10 February 2015

woman in a kitchen cooking from a recipe bookHome cooking may be the best starting point for a new, healthier you in 2015 according to UniSA dieticians. 

As we launch into Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (February 16-22), UniSA researchers will be hosting a special Healthy Eating Information Session to help kick start new habits around home cooking and eating for good health. 

The UniSA Healthy Eating Information Session will be held on Monday 23rd February from 9am to 11am City East campus, Playford Building level 5 room 15

And with events being held around the country as a part of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (AHWW) local, local dietitian and UniSA researcher Jayne Barbour says the campaign will be encouraging more Australians to cook at home as a way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. 

“Recent research shows that home cooking is linked to healthier habits, such as eating fruit and vegetables more often and decreasing reliance on fast foods and readymade meals,” Barbour says. 

“Cooking fresh foods, eating healthy snacks from home such as fruits and vegetables, are a good step towards achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. 

“But many people who work long or irregular hours are daunted by the idea of having to cook at home and others feel a real lack of confidence in being able to prepare home cooked meals. 

“What we want to explore in our UniSA Healthy Weight Week Information Session are ways to make home cooking the no fuss, healthy choice for people. 

“Making small changes can be a good way to start – it might just be making sure your shopping trolley includes less pre-made or prepared foods.” 

But if you want to step it up a notch – the AHWW organisers have laid down the challenge of cooking seven meals in seven days and Barbour says it’s a challenge UniSA can help people to take on. 

“Equipping people with the ‘know how’ to cook low cost, quick, easy and nutritious meals from scratch can change eating habits for the better. 

“It is not as difficult or time consuming as people imagine and there is something really satisfying about bringing a tasty and healthy meal to the table.” 

More information about AHWW is available online and you can download your free copy of the AHWW cookbook, Everyday Healthy: Seasonal, Fresh & Tasty developed by Sprout.

Media contacts for interviews or to book into the session: Jayne Barbour on 83022348 or 0422444861

 UniSA’s top eight nutrition tips for a healthy 2015

Make small changes that fit with your lifestyle to give yourself the best chance of losing weight and keeping it off. 

1.      Rediscover home cooking. By learning to cook at home using healthy ingredients you’ll boost your nutrient intake. And studies have shown that cooking stir-fries, roasts and casseroles including protein foods like beef, lamb, pork, chicken and fish means you’ll put more vegetables onto the plate as well. You only need 15 minutes to make a tasty, healthy meal. 

2.      Be portion aware. Over the past 30 years, the amount of food on our plates has increased – as have our waistlines. Shrinking portion sizes at every meal is a sure-fire way to lower energy (kilojoule) intake. 

3.      Start the day with breakfast. Breakfast eaters are more likely to be a healthy weight and less likely to re-gain lost weight. Include a source of protein (such as an egg or baked beans) and a low glycaemic index (GI) choice (like wholegrain toast or low‐fat yoghurt). Protein-rich foods and lower GI carbohydrates provide important nutrients and also help keep you fuller for longer. 

4.      Choose low kilojoule, high nutrient foods. Wholegrain breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and lower fat dairy foods fit the bill. 

5.      Eat fruit and vegetables. Build up to the recommended five serves of vegetables (around three cups) and two serves of fruit every day. Fill half your dinner plate with vegetables (which is easy when you cook at home) and eat fruit as a snack. 

6.      Enjoy treats – in moderation. Many young women report sugary treats and take-aways as a weakness, making it more difficult to eat well. You don’t have to cut out any food, as long as you moderate your intake. Everyone’s different – so cutting back to a square or two of chocolate a day or a take-away once a week may be a step in the right direction for you. 

7.      Choose healthier drinks. Water is the best choice – so have a glass, bottle or jug of water close by at all times. Too much alcohol can lead to excess kilojoules and poorer food choices, both of which contribute to weight gain. If drinking, try a wine spritzer (wine diluted with plain mineral water) or a light beer, or ask for a smaller glass when drinking. 

8.      Write down everything you eat and drink. This will help you become more aware of what you're eating and drinking, and where any problem areas are. Research suggests this is one of the best ways to change your eating habits and lose weight.

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office: +61 8 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: michele.nardelli@unisa.e 

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