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To feel embarrassed that I am not sure what a healthy diet really is?

(38 Posts)
Feckadeck Fri 03-Jan-14 08:26:11

I know it's not takeaways, crisps, chocolates, cakes, microwave meals, fizzy drinks, processed foods (though bit iffy on what actually constitutes processed foods!) I do know that it should include 5 a day fruit/veg, brown rather than white rice/pasta/breads, water, etc. After that I am stuck. Read few threads on diets here (guess IABU to start a new diet thread!) and see discussion that low fat isn't great and full fat would be better, then there is confusion over sugar content of food.

Am I alone in finding it too confusion and not knowing where to start with being healthy. I am overweight by at least 3 stone as is DH and I desperately want our child to have a better understanding and relationship with food than we might have. It seems a minefield though. There I was thinking I would give them the occasional angle delight as a desert as contains lots of milk and I've just read it is crap. Am I destined to be outcast for serving sausage rolls at dd future birthday parties (DH loves them grr) or giving them fizzy drinks occasionally?

I feel embarrassed not to know how to eat well...or rather feel embarrassed that I think eat well,but am realising slowly that I might not be!

dyslexicdespot Fri 03-Jan-14 08:31:11

Here is a link that might help. Good luck!
www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1127.aspx?CategoryID=51

Joules68 Fri 03-Jan-14 08:32:11

You could try looking at different packets. The more unpronounceable the ingredients the further you run!

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 03-Jan-14 08:35:48

I think the point about low fat being rubbish is that is has lots of artificial stuff (flavours/thickeners etc) and sugar to make up for the lack of fat. And that fat, apart from trans fats, aren't bad for you anyway, except in excess.

A very good rule of thumb is to eat as naturally as possibly, I think. So chose foods with short, recognisable ingredient lists, make things yourself.

Also quality over quantity - if you want treats buy something small but really nice. One of the worst things about our diet in western countries is the sheer quantity of crap we eat - huge bars of cheap, super sweet chocolate, massive amounts of processed potato products ( yes Pringles, I'm looking at you!)

We don't really think about fat or fibre content when choosing food in our house, and I think our diet is pretty healthy. I don't think there's much point in food that tastes bleurgh, and I hate wholemeal anything. It's definitely possible to over think it.

Also, there is a lot of disagreement over what is healthy anyway - for years low fat/high fibre has been touted as the holy grail of healthy eating, but now there's quite a lot of research suggesting sugar is worse than fat. So yadnbu for being confused.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 03-Jan-14 08:36:13

Joules said it much more succinctly!

Back2Basics Fri 03-Jan-14 08:39:24

I am not a nutritionist what I understand of a healthy diet for adults is the food wheel.

So veg, fruit, dairy, fat, protein and carbs in different percents. You do need fat but good fats like avacado pear not fat off meat. Dairy is good but small amounts like fats. Veg should be half your plate, carbs 2 thirds and dairy and fats 1 third. This may be outdated advice now!

shebird Fri 03-Jan-14 08:40:33

It is easy to be confused by all the messages we hear about food these days. As a general rule processed foods come pre prepared in tins, packets, cans as opposed to fresh foods fruit, veg, fish, meat that you have to prepare yourself.

Feckadeck Fri 03-Jan-14 08:40:39

Thanks for the link. I have read things like that in past. I feel I eat well re fruit, veg, whole grains, etc (though not always good diet hence me being overweight). My issue is the eg that link says low fat dairy when I've just been reading that full fat would be better. Is it? How to you know the balance fat, cals, sugar, etc. is diet juice ok or is fruit juice ok and if so which sort or is it water or full sugar only?

callamia Fri 03-Jan-14 08:40:44

You DO know!

You know that unprocessed foods are better than processed, so veg and fruit and wholemeal/brown starchy foods. 'Procesed foods' is a huge category, so it's ok to feel a bit confused about it - but think about what's been added. So, the main ingredient in angel delight is sugar - and you've said that you know that too much sugar isn't healthy, so you might want to avoid this (the odd one won't damage your efforts!).

What about portion size? I think you can eat as 'healthily' as you like, but if there's more than you actually need, then you'll put on weight.

