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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

BobaFetaCheese Tue 25-Mar-14 21:52:10

When it comes to a 'healthy eating' are there any things that you feel particularly confused about?
Not confused as such, more slightly irritated that 'low fat' seems to be the more popular option for supermarkets to stock. For example, you can buy 4 or 5 Low Fat Greek Yogurt Brands, but the only one you can consistently buy 'full fat' is the supermarket own brand. It makes me feel a little unhealthy knowing I'm going for the 'alternative', it sends mixed messages about fats and what healthy is.

- Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about?
Yes. Having gone through the awfulness that is an eating disorder I have come out the other side armed with a wealth of knowledge about portion sizes, calories and what healthier options for most things are.
We firmly believe everything in moderation is key and going about giving our children 'treat' foods the right way is important; eg. biscuits aren't a fun treat, they're a fun home cooking experience of high fat foods, so aren't for everyday eating, I am fully aware how square that makes me sound grin

- Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.
Infant and toddler forum has a great guide we have printed off on the fridge for portion sizes for the children.
I try to read up on nutrition often and adjust our food shop according to the activities people in the household are undertaking (for example, when my DH is running 4x10k a week there are far more proteins and complex carbs knocking about for snacks than in a usual week).

CMOTDibbler Tue 25-Mar-14 21:57:48

I'm pretty confident about healthy eating - one of the advantages in having a medical food restriction is that you have to read the label on everything.
I take a pragmatic approach to it though. Its a balanced diet after all. So I avoid hidden or pointless sugar, but enjoy some chocolate if thats what I really want. I buy low fat yogurt (without sugar) and skimmed milk as we prefer them, but like butter on my toast. Loads of veg, plenty of fruit, mix of protein sources, as little unidentifiable things in our food as possible.

RubySparks Tue 25-Mar-14 22:02:01

I find the same as CMOT... Having coeliac disease kind of simplifies things, it is easier to go with 'whole' foods rather than processed which also seems healthier. So I will more likely have an apple or banana than something in a packet where I have to read all the ingredients to make sure it is ok. I think that works well for everything, keep it simple, salads and jacket potatoes, home made soups, basic veg etc

GiraffesAndButterflies Tue 25-Mar-14 22:57:16

Healthy eating confusion: I don't think DH and I get portion sizes right. And I am not sure whether I should give DD (13mo) vitamins. I'm not a big believer in supplements, she eats healthily, her milk is fortified, and no dr or hv has mentioned them. But I know 'official nhs guidance' is to give them.

Yes, I basically feel confident about healthy eating, but that's because I've learned the difference between advertising and good advice, and I've developed a good bullshit filter.

DH and I get ideas from books and aim for variety and not too much processed crap.

missorinoco Tue 25-Mar-14 22:59:54

I am confident about healthy eating.
I suspect the children have a healthier diet than DH and I. During the week we eat little protein and more carbohydrates and vegetables.

I am aware of the amount of salt in processed food; hearing about the amount of salt in shop bread was a shocker, as was the calorific value of tomato ketchup. I suspect there will always be these gems.

Is it confusing - yes. I balance what we eat and ignore what the adverts say. Special K may have very little calories, but as I understand it the box is more nutritious so I will pass.

LegoCaltrops Wed 26-Mar-14 08:21:18

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, however I do think that with the new guidelines finally catching up with common sense about sugar intake, it's about time there were more low sugar options for foods available - for example fruit yoghurt, it's impossible to find an affordable fruit yoghurt in the supermarket that isn't sweetened. Fruit is sweet enough! It doesnt need artificial sweeteners or sugar.

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 about this. I mainly try to keep the family to a diet of wholegrain food, fresh veg, lean-ish meat, dairy, pulses etc. We rarely eat pre-prepared food (baked beans might feature in the meal plan once a fortnight, for example) and we rarely eat takeaway. We don't eat ready meals etc.

Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family. To be honest I've lost faith in 'official guidelines' etc on correct nutrition. I have read so much on MN & in the papers about kids not being allowed to eat their apparently healthy packed lunches, & steered towards school meals full of refined carbs, sugar & additives, produced for 70p per head, that I'm worried about what it will be like when my DD starts school. Mainly I just try to stick to as fresh & natural a diet as possible, cooked from fresh ingredients, with lots of fruit & veg & wholegrain, & as few additives as possible.

hydra234 Wed 26-Mar-14 09:09:33

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?
Nothing really, the only bit that does confuddle me is all the different oils and fats. I know saturated fat is bad, but now I'm reading that vegetable oil is bad?

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

Providing I am completely confident, them eating it, not so much!

- 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 labels and use my brain. Firmly believe there should be free cookery classes to teach people the very basics of healthy cooking.

sealight123 Wed 26-Mar-14 09:27:15

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?
Everyone seems to think healthy eating is never having anything a little bit naughty and forever living off salads and fruit. It is about being balanced with what you eat. I get confused how people have such a restricted view on healthy eating....they see it as a diet rather than a healthy lifestyle.

