Sunday, October 19, 2014

10 rules for healthy eating

I just had a call from a lovely dietitian saying how sad she was to hear that I'm leaving the Sunday Star Times, and also wondering if I'm leaving Healthy Food Guide too! 

So, this is a bad news/good news situation. Yes, my column has finished in the Sunday Star Times. The paper is re-structuring, taking the food out of the Escape section and they don't wish to continue with my column. Which is totally fair enough, although disappointing for me, since I really enjoyed writing it. 

The GOOD news, is that I'm not leaving HFG - in fact I's sticking around, but coincidentally in a new and exciting role, as Editor-in-Chief. That means I'll be overseeing all of the magazines in the Healthy Life Media stable, as well as being able to work on new projects for HFG and get out there in the world more to talk about healthy eating. I'm going 'bigger picture' which is a good thing for me to be doing now. 

I'll be keeping up the feature, blog and recipe writing as part of my new role, and hopefully doing more of it - that's one of my favourite things to do. 

So here is my final SST column. In it, I've tried to distill all the messages I've tried to get across over the past few years in that 450-word space. 

I’m on record (more than once) saying I hate rules about healthy eating. But since it’s my last column here, I thought I should leave you with some thoughts – call them rules if you must – to summarise what I’ve hoped to communicate over the past four years. Here are ten ways to truly eat healthier.

1.       Food is just food. It shouldn’t be a cause of emotions like guilt and shame. If you’re going to feel emotional about food, be joyful, having savoured something absolutely delicious.

2.       Eat your veges – the more, and the more colourful, the better. Base every meal on these.

3.       Remember the ideal plate. It’s half full of colourful veges, a quarter quality carbohydrates and a quarter protein. 

4.       Cook as much as you can, and if you can’t cook, try to learn. And then apply numbers 2 and 3 above. Do this and you’ll almost certainly get healthier without even trying.

5.       There is no such thing as one ‘perfect’ diet for everyone. There are lots of ways to eat healthily. The best way of eating for you is one that suits your life, your family situation, your budget and your personality. (Anyone who says they have the perfect solution is trying to sell you something, probably a diet book.)

6.       ‘Processed’ food is not all evil – freezing and canning are ways of processing, don’t forget. But none of us needs too much highly processed brown and white food in our lives. Choose wisely, and eat as much whole, fresh, minimally processed food as possible.

7.       Diet theories come and go, but most nutrition professionals agree on the basics of a healthy diet (see above). Try not to get distracted or confused by the latest trend.

8.       Be suspicious of any diet that divides foods into “allowed” and “not allowed”. It’s probably not a diet you can stick to long term.

9.       A little bit of sugar (or fat, or salt) will not kill you. Treats make us happy. Just recognise treats are not everyday foods.

10.   People eat for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Don’t judge others for what or how they eat. Pay attention to your own choices and make them as good as you possibly can. You only have one body and it deserves looking after.

It’s been a pleasure writing this column; thanks for all your feedback. You can read my regular blog at, and connect with me at

PS: I'll publish some of my previous columns here over the next few weeks. To save them for posterity! 

No comments: