Are you overweight? You may want to start cooking at home as a way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
This has been the aim each February during Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (AHWW), an initiative of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).
According to the AIHW, being overweight, especially obese, makes you more likely to have conditions including:
- Heart disease and stroke.
- High blood pressure.
- Some cancers
- Musculoskeletal conditions
The risk of developing these conditions increases as your weight increases.
Be weary if you are carrying most of your extra weight around your middle. This so called “apple” shape fat distribution may be riskier than if you are “pear” shaped, meaning that your extra weight is mostly around your hips and buttocks.
To find out your level of risk, do the following quick test on yourself.
- Place a tape measure directly on your skin.
- Take the measurement halfway between your lowest rib and the top of your hipbone. This is roughly in line with your belly button.
- Make sure the tape is snug, without squeezing the skin and take the measurement on your breath out.
- risk is increased at ≥ 80 cm
- risk is high at ≥ 88 cm
- risk is increased at ≥ 94 cm
- risk is high at ≥ 102 cm
Fact: 63% (almost 2 in 3) of Australian’s adults are overweight or obese.
Hence the need for AHWW raising awareness of the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.
The DAA says that, “research shows that people who prepare food at home are more likely to eat smaller portions and take in fewer kilojoules and less fat, salt and sugar. And in turn, this is more likely to result in a healthier weight. ”
I cooked all week and doubled my veggie intake!
When I saw a AHWW post on my Facebook feed I immediately wanted to get involved. So I headed over to their website and made a “health pledge” to challenge myself to cook at home for a week. But that was not really a challenge for me. I already do that most days of the week. So I decided that I’d try and double my veggie intake. How would I know if I’ve achieved this? Husband and I chomp through one fruit and vegetable box a fortnight thanks to The Green Abode. My plan was to get through one box from Thursday (pick-up day) to the following Wednesday (order day). And we did. A new order was placed and we have another lovely fruit and vegetable box to chomp through this week. I hope the cycle will continue.
Here are my highlights for AHWW
Please note that the following outlines only some of the foods and meals that I ate during the week. It is by no means a meal plan I am encouraging you to follow. For tailored nutrition and dietary advice, based on the latest science, find an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) in your area to help you with your goals.
February 15 – Day 1
I added a whole silverbeet to my usual tomato and chickpea curry. Chuffed with my creation, I shared a selfie with it on Instagram and used the hashtags #AHWW and #cookingchallenge to enter AHWW’s competition to win a trip for two to Adelaide to cook with celebrity cook Callum Hann, APD and Themis Chryssidis of Sprout cooking school. This picture got the most likes out of all my photos entries.
February 16 – Day 2
Hail to kale, I turned a whole bunch of kale into a raw slaw with carrot, cabbage, quinoa, kimchi, three seed mix and boiled eggs. Enough to last a few meals.
I cheated with a meal out at my favourite vegetarian/vegan eatery – Heart & Soul in Cronulla. Always a good veggie fix there. Not guilty with this.
February 17 – Day 3
Had a whole head of steamed broccoli. A whole head! As well as left over chickpea curry and slaw.
Visited the healthy weight week stand at my workplace that was hosted by Accredited Practising Dietitians.
@akeytohealth captured it and said, “Healthy Weight Week #AHWW stand went off with a bang! Fresh apples from the orchard, @chobaniau yoghurt, protein balls, nut guess competition, sugar in fluid comparison, and plenty of recipes and educational recourses. Big day!”
I loaded up.
February 18 – Day 4
Cut up and steamed a large sweet potato and mixed it in with left over slaw and broccoli. Boiled some more eggs. Put it all into a large container and in my Fridge-to-go® so I could have it for both lunch and dinner. My after work commitments were no an excuse to not keep this up, I told myself. I bought a freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juice on the go and enjoyed my night out. Sorted!
Came home to a fridge full fruit and vegetables that night! Husband had picked up our fruit and veg box and neatly arranged it all in the fridge. Amazing!
February 19 – Day 5
Made a zoodle salad (spiralized zucchini made in minutes with my spiralizer). Mixed it with the fresh veggies in my fridge, like a whole punnet of cherrie tomatoes! I was back in my creative zone and rediscovered a love for raw food.
I also cooked up a mixed vegetable stir-fry with fresh ginger, garlic and Tamari. But it was gone before I had a chance to take a photo. There was also some quinoa involved, which I thought teamed up better than the typical long-grain white or Basmati variety I too often used to serve or fill up on. Very limited nutrition compared with nutrient dense vegetables.
On this day, an aha moment came over me – If you want to maintain good health and enjoy life to the fullest as you age, the secret lies in what you feed your body! And vegetables are by far the highest, of any food in their concentration of vitamins, minerals and other good stuff your body needs to function properly. You can’t go wrong with having too many veggies!
February 20 – Day 6
I came up with an idea on how I could further up my veggie dose. Snack on them. And what terrific finger foods they make! Steamed corn on the cob, green snake beans and tomato wedges. You get my drift. Crack a bit of salt and pepper on top and voilå, an easy to prepare nutritional snack.
The thing is, cooking or preparing vegetables isn’t hard. But different vegetables need to be treated differently. Some are better sautéed, others are great roasted, and some are best raw. I am getting a good hang of this and it’s helping me get the most out of my vegetables. They are starting to be really delicious.
February 21 – Day 7
Steamed salmon on cauliflower & leek purée and broccolini mixed with dill and sunflower seeds. Drizzled some olive oil on top. I’ve never made something like this before and really impressed the husband how steamed food can taste so good! It was a sure favourite of the week.
I also used up the remaining carrots, beetroots, oranges and ginger by putting them through our cold press juicer. Ate some tinned salmon and lots of fruit that week.
Apart from loving the challenge of using up all my fruit and vegetables I ended up loosing 1 kg and feeling very clean on the inside – my bowls sped up!
I cook, therefore I am — getting healthier!
– See more at: http://healthyweightweek.com.au/
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