This post was sponsored by Nestlé – Time for change in the Vijendranath household.
These past 3 months have been crazy for me… I’ve gotten sick more than 3 times and I think that one of the main reasons for that is because I haven’t been eating balanced meals.
To be honest, I’ve been just grabbing whatever I find in the fridge and I’ve been eating when I can (sometimes one meal a day) … I know, that’s terrible – especially since I am breastfeeding 2 kids!
Well, things are about to change in my kitchen especially now that the kids have eczema and a lot of allergies!
My main aim is to help everyone make better choices when it comes to food – which is actually easier than I thought.
To guide me on this journey, a professional chef, Kabelo Segone (Head of Department at HTA School of Culinary Art and Vice President of the South African Chefs Association) and a Nutritionist from Nestlé visited my home to educate me on how to Eat Smarter.
Nestlé’s Nutritionist explained what the correct serving size should be, and exactly what should be included in my children’s lunchbox.
Chef Kabelo taught me how easy it is to substitute certain foods for Kitana since she has a wheat allergy. They were simple tips like – swopping out pasta with starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes.
I grew up eating mainly curry and rice so this is going to be a big change for me but I think I need it – especially for my health.
What does Eating Smarter mean?
Eating smarter means eating a varied and balanced diet to meet your body’s needs while getting value for money. This is something that doesn’t necessarily happen overnight because it can be a big lifestyle change.
It requires lots of planning.
You may end up spending time budgeting and searching for recipes but trust me in the end, it’s worth it. You will reduce food wastage and you will end up eating balanced meals with the correct serving size that has the nutrients you need.
A balanced diet contains plenty of fruit, vegetables, starches (such as whole wheat bread and whole grain cereals), some lean meats, nuts and milk products and small amounts of fats and sugars.
What I learned on the day:
- Grill, broil, bake or steam foods instead of frying.
- Cook with healthy oils such as olive, canola, and sunflower.
- Select low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Cut back on processed meats such as bacon.
What should an ideal plate for adults look like?
What should an ideal plate for kids look like?
Food substitutions for allergies and intolerances:
An example of an intolerance would be gluten intolerance. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Foods like bread, pasta, pizza, and breaded items would contain gluten.
It can be quite challenging to substitute food for kids with food intolerance. Instead of noodles, we used sweet potato for Kitana. You could also substitute with quinoa, corn, rice, or beans. Vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, lentils, eggs and unflavoured milk are naturally gluten-free.
Instead of having the salt and pepper on your table at meal times, include a bowl of fresh herbs, spices, and seeds that you can add to your meals for extra flavour.
Drink more water:
October 9-15 is Nutrition Week in South Africa and this year’s theme is Hydration.
It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard this, but that’s because it is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy body. To up your daily intake of water try to make it fruity and fresh by adding lemon slices, orange slices, cucumber, or mint. It looks better and tastes better than plain water making it easier to drink up during the day.
Get the kids involved:
Chances are that if they are involved in the cooking process (whether it is peeling potatoes or grating cheese) they may feel more involved and more likely to eat it! Plus, it’s a great way to spend some quality time together and can be educational too.
What to include in your child Lunchbox:
Add lots of colour – different coloured veggies and fruits give you different nutrients which are essential to a child’s development.
Choose better-for-you snack options such as cheese sticks, low added-sugar cereal bars, canned or fresh fruit, rice cakes, yogurt, crackers and vegetable sticks with dip.
An occasional treat – adding a small treat to a lunchbox every once in a while, will not only brighten up their lunch break but also serve as an opportunity to teach your little one about the correct serving sizes and the importance of eating in moderation.
For more lunchbox tips and tricks, and to learn about serving sizes visit www.nestlewellness.co.za
Kitana is a fussy eater and now that she has allergies (soy, wheat, grass, and nuts), it makes meal planning more difficult. I have learned a few tricks from Chef Kabelo and the Nutritionist who went through my kitchen cupboards and fridge to advise me on what could be made and what are the good products to keep on hand to whip up easy nutritionally balanced meals in minutes.
It was such an eventful day! Lots of laughs, tips and of course cooking!
When I go grocery shopping, I normally end up buying a whole bunch of ingredients without having a meal idea in my mind but after meeting Chef Kabelo, I realized how easy it is to whip up something delicious and nutritious.
It’s time for change:
I really enjoyed doing the Choose Wellness Choose Nestlé campaign mainly because it made me realize how important it is for me to change my eating habits.
- Instead of shopping monthly, I am going to shop weekly to make sure I get a variety of fresh vegetables, fish, and fruits for the family.
- Eat balanced meals and avoid skipping meals!
- I plan on taking evening strolls with the kids around the block.
- No work on weekends so that I can spend more time with the family and have some me-time.
When it comes to wellness, finding balance in all aspects of your life is important. This includes everything from understanding serving sizes to keeping active as well as effectively managing stress. It is a holistic journey which requires you to Eat Smarter, Move More in order to Live Better.