Health tip of the week
Cut portion sizes and use smaller plates
As the old adage goes, “you are what you eat” – so it’s no surprise that those who live on a diet of fast food or meals which are highly processed have a greater propensity towards obesity and ill health.
But while many people dread the thought of cooking a meal from scratch when they come home from work and they have both themselves and a hungry family to feed, planning ahead can make life a lot easier.
Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan is the director of human health and nutrition of Safefood and she says that by organising your shopping list and planning and preparing meals in advance, people can make a big difference to their weight and overall health.
“Cooking skills and organised shopping are crucial when it comes to getting rid of excess weight,” she says. “By taking control of what you are eating, you will be much more aware of how many calories are in it – and you can actually add a nob of butter rather than perhaps the half pound that might be in a ready-made version.”
Dr Marian O’Reilly, chief specialist in nutrition at Safefood, agrees and says portion size is also very important. “A great place to start your food shopping – make a list and really try to stick to it,” she advises. “Try not to shop when you’re hungry, in a rush or stressed as that can make impulse buys more tempting.
“And whether eating at home or eating out, we need to choose more appropriate portion sizes. Just an extra 100 calories a day can lead to a weight gain of 4kg over the course of a year. Using smaller plates is a good start, as is including more vegetables or salad with your dinner at home.
“And if you’re eating out, think about sharing portions, and children need child-sized portions, not adult ones. Also, sorry to say this, but we need to forget what our mothers told us about finishing everything on our plate.” www.safefood.eu
Health Tip of the Week is sponsored by Pfizer as part of its Healthy Town initiative. Every year Pfizer selects a town to take part in a unique initiative aimed at showing you – no matter what age you are, or where you live – simple steps to improve your health; irishtimes.com/sponsored/ healthy-town. For more information visit irishheart.ie