How to eat for good health
We’ve designed the WW program to promote a safe, healthy and effective rate of weight loss (around 0.5–1kg per week on average) and to ensure that your nutrition requirements are met at the same time. In the short term, this ensures your nutrition status is maintained to optimise metabolism, energy levels, glowing skin and hair, plus essential body functions. In the long term this can also help protect against diet-related diseases like osteoporosis.
To optimise your health and wellbeing you should aim to meet your nutrient requirements from food first, before looking to supplements. A great way to enhance your nutrient status and boost intakes is to focus on food variety and nutrient density. Nutrient-dense foods provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients with relatively few kilojoules. They include fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, low-fat dairy foods, lean meats, fish, legumes and eggs.
Along with foods containing good fats, like oily fish with omega 3s, it's recommended you aim for 2 teaspoons of healthy oils a day. The top five, based on fat profile, vitamin-E content, affordability and availability, are olive oil, safflower oil, canola oil, linseed/flaxseed oil and sunflower oil. Enjoy them in salads or use them while you’re cooking.
It can be challenging to meet nutrient requirements when you’re on a kilojoule-restricted weight-loss plan. Several major international medical groups, along with research studies, support the recommendation to incorporate a multivitamin and mineral supplement during weight loss. Taking a properly formulated daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may act as a ‘back up’ in the event your diet falls short of requirements every now and then. It’s like having a smoke detector at your house – an investment you take to protect your home from the unlikely event of a fire. It doesn’t change the way you go about your life – you don’t start walking away leaving a pan burning (or eat unhealthily), just because you have a smoke alarm (or take a multivitamin)!
To get what your body needs, each day aim to...
- Eat 2 serves of fruit and at least 5 serves of vegetables. A serve looks like 1 cup of salad vegetables; ½ cup of cooked vegetables; or 1 small potato.
- Eat 1–2 servings of lean meats and substitutes. A serve looks like 65–80g of cooked red meat or chicken (½ cup of lean cooked mince or 2 slices of roast meat); 100g of cooked fish; 2 large eggs; or 1 cup of beans, cooked lentils, chickpeas or split peas.
- Eat at least 2.5 servings of skim milk, low-fat yoghurt or cheese (or 3 servings if you are a breastfeeding mum or a teenager). A serve looks like 1 cup of skim milk or calcium-fortified soy milk; a 200g tub of yoghurt; or 40g of cheese.
- Eat wholegrains instead of refined white grains whenever possible. A serve looks like 1 slice of wholegrain bread; ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or noodles; or ½ cup of porridge.
- Limit your sodium and added sugar intake.
- Limit your alcoholic beverages. Women and men should have no more than 2 alcoholic beverages each day, and should aim for several alcohol-free days each week.
- Move more than you normally do. Plan to include more activity, even if it is incidental.
- Drink 6–8 glasses of non-alcoholic beverages. Milk, juice, soda water, even coffee and tea all count, but the best choice is water.
- Include 2 teaspoons per day of healthy oils like olive, canola, sunflower, safflower or flaxseed, so that you get a hit of vitamin E and essential fatty acids.
- Include a multivitamin.