National Nutrition Week – 4 Tips (Plus 3 Myths Busted)

Although good nutrition is an everyday-of-the-year thing, 15-21 October marks National Nutrition Week.

National Nutrition Week brings budget-friendly, simple solutions to help you achieve your daily 5 servings of vegetables.

The main message: “every veg counts” means that with a veggie-based diet, you’re investing in your health—most certainly a wise move and something National Nutrition Week encourages.

So, what’s the pay off when investing in your health?

We investigate.

Duff Street Medical Clinic are proud advocates of good nutrition

The doctors operating at our clinic offer a range of services around nutrition, from our Weight Loss Clinic to Children’s Health.

With such a focus on good health and nutrition, we’re detailing top tips and busting some common nutrition myths.

4 Top Nutrition Tips

1. Count the dollars, enjoy better health

You’d be surprised just how cheap it is to eat healthy.

With living costs rising in Australia, many of us are looking for ways to cut costs and fortunately, eating healthy is often a wallet saver.

As detailed in Taste, many restaurant meals come in at 200-300% more expensive than their home-cooked counterparts.

Cooking at home allows you to have complete control over the ingredients and portion sizes, making it easier to choose healthier options and reduce calorie intake.

It also helps minimise the use of unhealthy additives like excessive salt, sugar, and saturated fats that are often found in restaurant dishes.

Home-cooked meals provide a better opportunity to incorporate a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, leading to a more balanced and nutritious diet compared to eating out.

2. Hara hachi bun me

Aka, ‘eat until you’re 80% full’ or ‘full at 80%’. Originating in Okinawa in Japan, this technique is often praised for its health benefits among the local population.

FYI, Okinawa has the world’s highest proportion of centenarians, at approximately 50 per 100,000 people.

Basically, it means eating until you’re “just” satisfied – not still hungry, but not completely full either.

Combine ‘Hara hachi bun me’ with more veggies and home-cooked meals and it’s common and easy to experience a healthy decrease in belt size and better health.

Research shows it takes roughly 15 to 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach has reached capacity so eating slowly and incorporating the 80% full rule helps reduce overeating.

Stopping when you think you’re at 80% means you’re likely at 100% but won’t know it for another 15 minutes or so.

3. Plan ahead

This means planning meals in advance, typically week by week, and shopping for pre-planned ingredients for those meals.

Planning meals in advance offers several health benefits.

Firstly, it allows you to make deliberate and mindful food choices, which often leads to a more balanced and nutritious diet.

You’ll have greater control over ingredients, portion sizes, and cooking methods, which helps reduce unhealthy additives like excess salt, sugar, and saturated fats.

Advanced meal planning can help with weight management too as it enables you to portion your meals appropriately and avoid impulsive, less healthy food choices.

Costs play a role as with a shopping list, you’re far less likely to fall for high calorie or unnecessary options (aka temptations) in the supermarket.

Hint: Never go grocery shopping hungry, you’ll likely wind up with a lot of extras you don’t need.

4. Healthy snacks

Sadly, there are uncountable unhealthy options when it comes to snacks but making better choices can really make a difference to overall health and fitness.

Here are a few standouts:

  • Carrot sticks with hummus: Carrot sticks are rich in vitamins and fibre, while hummus provides protein and healthy fats
  • Cucumber slices with Greek yoghurt: Cucumbers are hydrating and low in calories, and when paired with Greek yoghurt, you get a protein-packed snack
  • Celery with almond butter: Celery is a low-calorie option and almond butter adds healthy fats and a touch of sweetness
  • Cherry tomatoes with cottage cheese: Cherry tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants and vitamins, and pairing them with cottage cheese adds protein, making it a balanced choice
  • Bell pepper strips with salsa: Bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C and are great with salsa, which is low in calories

Drinks make a huge difference too.

We all know how sugary and unhealthy soft drinks are, so why not replace them with soda water? Soda water has 0 calories.

food choice

Common nutrition myths busted

Myth: Eating late at night causes weight gain

The timing of your meals matters less than the quality and quantity of what you eat. Weight gain is influenced by your total daily calorie intake and activity level.

It’s perfectly fine to have a light, healthy snack in the evening if you’re genuinely hungry.

Myth: Carbohydrates cause weight gain

Carbohydrates are an important source of energy and should be part of a healthy diet. It’s the type and portion size that matters.

Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide valuable nutrients and fibre, while sugary and refined carbs, like those found in white bread and cake should be limited.

Myth: All fats are unhealthy

Not all fats are bad for you. While saturated and trans fats should be very limited in your diet, unsaturated fats, like those found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, are beneficial for heart health and overall wellbeing.

Saturated and trans fats are commonly found in processed foods, junk food and fried food.

Summing up

Investing in your health is a win-win.

One win is on the wallet side of things as healthy food is typically much more affordable than junk food or eating out.

The other, more important win being your health and wellbeing.

Generally, making healthier nutrition choices means:

  • Living longer
  • Improved quality of life
  • Higher energy
  • Better cognitive function
  • Enhanced immune system
  • Improved mental health
  • Increased mobility and flexibility
  • Better sleep

The list goes on.

If your health, be it mental health or physical health, has been left unchecked for a while, make a booking with us today.

Duff Street Medical Clinic offers a range of health services for the community.