I also think that treats at parties and special occasions are fine! I've eaten 'badly' over Christmas, but now we're back to eating more normal things. I also bloody love sausage rolls - do you ever make your own? Making your own stuff really gets you to consider snd control what's going in to your food.

Happypiglet Fri 03-Jan-14 08:41:48

YANBU it is very confusing so I think the trick is to follow the mantra 'everything in moderation...'
I cook from scratch mostly. The kids eat brown bread but white pasta and rice.
I allow the kids 'treats' but they see them as this.
There is nothing wrong with Angel Delight/ MacDonalds/ cake/ chocolate in moderation.
They need to be active a lot (as do adults!)
They need to eat when hungry and stop when not.
I do, however, draw the line at fizzy drinks which are the devils work .
And parties are a different thing....thats not day to day eating so sausage rolls are certainly acceptable!

revivingsnowshower Fri 03-Jan-14 08:44:53

I totally know what you mean. There is a lot of controversy over low carb diets, yet some people have evidence to show that carbs are just what is bad for us. But some are equally adamant for a raw, vegan diet. And what about the environmental side of eating a lot of meat. And what about fish it is good for us, but it is polluted with chemicals. Then there is the issue of organic food and so on. But how can we afford it if we cannot grow it ourselves? I have read a lot about all this and usually end up more confused than ever.

Feckadeck Fri 03-Jan-14 08:45:16

Sorry lots of cross posts there. Fruitsaladisnotoudding your last paragraphs is what I meant I suppose...conflicting advice. Calimai thanks for that tip and yes potion control is quite possibly my downfall. I have never made own. I am not a good cook or baker. I rarely try but would like to for dd sake. I think there is so much out there no find it too difficult to know what is "right" in terms of eating and I just give up.

Happypiglet Fri 03-Jan-14 08:46:03

Personlly my kids drink water. As do I. The ones who like it get a small glass of pure fruit juice at breakfast. That's it. It really is easy to drink vast quantities of calories via drinks.
Same goes for alcohol, sugar in tea/ coffee etc. I just don't drink it. It really helps weight control.

DropDeadThread Fri 03-Jan-14 08:46:24

It's my impression that what we traditionally thought of as a healthy diet contains way more carbs than is appropriate for the average, pretty sedentary, lifestyle. People move much less than they used to. Carbs are fuel for the body and not much else - a slice of white bread or a portion of mashed potato or a bowl of pasta is basically a sugar fix for your body, which is fine if you're spending your days digging the fields or hand washing clothes. It's unnecessary if you're moving your right index finger a few times an hour. So to me a healthy diet is lots of veg, some unprocessed protein, a little of dairy, nuts and pulses and limited carbs. I don't practise this very successfully grin

McPie Fri 03-Jan-14 08:51:26

Portion size is a big thing on the plan the nurse gave me and its helped me with my carb intake. I get 9 portions a day and a portion is 25g dried weight pasta or rice, 100g raw potato or a slice of bread. If I free pour pasta then weigh it I always find that I am at least 25g over the 75g I allow for a main meal. I also have 8 portions of fruit and veg to work through so that helps keep me full (as I work my way through 2 clementine's and a banana before I head for the gymsmile )
Cooking from scratch where you can is also far better for you but if you can't then picking something with as few unknown ingredients is better but watch out for the salt and sugar contents.

Eggsiseggs Fri 03-Jan-14 08:54:32

YANBU - and well done for saying so.

I get mad at how poor our food education is in this country. It is something to be learnt like everything else - a type of literacy, even.

And the issue is that we have obsessions with low fat and low calorie and so on, which does not necessarily mean 'healthy'.

Love heart sweets are low fat. But not healthy!

People need to be encouraged to think of the nutritional value of things. Then remember that we need a variety, and varying amounts of, fats, carbs, vitamins, etc.

I hope to see at some stage our kids being taught about nutrition, and then how it translates to workable, affordable meals. IMO the link between the two is missing.

No help to you, OP, but I just wanted to applaud you for just saying it! and have a rant

McPie Fri 03-Jan-14 09:02:57

This plan is an adaptation of the Counterweight programme that the nurse gave me and it gives some good ideas on what a portion size is. I am on 1900 calories and I personally found it easy to fit into my life and I am someone who can't eat wheat at all or much dairy so I exchange them for gluten and dairy free alternatives and it's still worked, 4 stone and counting!

brettgirl2 Fri 03-Jan-14 09:07:11

Its ridiculously confusing and mn makes it even less clear imo!

