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Share your views on healthy and balanced diets – you could win a £200 Love2Shop voucher NOW CLOSED

(103 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 25-Mar-14 09:39:45

We all know that there is a lot of advice out there on how to go about having a 'healthy' and 'balanced' diet, but at times it can feel like a bit of a mine field. So, we'd love to hear about your thoughts and experiences on knowing what the right foods are to feed you and your family.

Below are a few points to get you started, but feel free to add any other comments you have:
- When it comes to 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?
- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?
- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.

Everyone who adds a comment will be entered into a prize draw to win a £200 Love2Shop voucher.

Thanks, and good luck!
MNHQ

AndHarry Tue 25-Mar-14 10:09:37

I'm not into dieting but I still feel bombarded with faux-information. I see so much chatter about carbohydrates being bad/not the right sort when the 'official' advice is that they should be a third of a plate that I do wonder what I should be doing.

Feeding my family healthily is important to me and I try to use common sense: small plates, plenty of fruit and vegetables, cooking from raw ingredients, protein and carbohydrates for growth and energy. I do feel fairly confident and try to ignore the diet chatter but it does make me worry sometimes that I'm inadvertently getting it wrong. I periodically check the healthy start leaflets from my children's nurseries and I think I'm on the right track.

Tyranasaurus Tue 25-Mar-14 11:45:23

- When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?

Not really. One thing I did find confusing at the time was the messages I had on how long to breastfeed for. The breastfeeding exclussively for 6 months tends to come accross as only breastfeed for 6 months and the cows milk is OK after a year comes accross as you only need to breastfeed for a year

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?

Yes- I know what healthy foods are and how to cook them

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.

Books/google

Roseformeplease Tue 25-Mar-14 11:57:23

When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?

I am not at all confused as I feel that I know what to avoid and what to eat plenty of. However, the media seems constantly bewildered with conflicting advice - particularly "eat this to avoid cancer" and "don't eat that to avoid cancer". I think a lot of the advice is "scares" to sell newspapers. I worry most about sugar and the amount of refined sugar and carbohydrates that we eat.

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?

Yes, I feel pretty confident. We don't buy any processed food at all and everything is cooked from scratch. We make our own bread and don't eat puddings or sweet treats very often. There are always vegetables or salad in the house and the children have boiled eggs and toast or omelettes for breakfast - removing one meal that can be very sugar heavy. Because our baseline eating is very good, I am fairly relaxed about going out and having coffee and a cake every now and then. My daughter bakes once or twice a month and we all look forward to it. We don't eat sweets or chocolates very often so, when they are given some or buy some, that's fine.

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family

I read the "Times" which provides a fairly good and usually balanced view of the latest research or information. I read all the right books when the children were small and they were weaned on Annabel Karmel (sp?) Nowadays, I rely on the internet, recipe books and friends a little bit but we are really pretty happy with the way we eat.

Avoiding middle aged spread, even where your diet is healthy - now that would be something I would like to know about!

TheJumped Tue 25-Mar-14 13:14:22

- When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?

I don't feel confused personally, as I take time to research healthy food choices for myself and my family. But I have to actively seek this out, if I trusted the supermarkets or even the current government healthy eating advice we'd be eating very unhealthily, be tired, overweight, puffy and have no energy. The lack of government belief and backing in high protein, low carb lifestyles and its continued push to sugary cereals and butter substitutes is a real irritant for me. I try to cook from scratch always and base meals around a protein, whether that's meat, fish, eggs, cheese or pulses. Then I add veg and some carbs. I get veg and meat boxes delivered weekly from Abel and Cole which challenge me to be creative. Their recipe cards included in every box are always excellent and inspiring.

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?

Yes I feel very confident in this. See above. I would also add that I did baby led weaning, which has helped me get off to a great start with attitudes to eating - I see it as my job to dish up healthy food, whether my toddler eats it or not. Often not, but I honestly don't stress about it! I never serve up bland or processed food to make him eat. And it cheeses me off when my MiL serves him a massive bowl of custard, I mean really?! I feel like my generation have. Very different attitude to food for children (as in not stuff them as full of carbs as possible then magically expect them to eat a wide and varied diet when they are older) but I do meet many mums who still think like that. There is lots of wisdom in the BLW books and one stands out - that we have a society full of food, so they won't starve. It upsets me to see children cajoled into eating, especially at nurseries and preschools where they should be up to date with healthy eating and healthy attitudes to eating.

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.

