The links between how and what we eat, and our health and wellbeing are well established. Diet has been linked to pretty much every chronic disease, as well as to the way we feel, look and perform every day. Yet while we know this we don’t always eat well, we get confused over the latest media report on diet, or it just seems too hard to put it into practice. So here are my 7 top tips to help.
- Rather than setting the bar too high and taking an all or nothing approach, work on making one or two changes to your families diet or eating habits at one time. Once those changes are established, set another couple of goals and work them into the routine. Think of dietary and lifestyle change as a work in progress where you constantly evaluate how the week went and what you could do better next week.
- Don’t fret over whether the kids have eaten their broccoli. Not one food is the savior to a bad diet, it is the team of foods in your diet that is important. The over riding factor is that you limit processed foods and eat predominantly natural whole foods. If the kids ate their chicken and corn on the cob, but point blank refused the greens they’ve still had a healthy meal. Encourage children to have a taste of everything on the plate and if they really don’t like it then they can leave it. But don’t give up – keep putting a little on the plate as it can take up to 20 times for a child to start to like a food.
- Take 10 minutes in the morning to ensure everyone has a healthy breakfast. Research clearly shows eating breakfast improves concentration and brain performance during the morning in children and adults. Choose a breakfast that is low GI and high in both protein and fibre. This will help to manage blood glucose levels, control hunger and therefore reduce the likelihood of overeating or snacking on the wrong things later in the day. Goodness Superfoods breakfast cereals are ideal – they tick the nutritional boxes and are quick and easy. One serve of cereal contains 30% of your daily fibre*. There are 3 delicious varieties available: Heart 1st, Protein 1st and Digestive 1st which all have specific features to meet your needs.
- Avoid snacking constantly throughout the day. This makes it more likely that you will overeat. Stick to 3 square meals with one or two snacks when you are truly hungry between meals and have more than a couple of hours to mealtime. Goodness Superfoods bars – Cranberry Nut & Apple Sultana – are a low GI, high fibre, low sugar snack that is ideal to throw in your bag. With 35% of your daily fibre* in 1 bar they make a good lunch box option as well. Other good snacks include a piece of fruit, a yoghurt or a handful of nuts.
- Aim to fill half of your plate at each meal with plant food ie vegetables and/or fruit. This will give a serious nutrient boost to the meal, add volume while limiting kilojoules.
- Include oily fish 2-3 times a week to boost your omega-3 levels.
- Choose fresh meat cuts over processed meats to maximise iron and zinc intakes, while avoiding too much saturated fat, salt and preservatives.
*Percentage Daily Intakes (DI) are based on an average adult diet of 8700kJ.