Does your family need a fresh start to better food choices, but you're not sure where to begin? The following is a simple guide that will help put you on the right path.
Smarter Food Choices in 8 Easy Steps
Eat at least three regular, mixed meals each day with nutritious snacks in-between. Start your day with breakfast, don’t skip lunch, and eat a balanced meal at supper.
1. Enjoy a variety of food
Variety does not mean eating more food than you need or would normally eat every day, it simply means eating more than one type of food at each meal – mixed meals, eating different foods on different days and preparing foods in different, healthy ways. Remember, different foods have different nutrients which our bodies need to grow and develop.
2. Drink lots of clean, safe water
Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of clean, safe water every day. You can also drink herbal teas like Rooibos with no added sugar and only low fat or fat free milk.
3. Make starchy foods the basis of most meals
Let starchy foods form the biggest part of each of your meals. Starchy foods can include maize, samp, oats, whole-wheat and whole-grain breads, cereals, brown rice, pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes or any other starchy foods that you have available. These foods are rich in carbohydrates, your body’s number one fuel source, so include at least one source with every meal and snack.
4. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables every day
Make a fist with your hand – aim for at least 2 fistfuls of whole fruits and 3 of vegetables each day.
5. Eat dry beans, split peas, lentils and soya regularly.
Legumes (or plant proteins) should be eaten at least two to three times per week. Include in soups
6. Chicken, fish, meat, milk or eggs can be eaten daily
Small portions of these foods can be eaten daily. Try to include more plant protein sources and fatty fish (e.g. snoek, sardines, pilchards).
7. Eat fats sparingly
Check food labels. Rather choose mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats and oils from plants, such as canola, olive or sunflower oil, peanut butter and soft margarines. Limit your intake of trans and saturated fats. This includes fat from meat, chicken skin, full cream dairy, baked goods e.g. pies and cookies and palm oils e.g. coffee creamers.
8. Use salt sparingly
Use small amounts of salt in food preparation and avoid using extra salt at the table. Rather use herbs, salt-free spices and flavourings instead of salt. Also avoid processed foods with a high salt content.
* These guidelines are for informational purposes only. Please seek the advice of a registered Health Professional for individualised dietary advice.
Smarter Savings; Smart Shopping!
- Prepare a shopping list and stick to it.
- Plan meals and snacks for the coming week.
- Make changes to accommodate in-store specials.
- If cheaper, bulk-buy non-perishable items such as rice and pasta, and share with a friend.
- If cheaper, bulk-buy quantities of fish, chicken and meat, and share with a friend.
- Purchase fresh fruit and vegetables when they are in season.
- Limit your purchase of “extra” foods such as cakes, biscuits, chips, cool drinks and desserts.
- Store fruit separately at room temperature.
- If some fruits are ripening quicker than others, store them separately, this will prevent the rest of the fruit ripening too quickly.
- When fruit ripens place it, unwashed, into the fridge.
- Store green, leafy and salad vegetables unwashed in the fridge in a crisper or vented plastic bag.
- Store onions, potatoes and garlic in a cool, dark, dry and well-ventilated place.
- Store bread in the fridge or freezer to prevent it going stale or mouldy.
- Label and then freeze leftovers – be sure to add the date.