Instinct really. I did 'Atkins' about ten years ago and although I don't do it now, it revolutionised the way I think about food. Centring meals around a protein wherever possible - but we do have a rich creamy pasta or huge homemade pizza at least once a week too! I love the recipes in my Abel and Cole boxes and watch Saturday Kitchen - I also like Pinterest for random viral recipes. If I want to cook scones or cake or biscuits, I just google and usually end up on the BBC website.

One more thing to add - water only in our house, no juice, fizzy drinks or squash. No need.

Cherryjellybean Tue 25-Mar-14 13:27:20

- When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?
I don't find anything confusing, that I can think of.

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?
For main meals I feel confident. I usually have at least 3 types of vegetables in our evening meal, a bit of carbs, protein etc too. I should cook sauces from scratch more, I only know a few recipes for sauces.

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.
I look online for healthy recipes. I could do with looking for more healthy snacks, the unhealthy ones are always so much cheaper in the shops and easier.

WowOoo Tue 25-Mar-14 13:34:57

I don't find anything confusing really.

I aim for balance, as much veg as I can can cram into our diet, fresh fruit and lots of water to drink rather than squash. I feel pretty confident.
But, I do know that I lapse a bit when we are both mega busy.

I've picked up tips over the years from reading articles, books and recipes. The ingredients themselves will tell me if something is healthy or is a treat.

telsa Tue 25-Mar-14 13:51:38

- When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?
I am getting confused by all the contradictory messages coming form the media about what causes unhealthiness and obesity. Sugar is bad, saturated fasts are good etc etc. I am also a little confused about types of sugar and whether they are all equally unhealthy.

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?
I am fairly confident. We cook from scratch, eat lots of vegetables, have a lot of variety. There is a fair bit of tension with DP though, who thinks all food 'scares' are nonsense. I have recently stopped buying farmed salmon because of something I read about chemical additives and he thinks that is totally stupid. He also gets them too much juice and puddings in the evening (I figure they have one at school and don't need another) - so it is not much fun not batting from the same position.

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.
I have lots of cookbooks with good quality meals in them. I look online. I talk to other people.

HannahLI Tue 25-Mar-14 13:51:54

- When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?
I think the advice often changes and I don't feel confused but I know other friends do feel confused. For example orange juice - it should be good for you but drink too much and it rots your teeth. Thats pretty confusing! I am confused about these so called "low fat" products that might be low in fat but are packed full of sugar. How can the supermarkets be allowed to market something like this? It makes me fearful that I am being conned in a similar way by other so called healthy products. I also dislike all of the marketing around organic products and all the misconceptions that surround this.

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?
Yes I feel pretty confident my family are getting a healthy and balanced diet. I do find it difficult when my kids are bombarded with marketing and friends who don't eat good things to know how to handle the asking and begging for things I don't want in the house.

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.
I go with my gut mainly. My approach is to be balanced with variety in what we eat, to think about the whole week and days as a whole within that. I cook from scratch nearly always as I then know exactly what my kids are eating and I think that helps too.

serendipity1980 Tue 25-Mar-14 14:01:47

I think it is often confusing knowing what is a healthy diet these days - we always thought we know about balance between fruit and veg, protein, carbs etc but then there is all this bad press about carbs, not eating grains etc. It makes it very hard to know what is the right thing to do for the best of my family.

I cook all meal from scratch, so I believe we are having a balanced diet, and that everything is ok in moderation. My DC love homemade biscuits and cakes but at the same time, they adore fruit! I do use the information leaflets that I'm given from health professionals and also google searches to inform me but generally I think it's just common sense about which food you should limit and which you can eat plenty of.

Madratlady Tue 25-Mar-14 16:22:45

I'm a strong believer an everything being alright in moderation. i rarely buy low fat or 'diet' foods, instead I have small amounts of things like butter, cheese, chocolate, mayo etc and try and have more fruit, veg, wholegrain things. I also try and have wholegrain bread and brown rice and pasta. I try and get at least 2 types of veg into our evening meal and a piece of fruit in lunchboxes and as snacks. I make home made food most nights. We do have treats like a cooked breakfast on a weekend, and sweets one a saturday night.

Hopefully I'll pass a sensible attitude about food onto my ds. He'll be eating pretty much whatever we eat when he's weaned, unless it's very salty or spicey or something. I don't add extra salt to food anyway.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Tue 25-Mar-14 17:09:43

When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they?
Labelling on products
Why are they confusing? they don't really make it clear if the product is healthy or not unless there is a traffic light system on it. The GDA % is only helpful if you know what the recommendations are
- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?
yes I know enough about the balance of good health to provide a good diet most of the time, although older kids do seem to have a mind of their own grin
I have stuck pretty much to this as a formula and cook with fresh ingredients avoiding processed foods as a rule although I am not fanatical about it. They do get the odd pizza and stuff from the frezer but I am pleased to see that as they are now older they do know how to make a sensible choice and often do.

