MAKE HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES EASIER
Tips to plan and prepare quick, healthy and affordable home meals:
- Practise forward planning - leaving you healthier and financially stable. Plan the amount of money you have available for food and 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.
- Always draw up a menu plan and a shopping list. Create a menu plan for the week ahead for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Be realistic. If you only have 20 minutes to prepare a meal, then do not choose a complicated recipe.
- Use the guidelines for healthy eating and the food guide when planning meals that are mostly plant-based, i.e., vegetables, fruit, legumes and preferably minimally processed starchy foods. Choose a variety of foods that are affordable and in season.
- Consider meat-free days during the week. Dry beans, peas, lentils and soya can be used in many dishes, such as salads, soups and stews. They are high in protein and can also be added as a meat extender to “stretch” the quantity of the dish.
- Include fatty fish such as canned pilchards and sardines as an affordable option of protein and good fats.
- Try to eat a variety of vegetables and fruit in different colours if possible.
Budget tips when buying groceries:
- Plan when you will go shopping – if you shop when you are hungry, you may buy unnecessary and unhealthy food.
- Always use a shopping list as a reminder to choose healthy foods and to stick to the food budget.
- Dry beans, peas, lentils and soya are more affordable and are not subjected to VAT.
- Buy locally produced foods and look out for specials: look for discounts, coupons, and sales, especially on store brands, which usually cost less.
- Compare unit prices (rand per gram/kilogram) listed on price tags to find the cheaper brand.
- Buy in bulk, if possible, as single-size items are often more expensive than buying in bulk. Dry products and frozen foods keep well for a longer period and can be bought in bulk.
- Check the use by date / best before date/expiry date and quality of food you buy, especially when it is on sale.
Be Active! The following tips may help to be physically more active
- Engage in any form of physical activity for 30 minutes daily
- Start slowly and set realistic goals to work towards
- Engage in community physical activities to encourage participation by others
- Choose a form of physical activity that should be enjoyable, for instance:
- Brisk walking
- Walking up the stairs instead of taking a lift
- If you use a car, park the car far away from the shopping/mall entrance
- Take opportunities to stand more, e.g., when speaking on the phone
- Taking a walk during lunch breaks
- Playing active games with family and/or friends
- Dancing, cycling, swimming and skipping
Introduce complementary feeding at six months and continue breastfeeding until two years and beyond
- Introducing solids at the right time, in the correct amounts and of age-appropriate texture is important.
- Start with small amounts: one to two teaspoons, twice a day.
- Build up to five small meals each day
- For each meal:
- ¼ cup at nine months; and
- ½ cup by 12 months
- Give a variety (different kinds) of foods (iron-rich foods, starches, vegetables,fruits).
- Iron-rich foods for children aged six to 12 months include fortified infant porridge, mashed beans/chickpeas/lentils, softly cooked/shredded chicken livers, grounded mopane worms, minced meat and egg.
- Homemade foods for infants and young children can be healthier and more affordable than store-bought options. It can also be easy to prepare. Healthy foods from family meals are suitable to use for infants and young children.