How to improve your diet

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However, the findings of The previous years are similar. Despite greater general nutrition awareness, we still struggle to eat the nutrients our bodies need to be healthy.

Indeed, according to recent data more than a third of our supermarket expenses and up to 60% of some families’ food budget goes on discretionary foods – that is, foods not necessary for health that are high in saturated fat, added sugars, salt and/or alcohol. Poor nutrition is the cause of approximately 7.3% of the total disease burden in the country.

Doubling the GST on junk food could reduce consumption of unhealthy foods.Credit:iStock

Why is it so difficult to meet nutritional goals?

Taste, convenience, advertising and availability all play a role. Just like the price of food. Australian research, published last year, found that meeting our nutrition goals would be unaffordable for people living in low socio-economic or remote areas, and would cost up to 35% of median household income.

throw in the stream shortage of fresh produce with $10 lettuces and maintaining a healthy diet becomes difficult, even for those earning well above the median household income.

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There is also the fact that food is a coping strategy for many, and no one has ever reached for a lettuce when they were seeking comfort. There are also cultural factors at play.

“Much of the take-out culture exists because in many families most of the food chores are basically left to the women,” Stanton explains. “Men sometimes cook – and younger men are more likely to do so than older men – but food should be a shared task…and it should be shared by all family members with appropriate tasks for the little ones.”

Collins adds that, coupled with the unequal distribution of domestic chores, there is the reduction of cooking skills in schools.

“Some schools don’t even have a kitchen,” Collins points out. “There is a national tragedy. Surely we can get our children out of school knowing how to shop, cook and eat? »

So what can we do about it?

Stanton and Collins both believe it is possible to achieve the Goals and have ideas on how more of us could achieve it.

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    Raise the GST on junk food: “We already know that when countries impose a 20% tax on sugary drinks, consumption drops,” Stanton says. “So doubling the GST (and reviewing the list of foods it applies to) would be a good start and help get the message across.”

  • Find inspiration online: No money, no time is a free website created by Collins and his team at Newcastle University. It provides cheap, quick and healthy meal plans and ideas. Collins says that, based on current food prices, it’s possible to meet nutritional goals for about $60 per person per week. Ask Izzy is another site that provides information on community meals, food parcels and vouchers, and Meals on Wheels.
  • Use up leftovers and use what’s in your fridge before you buy more: every year Australians waste about 7.6 million tons of food, or about 312 kilograms per person or $2,000 to $2,500 per household per year.
  • Consider your family’s legacy at mealtime: cooking at home and eating together, rather than in front of the TV, because a household can provide a sense of well-being and pride, Collins says. “What makes you feel connected and gives you a better sense of well-being?”
  • Establish kitchens in all schools and incorporate vegetable garden programs: “Many studies show that having access to a garden (home, community or school) increases children’s willingness to eat vegetables,” says Stanton.
  • Trade this for that: “A cup of coffee is $5,” Collins says. “Could you afford a lettuce if you gave up a coffee?” Can you still spend money on the vegetables you really like and then replace others with canned and frozen? She also suggests making meals more nutrient-dense (and affordable) via swaps like half the amount of ground meat in your bolognese for a can of lentils.
  • Eat less meat: “If people ate according to dietary guidelines, greenhouse gas emissions associated with food would be at least 25% lower than they are with the current average Australian diet,” says Stanton. “That doesn’t mean there are no animal foods, but it does mean making a more sustainable selection of animal foods and eating more plant-rich foods.”
  • More support and education: Australia hasn’t had a national nutrition plan since 1992, but there’s money to be saved by helping Australians meet the guidelines, Collins says. “We did a study that found over a 15-year period, women who consistently ate healthy or those who got better had lower health insurance costs and costs.”

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