Take a leaf out of grandm ’ boo

Th­ese sim­ple daily prac­tices are worth copy­ing — be­cause they helped keep your an­ces­tors health­ier (with the science to prove it!)

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - FEATURES -

1 Sit at the din­ner ta­ble as a fam­ily

“Eat­ing food mind­fully, with­out watch­ing a TV or phone screen, makes peo­ple feel sig­nif­i­cantly more sat­is­fied after a meal and more con­nected with oth­ers,” says Collins. “Stud­ies also show that eat­ing meals as a fam­ily is as­so­ci­ated with bet­ter men­tal health, self-es­teem and school per­for­mance in chil­dren.”

2 Spend less on take­away

“Some Aus­tralian house­holds now spend nearly 50 per cent of their food bud­get on dis­cre­tionary foods, such as cakes, lol­lies, bis­cuits, soft drinks, crisps, take­away food, meals out, and al­co­hol,” says Collins. “But cook­ing meals at home, as your grand­mother did, re­duces your in­take of sat­u­rated fat, salt, sugar and kilojoules — pro­mot­ing a health­ier weight as well as low­er­ing your risk of heart dis­ease and di­a­betes.”

And when you cook meals at home rather than buy­ing them from a take­away, you’re much more likely to use grandma’s health­ier meth­ods like boil­ing, or mod­ern steam­ing.


“This en­sured grandma’s fam­ily ate less salt, sugar, fats, kilojoules, preser­va­tives and ar­ti­fi­cial flavours,” says Aloysa Houri­gan, Se­nior Nu­tri­tion­ist with Nu­tri­tion Aus­tralia. “Your grandma knew all the in­gre­di­ents that were in her home-cooked meals and she hardly ever ate pro­cessed foods.” The food was sim­ple — but of­ten more whole­some.


“Din­ner plates and other crock­ery were usu­ally smaller, so por­tions were smaller and ‘a plate­ful of food’ au­to­mat­i­cally had fewer kilojoules,” says Houri­gan. You ‘eat’ with your eyes too — so din­ing off a small, full plate can make you feel full. Re­call the ‘70s life­style mantra: ‘small is beau­ti­ful’.

5 Have three square meals

Far fewer peo­ple went on di­ets in grandma’s day — yet peo­ple weighed less, not more. “Se­vere re­stric­tion of food groups makes a diet dif­fi­cult to main­tain in the long term, and less likely to be nu­tri­tion­ally ad­e­quate,” says Collins. “While di­ets may help with short-term weight loss, once you di­vert from the diet back to your old habits, the weight is re­gained — in fact, you may pos­si­bly even gain more.” Start with small, sus­tain­able changes, such as choos­ing fruit as a snack, and re­plac­ing white bread with whole­grain.

6 Take time for break­fast

This is a dou­ble win for waist­line and health. Peo­ple who skip break­fast tend to eat more kilojoules at lunch and ex­pe­ri­ence greater hunger, which can lead to snack­ing, ac­cord­ing to a study from Cor­nell Univer­sity in the US.

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