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.

asuwere Tue 25-Mar-14 19:51:28

I don't feel confused but I can understand some people being confused by all the 'information' on labels etc. For example things that are labeled as 98% fat free but fail to indicate that they are full of sugar - some would see the fat free and assume it's 'healthy'

I'm quite confident of feeding my family healthy meals - I think portion size is also important and try to make sure that my DC understand how much they need to eat. I always make sure there is plenty of fruit and veg on offer. Obviously, this doesn't happen all the time and there is an occassional rubbish meal but the DC are aware that it is unusual.

Sparklesandglitter Tue 25-Mar-14 19:53:58

- When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?

There are a lot of fads and trends for healthy eating including low fat, low carb, detox etc so it can be confusing to work out what actually is healthy and what is daddy

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?

I try to feed my family health food but sometimes because of time (working full time) it can be hard to find the time to cook from scratch every day. Also although I can cook a feel dishes my culinary are limited unfortunately!

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.

Honestly, I look online a lot for guidance and also go with common sense (processed sugary food bad, veggies good). I occasionally use cooking books but find it can be expensive

manfalou Tue 25-Mar-14 20:13:34

When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?

Im not confused, I think everyone knows the baseline of whats good whats bad. I don't follow diets so have never given them the chance to confuse me!

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?

Id like to say that he have a healthy and balanced diet but we don't, particularly ds1. He will only eat peas as a veg and will not touch fruit. He won't even try anything which can be infuriating as I know he would love most fruits. I try and cook from scratch most nights, all meals involve a hefty portion of meat as I know this is something DS1 will eat for sure. I don't however believe in the family not having the choice of crisps/chocolatey treats being in the house. Ive seen too many times parents that don't allow ANY treats that has real backfired once kids go to secondary school and then thats all they eat. Yes you can cut it out and educate them but when they get to the 'rebellious' years you really don't want them rebelling with food.

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.

I have to say that our HV has been very helpful regarding a healthy diet. I still am very concerned about DS1s diet but I'm happy knowing that he's eating for now and that even the littlest of something veg like is better than nothing. For us I think we just go with the basic knowledge that everyone has...try not to snack on rubbish and don't have takeaways too often. Heres to hoping his little bro keeps his good eating habits

ouryve Tue 25-Mar-14 20:33:23

- When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?

I don't find anything confusing. I take the attitude that real food, free from bulking agents, sweeteners and other additives is best. It's definitely more satisfying to eat.

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?

For all that I know about good and healthy food and how to prepare it, my boys, both with ASD and issues around food and eating, aren't quite there yet.

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.

I take most "advice" with a pinch of salt, so to speak. If it even mentions low fat spreads, it goes in the recycling.

muser31 Tue 25-Mar-14 20:43:35

Im confused whether or not carbs are necessary and how many carbs - because so many people seem to disagree on this - also if saturated fats are good or bad.

i don't feel as confident as i wish about providing healthy food because my dd (toddler) is very fussy and so i end up giving her things that aren't so healthy. also healthy food and snacks are more expensive and im on a budget.

i just go online and have acquired quite a lot of info about how to eat healthy. its actually doing it thats the problem

I have a selection of dietary needs to consider in my family, I have taken the time to do as much research as I can to gain information and be able to confidently provide balance and good nutrition.

I used my son's dietician for advice and resources, I think it's also important to use common sense and refer back to the old fashioned "food pyramid" that we used to see on posters at school.

Also making sure to feed everyone things that have the least ingredients in them as possible, I.e cooking from scratch with raw, unprocessed ingredients so I know what is going into them and I have control over sugar/salt content.

I also use my eyes to take a realistic view of my children, they're sporty and really active, they're healthy (as they can be) the have good, strong teeth, they sleep well and are meeting targets at school. They all have balanced, varied diets and all eat a wide range of food, I'm not strict on treats, they have them occasionally.

So I think common sense is the key thing.

WhyIRayLiotta Tue 25-Mar-14 20:52:53

When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?
I am quite confident that I know how to eat healthily. My downfall is that I like to eat un-healthily at times too! take aways and sweets / treats. I do take care to make sure DD eats healthily. She is only 2 - so I let her experiment with food and help to cook it with me. I think it's hugely important that children know where their food comes from - and I try to cook with un-processed food as much as possible.

Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?
I am confident I provide my family with a healthy balanced diet. and treats are balanced with activity.

