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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!

Joules68 Fri 03-Jan-14 14:07:20

dropdead speaks sense!

DropDeadThread Fri 03-Jan-14 11:16:05

*eat complex

Mashed or peeled boiled potatoes are not complex carbs.

DropDeadThread Fri 03-Jan-14 11:15:13

But special, most people do not eastcomplex carbs. And most of us are sedentary so have no need for a diet designed to fuel a moving body.

specialsubject Fri 03-Jan-14 11:00:43

the low-carbers often don't know their basic science. Carbohydrate is a scientific term.

you want to have about 40% complex carbs in your diet - slow release for energy. wholemeal bread, pasta, rice, spuds and veg.

you want to minimise the simple carbs which are just sugar. Cakes, biscuits, sweets. Obvious treats.

lots of veg - can't overdose on that. Some fruit (it is sugary but also has vitamins). Some dairy, some protein, a little fat.

no fizzy drinks - toilet cleaner with added sugar. Kids drink milk or water. No diet foods (con), low-fat foods (Con - added sugar; just eat less of the full fat stuff). Minimise the processec crap- ready meals, anything that sells non-refrigerated in Poundland..

don't obsess. Don't fast. Don't skip meals. Don't pay anyone for eating advice.

tinselledUp Fri 03-Jan-14 10:41:59

Portion size wise - if you have smaller plates and bowls you eat less. I've seen that on diet/food programs. We started using the side plate to the dinner set rather than the main plates and its an easy way to keep portion sizes down.

Soup - keeps you full for longer - than the same food not made into soup.

Plus cooked food can be more nutritious than raw food - they looked at cooked vs uncooked carrots and more nutrients came out of cooked.

That was all on some horizon program about food and digestion but dieting. It is difficult cause healthy eating and dieting do seem to get mixed up a lot.

But YANBU - it can seem confusing at times there can seem to be some much information and I'm not sure how true some of it is.

IndridCold Fri 03-Jan-14 10:41:31

Agree that to have a healthy diet you need to avoid processed food and cook from fresh. Forget angel delight as an occasional treat, have banana and (a good brand, dairy) ice cream instead.
I find that supermarket magazines and recipie cards have lots of ideas if you are not a confident cook. Or, failing that invest in The Gospel according to St Delia.

Borntorun25 Fri 03-Jan-14 10:24:25

YANBU to be unsure about it, so many food manufacturers are trying to push low fat/ low sugar/ 'natural' additive versions of food products.
Keep it simple, lots of veg, fresh chicken/ fish/ meat and a carb, eg pasta/rice/bread as the basic meal plan. I really don't enjoy cooking but you can do quick simple meals with above. I mix whole grain pasta and white pasta half and half, they cook in same pan and take same time, we find all whole grain a bit unpalatable but half and half is fine.
I use butter and full fat cheese/ yogurt as they taste much nicer but in small quantities. Don't sweat the low fat/ low sugar options or treats, if your basic diet is simple and fresh a small amount of whatever is fine.
YY to portion control, most of us eat way more than we need.

And don't forget regular exercise, just 30 mins brisk walking a day, even split into smaller bits will make a huge difference. When mine were little we couldn't walk at any great pace so I played tig with them in play parks, I got over the initial embarrassment and they absolutely loved running around with mum trying to catch them. Brilliant workout!

Betrayedbutsurvived Fri 03-Jan-14 10:19:12

This blog is excellent, really explains
In simple terms why certain things are bad. Loads of recipes etc too, and tons of stuff on getting fussy kids and partners on board too.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Fri 03-Jan-14 09:59:14

I am thinking of getting this plate, it should help with portion control.

brettgirl2 Fri 03-Jan-14 09:45:55

Well quite mcpie. I'm not actually overweight though....... so I posted and all of a sudden the focus was switching from healthy diet to weight.

fatlazymummy Fri 03-Jan-14 09:45:18

Well, I am pretty healthy and I tend to follow the NHS diet. Plenty of fruit and veg, some protein,some carbs, and a little fat. Easy on the cakes/sweets/crisps, and no takeaways, alcohol or fizzy drinks (I just don't like these things, but if I did I would have them as a treat.
As for exercise ,as a minimum try and walk a bit more rather than driving everywhere, then find something physical you enjoy and do that for a couple of hours per week.
It's really just basic common sense. Everyone knows that veg is good for us, and deep fried mars bars or large deep pan pizzas are going to make us fat if we eat them every day.

Motherinlawsdung Fri 03-Jan-14 09:42:48

I agree that it's confusing, but there are some simple rules that you can follow which will help. The first is portion control. When I was a child the standard amount of meat per person in a meal was 4 ounces. That is about 110 grams. Contrast that with what people expect to see on their plates now. Fizzy drinks were only for parties, kids drank milk or water the rest of the time and adults drank tea. I don't understand the science but I am convinced that even low fat fizzy drinks are really addictive and fattening. In case I sound like I think the past was better than today I would add that the advantage of living today is the vastly improved range of inexpensive vegetables readily available in cheap supermarkets and ethnic grocers. OP if you reduce portion sizes and sugar consumption, cut out fizzy drinks, and eat loads of veg you will be well on the way to a good diet.

sisterquestion Fri 03-Jan-14 09:30:24

I think a great place to start is Dr. John Briffa's "Escape the Diet Trap". He talks through each food group with all the pros and cons for each. Really worth reading - focus on weight loss AND improving health at same time. He is very critical of diets that help you lose weight but are detrimental to health.

As to start with as others have alluded to - avoid processed foods. Less sugar more protein.

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!

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.

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!

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

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

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.

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!

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.

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

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

- 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.

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!

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 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.

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

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