Food and nutrition
Eating healthily at home can be a challenge, especially if you are a working woman with competing commitments or a limited budget.
You can provide healthy meals for yourself and others in your household by keeping a few simple guidelines in mind.
Top tips for healthy household meals
- Be organised
Prepare a weekly menu and shopping list. You can have a meal on the table in less time than it takes to get takeaway.
- Keep it varied
Make sure your menu plan and shopping list include a good variety of fruits and vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, low-fat dairy foods and lean meat, fish or vegetarian alternatives.
- Keep it simple
Prepare no fuss, tasty meals like barbecued lamb cutlets, jacket potatoes and steamed mixed vegetables with soy sauce and sesame seeds for flavour. No gourmet recipe book needed!
- Keep it small
Use smaller plates at meal times. Serve within the rim of the plate and use the ‘quarter, quarter, half’ rule: one-quarter protein, one-quarter carbohydrate and one-half salad or vegetables.
- Keep it cheap
Buy in bulk and freeze perishables for later. Buy fruits and vegetables in season. Use slow-cooking methods for cheaper cuts of meat.
Being overweight can increase your risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and some cancers. Obesity also reduces both male and female fertility and it can affect emotional health and confidence.
Losing just 5 to 10 per cent of your weight can improve conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Being fit can also protect health to some degree, even if you are overweight. Eating well and regular exercise are beneficial even if that ultimate weight goal remains elusive.
Factors that affect body weight
Weight is affected by three key factors: genetic inheritance, food intake and physical activity.
We can’t change our genes, but we can make the most of what we have inherited with healthy food and regular physical activity.
Energy intake from food and fluids is fuel for the maintenance of the body’s basic functions and to meet the demands of physical activity. If the number of kilojoules we eat is greater than the number of kilojoules that we use up each day, then the excess energy is stored in the body as fat.
What is the best way to lose weight?
Losing weight requires setting a goal, having a plan and being determined. A combination of changing diet and increasing exercise is more effective than doing only one or the other. Small reductions in kilojoule intake or small increases in activity level can make a big different over time. For some, overeating may be related to more complex emotional issues that need to be addressed before eating changes can happen.
Below are some tips for long term, realistic weight loss.
- Avoid the dieting cycle
Diet plans usually predetermine the amount of food allowed and may not teach good food choices. The unrealistic rules of diets can leave us feeling deprived, vulnerable to temptation and feeling guilty if we give in. This can set up a repetitive cycle of dieting followed by overeating, followed by more guilt and a return to dieting.
- Identify non-hungry eating
Find alternatives to eating if you’re using food to deal with stress, boredom or loneliness.
- Practise mindful eating
Sit down to eat and turn off the TV. Savour each mouthful.
- Set realistic goals
Aim for a gradual weight loss of around 1 to 2 kg per month.
Eating healthily during pregnancy is important to meet the needs of your developing baby, and for your own wellbeing. Research has shown that what a woman eats can influence the development of her baby and may also have an effect on the baby’s health later in life.
The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.