Healthy Food Solutions
(27 Jan 2016)

Healthy Food Solutions Expresso

Healthy Food Solutions

 

At the start of a new year it’s great to look at how you can make better food choices for a healthy lifestyle, especially if you’ve overindulged over the festive season, or you’d like a fresh start for a healthier lifestyle for the entire family.

 

Woolworths dietician Cindy Chin joined us in studio to give us a few tips on better eating for the whole family.

 

Many of us tend to pick up a bit of weight after all the festivities. Should we be concerned about this?

Surveys around the world show that many people tend to pick up about 2-3 kg’s over the festive season. While this may not sound too significant, unless we consciously make a change in our eating patterns and lifestyle, we tend to retain this weight year after year. Eventually this catches up with us. In general, a 5 kg increase in weight translates to a clothing size.

 

 

What’s the situation in South Africa/ How serious is the obesity problem in SA?

Studies have shown that 65% of South African adult women are either overweight or obese, with about 30% of men being overweight or obese. It's also been shown that one fifth of preschool children are overweight - these children will probably be overweight as adults.

 

Prevalence is shown to be higher in urban areas, with obesity related to a variety of interlinked and complex factors, such as socio-economic, environmental and behavioural. This then paves the way to life threatening secondary conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and strokes, and increases the risk of developing cancer. These studies have shown that the main causes of being overweight are sedentary lifestyles combined with unhealthy eating habits.

 

 

Where can we start to curb this weight gain?

Start with a clear strategy and plan. Identify problem areas you have, such as snacking on junk foods in front of the television, snacking unhealthily, or you kids saying they're hungry before supper.

From there you need to set realistic goals for yourself and your family and tackle the easy problems first - e.g. better snack options, eating more vegetables

The next step is to review and clean out your cupboards and fridges. Also, adjust your environments so that eating smaller portions and choosing nutrient dense foods become habitual and easy. An example of this is to cut up vegetables and fruit, stock up on easy to peel fruits.

 

 

Do you have any practical suggestions?

Portion control is an important concept when trying to lose weight and keep it off.

 

Tips for reducing portions:

- Use smaller plates, bowls and utensils;

- Use plates with a darker colour rim;

- Use smaller glasses for serving sugar-sweetened beverages and alcohol;

- Dish up in the kitchen, not at the table

 

Some other tips include:

- Eat slowly, the brain takes time to register that the stomach is full;

- Eat together- Sit at the table as a family vs in front of the television;

- Buy small, individually packed snacks.

 

 

What are some simple swaps we can make at home to help us and our families make better choices?

Small swaps can make a big difference. Aim for nutrient dense foods as far as possible, especially for kids who have smaller tummies, such as whole grains, fruit and veg, fish and lean meats, plant-based fats like avo, olive oil, nuts, seeds.

 

Here are a few examples:

- Incorporate more vegetables into your diet by adding adding them to every meal including breakfasts - e.g. egg omelettes, frittata, quiches, smoors; for lunch, instead of sandwiches keep salad basics in the fridge;

 

- Instead of using sugar to sweeten cereals or baking, use fresh fruit (chopped, grated, pureed), and spices like cinnamon or cardamom;

 

- Swap sugar sweetened yoghurt with plain yoghurt sweetened with fresh, stewed or chopped dried fruit;

 

- Instead of white refined starches aim for whole grains, pulses and legumes such as bulgur wheat, quinoa, brown and wild rice, whole wheat cous cous, whole wheat pasta, beans, lentils, chickpeas, oats. These options are more filling and packed with fibre and nutrients;

 

- Eat more oily fish instead of only red meat and chicken - e.g. sardines, pilchards, salmon, mackerel;

 

- Include controlled amounts of plant-based monounsaturated fats daily such as avocado, olive oil, raw unsalted nuts and seeds instead of animal-based fats. Beware of portion size if you’re trying to lose weight though;

 

- Change your cooking methods - Bake, stir-fry or grill instead of deep-frying.

 

 

 

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