Australia’s Healthy (Weight) Eating Week
What is Australia’s Healthy Weight Week?
Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (AHWW), 13-19 February 2017, is an initiative of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) to raise the awareness of maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. I would prefer to focus on the ‘healthy eating’ side of that equation and have renamed this week Australia’s Healthy Eating Week (AHEW) no not, ‘achoo’, AHWW.
Why AHEW not AHWW?
While there are some obvious benefits to maintaining a healthy weight, there is emerging evidence to suggest that similar health benefits can be achieved by eating sufficient fruit and vegetables, limiting processed food and red meat and regularly participating in physical activity. Understandably, for elite athlete performance and efficiency, we may look toward a reduction in body fat – though for the everyday competitor it may be more prudent to ensure you are meeting dietary requirements first.
Comparing what you usually eat to the guidelines is something you can do right now. Ask yourself – are you eating enough fruit and vegetables, and limiting red meat, compared to the Australian Dietary Guidelines (see below)? If not, we can help you make changes by providing suggestions this week.
|Daily serves of vegetables||Daily serves of fruit||Weekly red meat limit (raw weight|
- For 50-70-year-old males, your recommended daily serves of vegetables is 5 ½ serves.
- One serve of vegetables is ½ cup cooked veg or 1 cup salad veg.
- One piece of fruit is a medium banana/apple/orange or 2 pieces apricots/kiwi/plums or 30g dried fruit.
Remember: for those in training, this is the minimum amount you should be eating to ensure adequate health. Your requirements may be higher than this. It is always best to get your vitamins and minerals from whole food.
How does mindfulness fit in?
Most of us have probably heard the term ‘mindfulness’ thrown around recently. It was originally taught by psychologists to help people be, ‘in the moment’, and cognitively aware of the sensations they are experiencing. Mindfulness has since been used by other professions, including dietitians, to help people recognise the eating experience as a whole, and to really enjoy their food, e.g. the taste and texture of food, and how food makes them feel. We find that people who slow down and take the time to enjoy their meals may feel more satisfied and less likely to go for that quick sweet after a meal. Having said that, if you have an extra treat after a meal, take the time to enjoy that as well, and you will appreciate it more.
So, over the next week, along the theme of AHEW, I would suggest we all (yes, even Alicia and me) take the time to have a look at the way we are eating, particularly paying attention to our fruit and vegetable intake. This is, in a way, being mindful of our daily intake. Furthermore, if we can slow down and take the time to enjoy our meals, mindfully, this week, particularly if eating with others, we may just find we are less likely to need that extra after dinner treat.
If you want further information or have questions about what is right to eat for you, then your nearest Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) will be able to help you. Though for better support with your triathlon endeavours, an Accredited Sports Dietitian (AccSD) is the one you want to seek out.
Text: Peter Herzig (AccSD, APD)/Centred Nutrition
Feature image: shutter stock.com
For more information on the Australia’s Healthy Weight Week initiative, visit www.healthyweightweek.com.au.
To find an Accredited Sports Dietitian near you, visit www.sportsdietitians.com.au.