Health & The City and what you can do eat the right amount

Health & The City and what you can do eat the right amount


Did you know that if you eat with one other person (other than a spouse), you eat 39 per cent more food than if you eat by yourself? Eat with seven or more people and you'll wolf down nearly double the amount of food... And we don't just supersize portions either... our idea of what a snack is has been drastically altered over time. Snacks should be healthy but healthy snacking in between meals has given way to mindless consumption of quick fix chocolate bars, high calorie biscuits or chips... Not good at all!

These are just two of the pitfalls of maintaining a healthy life and size, covered in Health & The City, a new book by Caitlin Reid which aims to help busy urbanites navigate their way healthily through the fast food, fast living urban jungle.

Time poor, stressed out and overwhelmed with fast food and quick fix, at-desk eating options; work drinks, lunches and general socialising - it's not easy to stay healthy and in shape in today's busy urban environment.

Health & The City not only provides advice, facts and tips about health and nutrition, more importantly it also gives achievable challenges throughout, so that by the time the reader has finished the book, he or she should already be leading a healthier lifestyle.

In short, concise and easy to absorb chapters, Health & The City covers issues from salt to sandwiches, caffeine to cornflakes, gender differences to gin and tonics and peanuts to portion control to give the normal, busy, everyday Australian some helpful information, easy to implement advice and tips on how to lead a healthier lifestyle in the city.

Portion Distortion

Over the past 30 years, there has been a significant increase in the average portion size of food. Everything from chocolate bars and muffins, to chips, soft drinks and burgers has been super-sized.

While offering you more food for a little extra money may be good for business, it's bad for your waistline and health.

So what can you do?

* When you buy bulk foods, portion them up into smaller serving sizes and store them separately.
* When ordering takeaway, never super-size a meal; enjoy a small or medium-sized meal instead.
* Transfer any food from the packet to a plate or bowl, as eating straight from the packet will make estimating the amount of food you eat difficult and you'll end up overeating.

When we order fish and chips or a burger and fries most of us don't stop when we have eaten 12 chips - the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating's definition of a standard serve (see the federal government's website: It's the same with restaurant pasta dishes - most of them contain much more than one cup of cooked pasta.

So what can you do?

* Avoid overeating and familiarise yourself with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating definitions.
* Ask for salad with your burger and only a few chips.
* Fill up on salad and vegetables and order the smallest serve of pasta.
* If there is only one size of pasta, share it with a friend, or take half of it home and eat it for lunch the following day.

To Snack or Not to Snack?!

For some of us snacking is great for crushing hunger pangs, controlling weight, satisfying small appetites and providing important nutrients, however when emotions take over snacking can lead to mindless eating and ultimately unwanted weight gain.

So what can you do?

* Address the underlying issue about why you turn to food for comfort, then focus on your overall kilojoule intake.
* It doesn't matter if you have three large meals or three smaller meals and three snacks each day. Weight maintenance is achieved when you eat the same number of kilojoules as you expend - regardless of when you consume them. If you're trying to lose weight and eating somewhere between three and six meals a day, reducing your portion sizes will be a better thing to focus on than the number of meals and snacks you eat.
* If you snack for comfort, then you need to address this separately.

Healthy snacking

Many of us snack between meals, however we very rarely have healthy snacks on hand, so when the munchies hit, we visit the vending machine for chocolate, chips or lollies, or buy a "megamuffin" or biscuit with a coffee.

So what can you do?

* To be a healthy snacker, you must be organised. Prepare healthy snacks containing less than 600kJ and keep them on hand.
* Good snacks provide long-lasting energy, satisfy your hunger and provide important nutrients.
* Planning your snacks makes it less likely that you will reach for fatty and sugary convenience foods, containing huge amounts of kilojoules but lacking essential vitamins and minerals.

Caitlin Reid is an accredited practising dietitian and exercise physiologist and works as a corporate wellness/lifestyle management consultant. She has a private practice at Balmain Sports Physio, Sydney where she consults on weight loss, lifestyle management and sports nutrition and is the official sports dietitian for the South Sydney Rabbitohs football team.

She regularly writes and consults for Australian Healthy Food Guide magazine, Ninemsns Map My Fitness website, IMP, Nuts for Life, Beyond the Square Communications, Peak Health Management and Good Health Solutions and has appeared as an expert on many television and radio shows.

RRP $22.95
Healthy & The City is published by Longueville Media and is available in leading book stores.