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Do we eat right?

By Thabang

Posted on 25 June 2009

Recent surveys indicate that there is a desire to engage in healthier eating habits. In addition, people are more aware of the role of nutrition in health and want to eat more healthily for this purpose.

However, one of the most influential stumbling blocks is the world of fast food dinning. For most people this is part of the monthly schedule. Some people even express an outcast feeling if they do not engage in eating out at least three times a month. In addition some people say: “I cannot ignore Macdonalds, Debonairs, Wimpie, Steers, Nandos etc.” Why? It’s always in my face and my friends always go there once or twice a month. It’s not easy to ignore, I must confess.

The problem lies with the preparation of 98% percent of these meals. Yes, the branch manager may argue that they do have healthier alternatives. Tell that to your marketing executive. People buy what is advertised and there is little advertising emphasis placed on healthier prepared meals. The marketing team says the healthier prepared meals have little advantages so it’s hard to market.  Hard to market: how about, a rand for your life campaign: you may live longer if you buy this meal (for R35.90). Or forget feasting your family with that chicken skin (For 39.60) this meal contains unsaturated fats you will reduce the chances of prostate cancer (for R40.60). Or forget the ice cream, waffles (for R23.30), get the fruit salad(R 24.30) to reduce the chances of cataracts, high blood pressure and colon cancer.

How about this excuse, it does not make business sense! The healthier prepared meals are not addictive, so no craving. Therefore you do not come back for more, even if you do not want to. Isn’t it a coincident that the healthier prepared meals do not taste that good? Healthy does not have to taste that bad though. I have prepared a lot of healthier low fat and calorie meals and they taste great. So if I can do it then suppose those multi-billion restaurants....!

Due to globalization some nutritional desires have not been translated into appropriate action.  Yes there is progress from the population in meeting several nutritional goals on the food pyramid.  But we are victims of convenience; we have conformed to a sedentary lifestyle to make matters worse.  It's good to take the lift to the 6th floor but not to the 3rd floor. Because most areas of our lives have been made easy this has influenced the way we think about our food. It must be quick.  I’m not saying that go to the gym, although it’s an option considering the reduced physical activity we have to endure to attain things in this modern era. If gym is not your favourite pastime then make the right food choices. Stay close to your fruits and vegetables, water, fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein and reduce salt intake and keep to simple carbohydrates.

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