Is providing your family with a healthy and balanced diet something that you feel confident about? If so why, if not, why not?
My daughter loves her fruit and vegetables, more so than sweets and crisps, but I worry that she doesnt have balanced meals as we struggle to get her to eat unless it is fruit or vegetables! At nursery she is fine, she will eat anything infront of her but at home it is a battle. She eats it in the end but after a very long time at the table lol

Please share your experiences on how you go about sourcing the right nutritional advice on providing a healthy diet for you and your family.
Your body can be a big indicater of if your getting it right. No I'm not a slender woman, but I am also not a large woman. When I have a healthy balanced meal, I feel energised and fresh...after having a chinese takeaway as a treat I feel like I am sweating grease...
It is also about portion sizes and moderation!

Geniene Wed 26-Mar-14 12:06:13

Healthy eating in our house is a healthy balanced diet, we have treats, some of which are healthy treats and some naughty ones. As long as the majority of food given/offered is healthy there is nothing wrong with the odd bit of cake or chocolate. Nothing about healthy eating confuses me, I know that we all need to eat lots of fruit and veg and some have greater health benefits than others.
I try to ensure that every meal has the right balance of nutrients and plenty of veg smile

kateandme Wed 26-Mar-14 12:20:00

i truly believe it is all bout balance.treats a re fine but you need the good meals with vegetables too.
i dont like this scare mongering.i dont like the diet plans.or gimicks,shakes or low this and that stuff.i think it leads to more troubles.for healthy eating we need to educate people and help them understand what it really means to be balanced.
dont deprive people just makse sure you have the good stuff too.
its about family too.meals together,cooking together,leanring together breeds more healthy eating.
taking the time to care about what you eat.
mcdonalds are ok.salads are ok.meat is fine.veg is fine.as long as we mix and match and be good to ourselves and lsiten to our bodies.

Hopezibah Wed 26-Mar-14 22:02:25

- 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?

the different numbers involved which are supposed to make things clearer. Ok five a day for veg is straight forward, but then there is 3 a day for whole grain, foods from the 5 main food groups and then traffic light systems thrown in and that all gets confusing put together.

When I was weaning I found it a real worry about the amound of calcium in my baby's diet and making sure she got enough because the info from the health visitor was so confusing. I just wanted a really simple guide in terms of X amount of cheese, X number of yogurts, X cups of milk. Not all in milligrams etc.

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

Sometimes we have a good run of healthy eating and feeling confident about it. I think most the time we know roughly what we should be eating but sometimes we can lack motivation and it is easy to turn to takeaways.

- 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 try to just follow basic advice like plenty of fruit and veg, lean meat, enough dairy, cutting back on sugar and fats and I don't specifically source info about it. With the exception of weaning time when I do feel i need more specific advice.

Paintyfingers Thu 27-Mar-14 00:38:44

My main policy to to try to make sure everyone in the family has a good broad range of food and to avoid low fat products.

KateOxford Thu 27-Mar-14 06:10:02

I often find the advice on how often we should eat/should not eat certain foods confusing. Eg eggs. I think this my be due to research findings changing or perhaps taking someone else's word for it without checking myself.

I try to provide my family with a health and balanced diet however find this difficult. It's hard trying to find a balance between things I know I can cook and easily so that I don't spend all day in the kitchen, trying to find things that all of the family will eat ( I have a fussy toddler), making things from leftover ingredients so that we don't waste food and therefore waste money. I also find it hard to keep track of what we have had on what days so that we have variation and a balance.

I mostly use the internet to look up recipes and to look up particular foods if I am thinking about trying a new recipe but I don't do much research into this, I concentrate more on things I know I can make and which sound healthy to me.

Hermancakedestroyer Thu 27-Mar-14 08:18:28

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

The media causes a lot of confusion about healthy eating. One day something is good for you, the next it's causing heart attacks and cancer. It's no wonder that people get confused. I'm firmly of the opinion that everything in moderation is a good healthy life choice.

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

Again I read in the media that a girl got expelled for having a packet of mini cheddar in her lunchbox! Ridiculous. If you feed children only fruit and veg it's not filling enough for them. They need other foodstuffs and dare I say a little bit of fat to have a balanced diet.

- 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 articles on healthy eating all the time. On mumsnet, magazines, in newspapers and I then make an informed decision as to what to feed my family. I think cooking from scratch is a quick and easy way to make your meals healthier. I have very little time to cook but a stir fry or quorn ingredients take very little time to cook and are nice and healthy.

MadMonkeys Thu 27-Mar-14 08:49:18

I'm not confused about it. We avoid fads and eat plenty of veg, fruit, wholegrains etc. We try to have plenty of variety. I cook most things from scratch to avoid all the added sugar, salt and preservatives that ate found in processed foods. We have cakes etc as treats rather than all the time.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Thu 27-Mar-14 09:44:30

- 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?

I don't feel confused about 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?

I know what I should be giving my family, but I find it hard to serve up food I don't want to eat. I'd like to enjoy what I'm eating, so making healthy choices isn't easy. I try to compensate for my dislike of lots of vegetables by eating more fruit.

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

Mostly by searching on the Internet.

- 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?

I think that most people who can read know what healthy eating is. There are messages everywhere.

