Become a home cook hero

As Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) kicked off Australia’s Healthy Weight Week on Monday, new research shows that cooking at home more often means Australians will ‘up’ their fruit and vegetable intake, helping win the war on weight.

The research, involving more than 1,300 people, found those who spent the most time preparing and cooking meals ate more fruit and vegetables and spent less money on food away from home, compared with those who spent the least amount of time in the kitchen.

“Given more than nine in 10 Australians don’t eat the recommended five serves of vegetables a day, and 63 per cent of adults are overweight or obese, and that number is rising, this is important research,” Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) spokesperson and Co-Director of the Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle, Professor Clare Collins said.

Professor Collins said the quality of a person’s diet was a good way of predicting weight; and healthy habits, such as eating more vegetables and less fast food, were linked with more time spent preparing and cooking food at home.

Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (16-22 February) encourages Australians to cook at home as a way to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

“Other studies show that when we eat out we tend to have bigger portions, choose higher-kilojoule foods, and eat more saturated fat, salt and sugar. And research shows that regularly eating meals away from home is linked with the risk of becoming overweight or obese,” Professor Collins said.

When it comes to weight loss, Professor Collins also encourages Australian to be realistic, aiming for a drop of around half to one kilogram a week, to be as active as possible every day, and to take on eating habits that can be kept up over time.

“Taking part in Australia’s Healthy Weight Week is the perfect way to kick start healthier eating and cooking habits – a crucial step towards reaching your health goals.

“The unique thing about Australia’s Healthy Weight Week is that it recognises that everyone is different, meaning their weight loss strategy will be too. It’s a good time to seek out advice and support from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), who will give practical, tailored advice to suit your individual needs.”

More information, including the AHWW pledge campaign and home cooking challenge, plus nutrition tips, recipes head to www.healthyweightweek.com.au.

Take the Healthy Eating Quiz and identify areas for improvement.

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