  • Eating whole grains, lean protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limiting salt, sweets and unhealthy fats.
  • Planning your grocery shopping before you shop so you don't get distracted by unhealthy choices. And try to stick to the edges of the supermarket, the edges are healthier than the aisles.
  • Keeping a range of fresh, healthy snacks to grab when you're on the go, such as whole fruit, veggie sticks or low-fat cheese cubes.
  • Eating mindfully. Take the time to enjoy your meals. Switch off screens and social media.

To test your food knowledge, visit Eat for Health.

Cooking for one or two

The Cooking for One or Two program was developed for veterans in consultation with nutritionists and DVA's Dietician.

The program aims to improve the quality of life for participants and their families by providing lessons in basic cooking skills and nutrition, and to promote the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices.

The course runs over five sessions of around 2.5 hours each. 

Larry's story...

After discharge, I found I put on so much weight, due to living a sedentary lifestyle combined with alcohol and a poor diet. So I decided to take up the challenge and even though I wasn't transitioning into employment post rehab, I still saw it as a great opportunity to get myself back in shape physically. It also helped me with my sleep and a bunch of other things that I needed to address.

Read Larry’s full story here.