Begin Your Good Nutrition Plan
It is important for us to understand our relationship with food. The tastes, smells, emotions and memories associated with what we consume are a strong factor when choosing what to eat. We are creatures of habit and the thought of changing our eating behaviours that we are accustomed to can be daunting.
Another factor that often controls many food choices is the cost of food. Not everyone is in a position to buy only healthy food. Sacrifices often need to be made in order to make sure the food budget feeds all of the hungry tummies in the home.
Tips To Improve Your Nutrition If You Are On A Budget
- Choose the plain packaging. Just because the packaging is attractive doesn’t mean the food brand is better than the product in plain packaging on the shelf next to it. Check the label, often the nutritional content is very similar and the cheaper option is the plain packaged one.
- Buy vegetables that are in season, as they are cheaper.
- Buy canned legumes and frozen vegetables.
- Bulk out meat meals with beans and vegetables.
- Add fibre to your diet as it is more filling.
- Choose a weetbix, porridge or oats breakfast over the sugary ricies and coco pops type cereals. Fibre fills you up so you won’t be going back for seconds at breakfast time.
Portion control can help a tight budget as well. The Ministry of Health recommends a healthy plate is:
- 1/4 meat, eggs, fish, chicken, beef, etc or palm size
- 1/4 rice, kumara, potatoes, pasta, etc or fist size
- 1/2 non-starchy vegetables, or two palms full
Make Some Small Changes First
Making dietary changes can be difficult for many people and often the information becomes too overwhelming and we tend to give up before we have even started. The trick then is to make small, manageable changes, until they become natural, and then make another change when you are ready.
As a start, pick one thing from the list below to add or change, then come back to the list when you are ready to make another change:
1. Replace one of your daily sugary drinks with a glass of water.
2. If you love your cakes and chocolate, opt for a smaller portion.
3. Swap your white bread for whole grain bread. Try a few to find which ones you like.
4. Replace one of your takeaway meals with a meal that has vegetables (such as a chow mein)
5. Use one less teaspoon of sugar or salt in your food while preparing.
6. Instead of forcing yourself to eat veggies you don’t like, have more of the ones you do like.
7. Replace one unhealthy snack a day with a snack that is healthier (fruit, veggie sticks with hummus).
8. If you often eat dessert, try to skip one or two servings each week or swap it out for reduced sugar or sugar-free option (e.g. have yoghurt instead of ice cream).
9. Be mindful while you are eating, slow down when eating your meals.
10. Use the ¼ ¼ ½ plate method when eating lunch and dinner meals. ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates, ½ plate non-starchy vegetables.