Wednesday June 14, 2023

Time constraints and day-to-day stress can impact the motivation to prepare meals and can lead people to seek out convenient options which are often not necessarily balanced from a nutrition perspective, according to Clinical Dietitian, Aaron Roman.

As part of Men’s Health Week (12-18 June), Mr Roman shares how it only takes small steps to make big change.

“Trying to not overcomplicate things is a really good starting point. I’m a big believer in keeping things simple and bringing it back to the basics,” he said.

“Making things simple, but convenient is a good idea. A simple rule of thumb is trying to aim for many different colours of fruits and veggies to ensure you are getting enough nutrients over the day. You don’t necessarily have to follow a complicated recipe, for example; chicken breasts with some herbs and spices for flavour, a little bit of rice and some veg on the side whether that’s frozen or fresh.”

Mr Roman often refers to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating as a tool his consumers can use to help build healthier habits, by identifying small changes they can make to the foods they eat.

“It’s a framework that outlines how many servings of each food group to eat per day. In Australia, we recommend people having two servings of fruit per day. One serve of fruit would look like one banana or two smaller fruits kiwi fruit. It also breaks down how many servings of each food group to eat based on age group as well. So it’s a really useful tool to provide the foundations of how to build a balanced diet.”

Clinical Dietitian, Aaron Roman Image: Eastern Health
Clinical Dietitian, Aaron Roman Image: Eastern Health

Fitting in all the food groups doesn’t have to be a challenge either, Mr Roman explains. There are still ways to get the best out of your meals each day, without needing to spend hours in the kitchen.

“Frozen fruit and vegetables are a really good option and is comparable to fresh foods from a nutrition perspective – and very convenient. Another great option for many people is yoghurt and fruit. It’s a personal favourite of mine that can double up as a convenient breakfast option on the go, or a good snack. You’ve got the yoghurt there for proteins and calcium and the banana for fibre and carbohydrates for energy during the day.

Pre-prepared, packaged or microwave meals are really good, they’re tasty, but they never have enough vegetables. I always suggest adding veg on to that; so whether that’s any canned veg, frozen veg, baby spinach or even snacking on a carrot on the side will help get your vegetables in.”

At times eating habits can go unnoticed, but some things you can look out for to support your family and friends include food restriction in any form, or not getting a variety of different foods in their diet.

“Limited food variety can lead to micronutrient deficiencies. If someone is quite restricted in the foods they eat, I think that’s a pretty good indicator that they may need some support or guidance,” Mr Roman said.

If there is cause for concern, an accredited dietitian like Mr Roman can help people get back on track.

“There is a tonne of misinformation out there, whether that’s online or from friends or family. I always suggest speaking to an Accredited Practising Dietitian. Dietitians can cut through all the noise and misinformation out there to help you focus on what’s important for you.”

Find an Accredited Practising Ditetitian here