- 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 but I have no willpower when it comes to crisps and chocolates so I try to avoid buying them, but then OH will go out and buy a lot of fatty/sugary snacks and put them in the snack cupboard. But we do eat healthy balanced meals most of the time, it's just weekends when resolve weakens.

- 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 base it on information I have picked up over the years, most of which is eventually proved right, such as a smaller amount of organic butter being better for you than low-fat tampered with vegetable fats. I also have learned to listen to my body and how it reacts to foods.

MaddAddam Thu 27-Mar-14 10:07:24

- 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?

Not really. I feel I know what a healthy diet consists of and the basics haven't really changed for a long time, if you ignore all the faddy diets that come and go.

- 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 have read enough about nutrition and diet. I like to read research evidence so I tend to ignore the headlines and look at the details which are less conflicting. I had a mother who was pretty health-aware for a 70s parent too so we ate healthily when I grew up.

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

We aim for lots of fresh fruit and veg (at least 5 portions a day each but I aim for more), not much processed food, no cheap meat and very little meat altogether, mostly vegetarian and made at home. Wholegrain bread etc. It doesn't seem that hard to know what to do, even if we don't always eat totally healthily, we know what we SHOULD be doing!

Spirael Thu 27-Mar-14 11:09:16

- 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?

The problem with generalised advice is that people are not all the same. What works for one person in terms of healthy eating might not work for another. We all have different lifestyles, appetities, preferences and metabolic systems. That rarely seems to be taken into account!

Day to day, one person might do really well on carbohydrate limitation, while another might do best with an intermittent fasting. Tell one person to reduce calories and any excess weight might fall off them, but tell another to do the same and they will gain weight but lose energy as their body goes into starvation mode.

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

I feel relatively confident. I do my best to provide a varied and healthy diet. Nothing is forbidden, but things such as snacks and desserts are limited to sensible amounts. Hunger is always fed, but usually with things like fruit and vegetables (preferably with high water content) between meals.

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

A combination of published advice and trial and error, mostly. Both DH and I have tried many things over our years and discovered what works best for us and our family.

CrewElla Thu 27-Mar-14 11:16:32

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?

Portion sizes for toddlers. How much protein they need and how much is a serving of fruit or veg.

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

No, I feel like we're winging it.

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 ignore it since so much is conflicting! I try to make sure that they kids eat mainly fresh fruit and veg in a variety of colours, I choose multigrains when I can, I make sure that they drink only milk or water, and I try to get protein in them but it's a struggle.

I wish the media would pipe down about 'healthy eating'.

There's so many diets and one week protein is good for you and the next it is bad. One week Soya is good for your heart and the next week it gives you cancer. These kind of stupid researches based on poorly collated statistics should be banned by the NHS throughout the country.

We do try to eat healthily, although I am not a great cook so don't have a great deal of confidence in the kitchen.

I'm not worried about it and I'm not putting a locking the biscuit cupboard!

rootypig Thu 27-Mar-14 12:37:12

The main difficulty I have is navigating the bizarre ingredient names on anything but utterly unprocessed fresh food. I want to buy DD oatcakes. What is all this other stuff listed that's not oats? Looked at a Can of coconut milk the other day - 30% coconut extract?! What was the other 70%?? Cereal - the only ones I've found that are not 15% sugar are shredded wheat and weetabix. Sulphates in dried fruit - does it matter? And so on. I want to give DD a healthy diet without being a fanatic. I would like to be able to discern which is the better quality oatcake. What bacon is pumped full of colour and salt. Which eggs really do come from healthy hens.

I suppose it's all about transparency, and trust.

Everything in moderation is mostly my healthy eating ethos.
I think the diet industry's focus on the ins and outs of what we eat is a problem, better to focus on overall attitude to food.
I try to eat mainly foods that aren't too messed around with.
I grow much of our fruit and veg, make meals from scratch, partly as it's cheaper (compared to high quality convenience food) and partly because DS is milk-allergic and lots of processed foods have milk in some form.
My DCs are older now, so make their own food choices, but I feel I've given them a good nutritional base to work from.

kazzawazzawoo Thu 27-Mar-14 17:34:54

I find the conflicting information in the press confusing. however now i try to cook from scratch as much as possible and we n have cut down on sugar a lot. we eat lots of vegetables, not many carbs as this suits us.

ceeb Thu 27-Mar-14 18:12:02

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

One of the problems I have is that one of my DSs doesn't have an ounce of fat on him (like his dad) and the other is stocky (like me). I serve them exactly the same food, however the first will happily eat all the fruit and veg and the second tends more to the protein and carbs. As a mum my natural urge is to try to get the first to eat more and the second to eat less. I wish I knew how to do so without either of them getting a complex!!!

My husband has recently lost 3 stone by doing a no fat, low carb, high protein diet. He feels great for it and feels it works for him, but I worry that the DSs get the wrong messages from it. What can I do to shield them from DH's enthusiasm for his diet without discouraging DH?

Finally, a friend's DC have recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease and I am wondering whether there is any other benefits to cutting out gluten (other than lowering the risk of getting coeliac).

So many questions!!!

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