Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tips for A Healthier, Fitter Family

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 The old saying that "A family that eats together stays together" not only holds good even today but needs to be tweaked a little to suit today's health conscious world . It should now read as "A family who eats healthy and exercises together stays fit forever!"
As a dietitian my goal is not only to get my client on the right 'eating' path, but also to extend the benefits of healthy eating and regular exercise to his/her family. Many a times clients (mostly women) give up as it gets difficult to make two different menus-one would be the regular food for the family and the other for themselves. My solution-if the present food and eating habits has resulted in weight gain and other related health problems,then it is advisable to change it not just for yourself,but also for the whole family.  To do that you need to make subtle changes not just in the cooking but also in the family's outlook towards health. Here's how you can bring about a change in your and your family's health:
  1. Reduce oil used for cooking to half of your currant usage. 
  2. Avoid making or buying fried foods like chips, pakodas, fried chicken and such on a regular basis.
  3. If you must, then buy the smallest available packs/size of fried foods,sweets,chocolates, cakes-that way there won't be any left overs for snacking on later.
  4. Use whole grains like brown/semi-polished rice, whole wheat flour, whole wheat pasta, 100% whole wheat breads and locally grown millet and grains like ragi/nachni(finger millet) and jowar(sorghum).
  5. Switch to eating fruits for desserts on a regular basis.
  6. Buy skimmed milk, low-fat cheese, non-fat plain yogurt
  7. Munch on healthy snacks like fruits, salads, a handful of nuts, edamame salad or other cooked beans/pulses like a chickpea salad.
  8. Drink water when you are thirsty and with your meals instead of juices, aerated drinks, beer or energy drinks.
  9. Buy only 100% fruit juices( or you could make fresh juices at home) instead of those loaded with sugar.
  10.  Include a variety of seasonal vegetables (and not just potatoes) with every meal.
  11. Avoid red meats like beef, pork, mutton(goat meat) and instead have fish or poultry.
  12. Eat your meals together as a family and not in front of the television.
  13. Try to inculcate the idea of physical fitness by including the whole family in outdoor fun activities like walking, trekking, hiking, biking, swimming or even playing outdoor games together.
  14.  Include kids and/ or your spouse when cooking so that the resulting meal is a family effort.
Old habits are hard to change, the trick is to be persistent! Try introducing one or two changes every week, that way the changes may actually go unnoticed. Just bear in mind that IMPOSSIBLE can easily turn into I'M POSSIBLE!!


Smitha Suresh said...

Good one Sweta :)

Sugar said...

how true.. and that goes with fitness levels as well!

Sweta (My Indian Dietitian) said...

@Sugar-yes indeed! Diet and exercise always go together!!!

Fitho said...

Very good tips. Thanks for sharing them for a healthy family.

True, someone in the family should take initiative and persuade all family members about benefits of eating healthy foods and exercising.