As if feeding the family on a daily basis wasn’t hard enough, given the many likes and dislikes your offspring probably have, we are bombarded almost daily with new foods that we should now be avoiding or including for one reason or another. Foods we once thought were healthy are branded as ‘bad’ for us and those we were once told to avoid reappear on the recommended list (eggs for example). How, as busy mums, can we negotiate our way around this minefield?
Let’s start by reminding ourselves that moderation is the key and deprivation does more harm than good. That said, you don’t have license to go out and binge on high fat, high calorie foods, you just need to know you can have them in moderation if you really want them.
Once we’ve established the rules above then we can concentrate on deciphering the code of ‘healthy eating’. In my mind the more a food has been messed about with the more you should avoid it. Processing food generally means that much of the aspect of the food that started good for you has been removed or generally just disappeared and has been replaced by some seriously questionable ones. Probably the exceptions to that rule are baked beans (almost a superfood, but cheap and in a can) and tinned fruit, although I’d recommend buying the ones in juice rather than syrup.
Tinned fruit can be classed as part of your five a day and can be much cheaper than fresh fruit, if your family, like mine eat more fruit than you can keep up with, although I do agree that fresh tastes better. It also reminds me of Sunday evenings as a child at my Grandma’s house and Carnation milk but I digress… Frozen veg and fruit is also good for keeping nutrients in and allowing you to use small portions whilst preserving the integrity of the food whilst you store it.
We all know that fruit and veg should be included but should we be going organic? There are schools of thought that suggest that if it’s not organic then you are doing your body more harm than good. I wouldn’t go that far but I would quote TV chef Bill Grainger on this one that you should buy the best quality that you can afford. If that means organic then great but don’t beat yourself up if not.
Try to stick to the 80/20 rule and eat healthily 80% of the time. If you are not a big fan of fresh and healthy foods stick with it. Heston Blumenthal suggests that you keep trying foods you don’t like and re-educate your taste buds, in a similar way to the way you do with children. Don’t they say children need to be presented with a food 20 times before they really know if they like something or not? Try it for yourself.
I think we get into ruts with what we eat. I forget that I like things and when I eat them again I suddenly remember that I want to eat them. If you take the easy option too often then I think you forget that you like the fresh food that is good for you.
Also remember not to cut out whole food groups. Atkins and the Dukan diet have been particularly effective in making people think that carbs are the enemy but they are really not. Slim people eat carbs and by cutting out any whole food group you risk your health by not getting enough of certain nutrients. Again it’s about moderation.
On Wednesday 7th March I will be holding a FREE call to give much more information about the kind of food that you can include to lose weight without dieting so please sign up and book your space. If you can’t make the time you can still have access to the replay so that needn’t stop you.
Leave me a comment, as always.