We all lead busy lives. Between work, home, family, sport and hobbies, often the last thing we think about is what to make for dinner. There never seem to be enough hours in the day and in an effort to combat the time deficit in our lives, we often throw together slapdash meals or grab a snack instead of stopping for a healthy lunch.
Think about your day – do you set time aside to eat or do you eat on the run? Does a latte count as breakfast? Do you work through lunch, grabbing a biscuit and a coffee to get you through the afternoon? Do you have a standing order at the local takeaway place where they know you by name?
According to a global study, Australia’s obesity rates are the fastest increasing in the world. Obesity has now overtaken smoking as the number one cause of premature death in Australia; it may lead to secondary complications like diabetes, heart and vascular diseases, stroke and kidney disease. Nutrition Australia is asking you to take a minute to think about the role of food in your life during National Nutrition Week.
Less than 10% of Australians eat the recommended dietary intake of vegetables and only half of us eat enough fruit. Instead, we rely on too much ‘discretionary’ food to get us through the day. Discretionary food, like biscuits, cakes, sugary drinks, fried food and alcohol usually contain high levels of saturated fats, sugars and sodium, the excessive consumption of which is not healthy.
Nutrition Australia is encouraging all Australians to take up the National Nutrition Week Challenge on 12 – 18 October 2014. Leanne Elliston, accredited dietitian and ACT Nutrition Australia program manager, thinks the program is the perfect way for people to push their nutrition in the right direction.
“Giving your healthy eating a kickstart by preparing your own meals every day for seven days is brilliant. Plus enjoying more home cooked meals and relying less on take away options will not only improve your nutritional intake but also save you dollars.”
Often, preparing and eating healthy meals is seen as difficult, time consuming and expensive but Nutrition Australia want to bust these myths and help you eat healthier, more nutritious meals through their 7-day challenge. Users who sign up for the challenge receive a 7-day meal plan with recipes and a shopping list. And don’t worry – the recipes aren’t difficult and are far from boring. For example, you could start your day off with a cheesy omelette with mushroom sauté, followed by a citrus chicken salad for lunch, enjoy a banana and strawberry smoothie for an afternoon snack and tuck into a Mediterranean polenta pizza for dinner – delicious and nutritious!
The challenge is flexible – you can opt to the whole challenge (all meals for seven days) or commit to healthy breakfasts/lunches or dinners. Challenge participants are encouraged to spread the word to their friends and family and share their meals, tips and experiences during the challenge through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #CookEatEnjoy.
The Final Word
Healthy nutrition, exercise and other lifestyle choices are important for maintaining your health. Take steps today to protect your health in the future. Some comprehensive health insurance policies offer extras cover for nutrition and lifestyle management services. Compare private health policies to find one that suits your needs and budget that will help you live life well. Go on, join the National Nutrition Week Challenge and get ready to #CookEatEnjoy!