There’s so much information on the internet about what healthy eating means. How do you work out who is right or what is the right way to eat for you?! I’m going to come straight out and say that everyone is different and what we need to eat for health will also be different, especially if there is some imbalance or disease. This is why I am such a fan of personalised healthcare. Having said that, read on for my general guide for healthy eating for you and your family.
The benefits of eating well include lowered risk of chronic disease development. For example, cardiovascular, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases, cancer, and gastrointestinal discomfort or issues. Eating well can also help support improved body composition and blood sugar regulation by reducing fat mass. The increased nutrient intake from eating well helps increase general well-being, sleep quality, and energy levels. In children, eating well will also improve behavioural and mood issues because of the increased nutrient levels and the natural reduction in preservatives, colours and flavourings that comes with a whole food diet.
- Serving sizes are for adults and will need to be adjusted to suit children. If you need help doing this, then please get in touch and I will happily do this with you.
- Cooking meals from ‘scratch’ (using whole foods) maximizes nutrient availability and decreases artificial additives, colours, and sugars which are detrimental to health.
- Choose seasonal and local produce to maximize the nutrients available from the food.
- Planning meals and snacks for the week before shopping ensures the ingredients needed are on hand, and avoids buying pre-made meals or snacks.
- Sitting down, chewing well, and socializing with family or friends while eating helps improve breakdown and absorption of nutrients.
- Carry homemade trail mix in your bag to avoid buying snacks when out.
- Taking left overs or a packed lunch to work saves money and time.
- Keep hard boiled eggs and a bowl of cut up vegetable sticks in the fridge for quick snacks.
EAT A WIDE VARIETY OF COLOURED VEGETABLES AND FRUIT
- Aim for 3 serves of coloured vegetables and 3 of green vegetables. Try to ‘eat the rainbow’ each day.
- A serve of vegetables is equivalent to ½ cup when cooked or 1 cup of raw or leafy vegetables.
- Examples of greens are dark green leaf lettuce, rocket (Arugula), broccoli, spinach, silverbeet, kale, cabbage, Asian greens.
- Examples of colourful vegetables to include are beetroot, capsicum, carrots, kohlrabi, pumpkin, asparagus, radish, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, zucchini, fennel, avocado.
- Your hands cupped together is a great guide to estimate one serve of raw vegetables. One cupped hand is a good guide to estimate one serve of cooked vegetables.
HAVE A PROTEIN-RICH FOOD WITH EVERY MEAL
- A serving is: 100g of (raw) red meats, poultry, or 115g of (raw) fish, 2 large (120g) eggs, 1 cup (150g) of cooked legumes/beans, 170g of tofu/tempeh, or 30g of nuts and seeds.
- Quinoa, buckwheat, and millet also contain protein.
- Choose organic, free range, grass-fed meats and eggs. If you can’t afford organic, then free range is a minimum.
- Use your palm (thickness and diameter) to guide you with the size of your protein serve.
INCREASE CONSUMPTION OF OMEGA-3 CONTAINING FOODS AND OTHER HEALTHY FATS
- Not all fats are bad. Olive, macadamia, avocado and flaxseed oils, nuts, and seeds are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and phytonutrients which have many benefits for your health.
- Consume three serves of healthy fats each day (a serve is one tablespoon of oils or a small handful of nuts).
- Examples of omega-3 containing foods are a serve of walnuts, 1 tablespoon of first cold-pressed extra virgin olive, macadamia, avocado or flaxseed oil (not for cooking, use as a dressing), 1 tablespoon of chia or flax seeds, 2 eggs (60g each), 150g of fresh oily fish.
- Use coconut, avocado or macadamia oil for cooking. They have a high smoking point so will not become rancid.
- Examples of oily fish are Salmon, Sardines, Herring, Arctic cod, Anchovies, Flounder, Squid, Trout, Whiting, Trevally, and North Atlantic Mackerel. Choose wild caught seafood over farmed where available. Because of possible mercury contamination, it is advisable to avoid eating Shark (Flake), Swordfish, King Mackerel, Tilefish, Orange Roughy, and Sea Bass.
- Sprinkle freshly ground flaxseed over yoghurt, porridge, or add to smoothies.
- Nuts and seeds (especially walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamias, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds) are a nutrient dense snack high in protein and essential fatty acids. One serve per day is good.
- Comparing your portion of nuts or seeds with your three middle fingers is a great estimate for one serving.
- Don’t buy pre-packaged nuts or seeds from the supermarket as they do not have a long shelf life and can go rancid easily. Purchase bulk, or ‘by the scoop’ from health food store or markets where there is a high turnover.
INCLUDE WHOLE GRAINS AND STARCHES
- Three serves per day (or less) of whole grains such as oats, rye, barley, brown rice, millet and quinoa. Starches are root vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, beetroot, pumpkin, turnips. A serve is ½ cup (when cooked).
SOURCES OF PROTEIN
- A serving can include: 100g of lean red meats, 100g of poultry, 115g of fish, 2 large eggs, 1 cup of legumes/beans or 30g of nuts and seeds.
- Plant sources include nuts, seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds), organic tempeh, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans etc), whole grains (quinoa, buckwheat, millet).
- Legumes such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas, tinned or soaked and cooked from dry add texture and flavour to soups, casseroles, and salads. A serving is 1 cup (cooked).
- Use your palm (thickness and diameter) to guide you in your protein serve.
- Drink sufficient water for your body size per day. 30ml/kilogram of body weight/day. More (to thirst) if exercising or in hot weather.
- Avoid sugary and/or caffeinated drinks such as coffee, chocolate, black tea, fruit juice, soft drinks, and flavoured milks.
- Carrying a refillable drink bottle (glass, stainless steel, or BPA free plastic) makes it easy to drink what you need.
Need some recipes or ideas of what to eat or what to pack in your children’s lunchboxes? Download my healthy lunchbox planner to make it quicker and easier and reduce the stress of lunches!
Looking for recipes or other inspiration? Then please check out my other blogs or my Facebook or Instagram feed for inspiration on whole food cooking. Find out how to encourage your children to eat more vegetables here. And find a delicious chicken and vegetable soup recipe, that is kid tested and approved, here. If you need support to transition your family to healthy eating, then please book a free 15-minute discovery call with me to discuss your needs and how I can help you.