Here are some tips to help make eating whole foods a way of life.
ENJOY A VARIETY OF UNPROCESSED OR MINIMALLY PROCESSED FOOD CHOICES
Choose a variety of foods that are affordable and in season. This can be achieved by drawing up a food budget, keeping this budget in mind when planning for the week ahead and writing down your thoughts in the form of a meal plan and then compiling a shopping list, only buying items that are needed.
Enjoying a healthy eating plan also means preparing food in healthy ways, for instance eating raw vegetables and using cooking methods such as boiling, grilling and baking instead of frying
EAT PLENTY OF VEGETABLES AND FRUIT EVERY DAY
Vegetables should be eaten every day, and not only on weekends.
Try to include a variety of vegetables and fruit in meal plans.
Indigenous vegetables and fruit are good sources of vitamins and minerals and should be included where possible
Frozen and dried vegetables can be incorporated as part of a healthy eating plan.
Include both cooked and raw vegetables and salads in meals.
Eat a yellow vegetable (carrots, pumpkin, butternut) or a dark green vegetable (broccoli, spinach,) at least once a day.
EAT DRY BEANS, PEAS, LENTILS AND SOYA REGULARLY
Soaking beans and chickpeas overnight in plenty of water will reduce cooking time and help to reduce bloating. Drain the soaking water and use fresh water for cooking.
Try not to cook dry beans, peas or lentils together as each has its distinct cooking time.
Dry beans, peas and lentils should be thoroughly cooked until they are tender and drained well.
Add seasonings such as bay leaves, onion, garlic and/or pepper corns when cooking, but leave salt, acidic foods and condiments, such as tomatoes, lemon juice and vinegar until after cooking as it can harden beans. Add herbs and spices near the end of the cooking process.
PLAN AND PREPARE HEALTHY HOME MEALS RATHER THAN BUYING READY-TO-EAT FOOD MEALS/SNACKS OR EATING OUT FREQUENTLY
Draw up a budget for food. Have an amount in mind and do your best to stick to it. Look at past receipts as a starting point.
Create a menu plan for the week ahead for breakfast, lunch and supper. Be realistic. If you only have 20 minutes to prepare a meal, then do not choose a recipe that is complicated.
Plan meals that are mostly plant-based, i.e. vegetables, fruit, legumes and preferably minimally processed starchy foods
If you have the capacity, double the amounts when preparing regularly eaten foods such as brown rice or dry beans/peas/lentils. You can also do the same with your favourite family recipes so that these leftovers can be eaten on the other days of the week or can be frozen or thawed when needed.
Plan to use leftovers for a few breakfasts, lunches or dinners throughout the week to reduce time spent cooking.
ALWAYS CHECK FOOD AND BEVERAGE LABELS TO READ WHAT IS IN YOUR FOOD AND DRINK
Look at the table with the nutritional information on the food label. Look at the ‘total sugar’, ‘saturated fat’ and ‘sodium (salt)’ content. Find the words: ‘Saturated fats’, ‘Total sugar’ and ‘Sodium’ and see how much of it the food contains.
For more tips and references, download the concept document: