Happy healthy families
With a significant amount of media attention paid to the ever growing waist bands of Australians (63% of Australians being overweight or obese) it is becoming more increasingly difficult to decide which the best approach to ensure you and your family are optimising your health and wellness. Media hype focusing on clean eating, vegan, raw, paleo, organic, gluten-free, no sugar, no fat, and detoxes has added confusion to the already challenging day to day battle of making healthy choices. First of all everybody is different and every family is different there is simply no one diet fits all approach. It’s important that you work out what your goals are as a family and what resources you have to achieve them. After that, these following strategies can help with the transition to being a happy healthy family.
A balanced diet
Nutritionally, whether you eat organic, vegan or omnivore a balanced diet should consist of three regular main meals and small snacks every day. It’s important to enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods every day.
For children the Australian guide to healthy eating recommend 3 fruits, 3 dairy and at least 4 vegetables per day and for adults 2 fruits, 2 dairy and at least 5 vegetables. Cereals and grains are an ideal source of energy and choosing wholegrain options like multigrain bread and basmati rice add to this balance.
Moderating the bad fat intake in the diet is also important. An easy way is to reduce our saturated fats (bad) by choosing reduced fat milk, yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products (for people aged 2 years and up) and selecting lean cuts of meat, trim visible fat and skin, and choose oily fish.
Maintaining adequate portion control and practicing mindful eating are often one of the biggest challenges to healthy eating. Our dinner plate generally should be 50% non-starchy vegetables (think green and colourful), 25% carbohydrates (starchy vegetables, rice, pasta) and 25% protein (roughly about the size of the palm of your hand). Mindful eating involves thinking about what you’re consuming and why. Are you actually hungry or eating because you’re bored.
Focusing on having a body weight in the healthy weight range, engaging in regular exercise and keeping hydrated are also important in optimising health. At least 30minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 5 days a week will put you well on your way.
Breaking bread together is important. Having the main meal of the day together not only puts focus back on to nutrition and the goodness of balanced meals; it creates routine and is also a time to connect. Families that eat together, stay together. Integrating a minimum of four family dinners per week not only puts this into practice but allows time for other routines (read: kid’s sports and shift work). Sleep routine is also extremely important not just for your children but you too. A consistent sleep cycle will improve mood, concentration, energy levels and productivity which in turn make you healthier.
In the end a long-term healthy lifestyle has to work for you and your family. No sense keeping up with the Jones’ if it both doesn’t suit your family and isn’t affordable. You as aprent are the best role model for your family.