Broadly:
- Fat fills you up, sugar makes you crave more sugar. Therefore fat is less likely to make you fat than sugar I think.
- Eat solid fruit/ veg for five portions it is better than fruit juice ( fruit juice/ smoothies as a 'healthy' add on also add on the pounds)
- Portion control, weigh carbs. 50g rice 75g pasta is plenty. Only have one type of carb per meal so no bread on the side, salad with lasagne not chips
- Avoid sweet drinks
- Eat plenty of protein

The way I see it is there is no such thing as a healthy or unhealthy meal the key is balance and variety.

I drink diet coke because I love it biscuit omg what a thing to admit here hmm and eat chocolate/ cake. The dds have a few crisps but its the whole picture.

Skinheadmermaid Fri 03-Jan-14 09:09:13

Eat clean. Lean protein, vegetables and wholegrains.
Avoid white bread, pasta, rice and anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognise as food.
For example;
Breakfast- porridge with natural yogurt and small amount of honey
Lunch- diced chicken, salad ( spinich & lettuce ) leaves, sprinkling of seeds, dressing
Dinner- lamb cutlets, small jacket potato with butter (not loads) green beans
Snacks- banana, dice sized piece of cheese

This is a maintenance diet, a weight loss diet would be slightly different.

Skinheadmermaid Fri 03-Jan-14 09:10:25

Brettgirl2 i also love diet coke and my 1-2 cans a day habit didn't stop me from losing weight or keeping it off!

BrownSauceSandwich Fri 03-Jan-14 09:11:45

Don't feel embarrassed. There are gazillions of intelligent, literate, numerate people in the world who have completely lost their way on healthy eating. Food/eating/weight has become so tangled up with emotional issues. All those news reports telling us that chocolate/wine prevents heart disease/causes cancer/makes you fart/whatever. Quack "nutritionists" telling us that wheat/dairy/fat/carbs are the root of all evil, or promoting magic foods that put right all the damage.

The general consensus is that we should eat moderately of a wide variety of foods. In the UK, dietitian a use the "Eatwell plate"... Google that for a visual representation of a healthy diet. Remember, this is an overall picture... it's fine to go light on fibre or carbs at one meal if you make up for it at the next meal, or the next day. And don't beat yourself up about occasional sausage rolls and fizzy pop. I think it makes for a healthy mindset to teach your kids that no food is the enemy, and no food an illicit ideal.

brettgirl2 Fri 03-Jan-14 09:15:34

I think it is also confusing to mix up healthy diet with weightloss diet confused.

BalloonSlayer Fri 03-Jan-14 09:22:47

Skinheadmermaid I understand the point and it's a good one, but I did smile at "and anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognise as food."

In my case that would mean: pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, rocket, coriander, aubergines, avocados and, yes, yogurt grin

My DH doesn't even recognise couscous as food!

hackmum Fri 03-Jan-14 09:28:08

There's a much quoted saying by the food writer Michael Pollan, which is "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." That's pretty good advice. So, don't overeat - stop eating when you feel full. Avoid processed foods and ready meals. Avoid fizzy drinks altogether because they are full of sugar and have no nutritional value. Eat plenty of fruit but stay away from fruit juice (or at least drink in moderation), because it gives you the downsides of fruit (sugar) without the benefits (roughage). Lots of green leafy vegetables are a good idea.

The Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on fresh tomatoes and olive oil, seems to get a good press too.

There seems to be a definite trend in medical thinking now away from the idea that fat is bad for you and a lot more emphasis on the harm sugar can do. Traditionally the view has been that the problem with sugar is that it makes you fat and causes dental decay but it now seems that it plays a role in heart disease too. As someone hinted at upthread, one of the main reasons for the obesity crisis has been manufacturers pushing "low-fat" food at consumers that is stuffed with sugar.

McPie Fri 03-Jan-14 09:28:28

But brettgirl the basis of every weight loss diet should be healthy eating not deprivation like most of the faddy diets around! Fine you lose weight on them but for how long? I would rather follow the plan I am on eating healthily and exercise than cut out/restrict food groups which in my own personal past has caused more harm than good!

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