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.
I use the internet - forumns like Mumsnet are great for tips and recipes to introduce foods. I think it's mostly common sense. I ignore anything faddy for the family - and even if I am cutting back - I will prepare all the meals together so we still eat as a family.

flamingtoaster Tue 25-Mar-14 21:01:43

When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?
I'm not confused about anything to do with healthy eating.

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?
Due to family allergies I have had to cook from scratch every day to ensure we can have things everyone enjoys which are "safe". This makes it easy to avoid too much, fat, salt, etc. If we do use any packets I have to read the labels carefully to make sure they are allergen free - at the same time it's easy to read and act on the nutritional information.

-Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family. If I feel I need any nutritional advice I search the internet. I also read up-to-date views in the newspaper etc.

MrsLoada Tue 25-Mar-14 21:14:33

Labelling on food packets are not clear , and something will be marked up 100% fat free but it's got 50% of your daily sugar. So I've given up trying to read them. Newspapers / media doesn't help either, one day it's eat this it's good for you next day bad.

I feel I cook a healthy balanced diet, I tend to cook from scratch just simple food lots of veg, potatoes and roast/ grilled meat. Pasta a veg based sauce.

I search online and I have a number of cookbooks a lot of them older 2 nd hand ones , I look for meals that include a number of veg to make sure we are getting our five a day.

A little bit of something you like won't do you any harm and just use common sense

MakkaPakkasSponge Tue 25-Mar-14 21:18:09

I'm happy that I understand about healthy eating. Tbh I think we're bombarded with information but it comes down to what we actually choose to do
So I choose to ignore the many takeaways on our high street (except for approx once a month!) and batch cook/freeze food instead. I prefer our family to eat meals together rather than snacking and I think that's the best way.
We're all a healthy weight and relatively active so I'm happy. I don't think it needs to be any more complicated than that.
I occasionally look up nutritional content of foods my son is being faddy about, or iron rich foods for myself, but that's about it. I think I know as much as I need to already.

CheeseTMouse Tue 25-Mar-14 21:27:52

I don't feel confused about healthy eating but I do struggle with portion sizes when it comes to my small daughter. I am confident I am giving her the right sorts of food, but given the way she wolfed down a large amount of lamb, potatoes and sweet potatoes the other day and could have kept going, I am a bit muddled as to what constitutes sensible amounts for a 7 month old!

Cooking-wise I am quite confident and we have very little sweet and sugary stuff in the house as my DH is diabetic.

I have read a couple of different books on baby weaning, which has given me confidence. But in terms of wider reading and info on healthy eating I tend to rely on common sense. Plenty of fruit and veg, not too much packet stuff and carbs and protein at every meal.

BornToFolk Tue 25-Mar-14 21:28:43

- When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing?

At the moment, I feel a little confused about saturated fats as I've heard that they are not as bad as previously thought. I've not done any research of my own yet though, so I don't really understand the reasons behind it.

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?

Yeah, fairly! We're vegetarian, but apart from not eating meat or fish, I aim for as much variety in our diets as possible. I try to avoid processed food for main meals as much as possible (though we do eat Quorn once or twice a week, and the odd frozen pizza...) but we do eat crisps, biscuits etc on a fairly regular basis. So, it's basically lots of fruit and veg and as much home cooking as I can manage! DS is a good eater and enjoys helping me cook (and grow veg) which I think really contributed to his enjoyment of eating.
I always check food labels so I know what we are both eating and avoid too much hidden salt/sugar/fats.

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.

I use the Vegetarian Society website from time to time, especially when I was weaning DS, to ensure I was getting it right. I also read news reports when it's about something that particularly interests me.

sharond101 Tue 25-Mar-14 21:34:14

- When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about? If so, what are they? Why are they confusing? I am confused about sugar and fruit. Is it ok that a fruit smoothie has 15g sugar as the sugar comes from fruit or is it not ok?
- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not? My confidence goes up and down depending on what my DS will and won't eat. On a day he is happy to eat what I give him I am confident and proud of myself for feeding him homecooked nourishing food. On a day he doesn't want to eat what I make him I am less so confident. I also find myself comparing with other families and this makes me less confident. DS will only eat fruit or vegetables if they are disguised in something so watching a toddler munch an apple, banana or ask for more brocolli dents my confidence somewhat.
- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.
I know what is healthy and try to work around likes and dislikes. With my DH I can only cook and provide as healthy as I can, what he eats of that or on top of that is up to him and despite me nagging he will always be one to snack on junk food and refuse most fruits and veg. I have had food issues in the past and this can sometimes worry me that I am heading my family in one of two extremes, too healthy or too unhealthy. This tends to happen when I am stressed or comparing too much and is only ever in my head rather than being a practical problem.

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