- Use any fruit and vegetable of your choice or what is in season. If you are on a budget, only buy the amount of fresh produce you think you will finish in the week. Rather buy 2 – 3 different fruits for the week than buying too many and not finishing them.
- Have frozen fruits and vegetables available.
- Snacks can be eaten at any time throughout the day.
- Store bread, wraps, pitas and cooked grains in the freezer so that you do not need to buy and cook them every week.
- When using salt, use iodized salt.
- All applicable ingredients like plant proteins, grains, starches, legumes etc. should be considered cooked in the meal plan.
- A vitamin B12 supplement is important to take when following a vegetarian diet and a non-negotiable on a vegan diet. Also, consider taking an algae-based DHA supplement. Speak to your registered dietician and/or qualified healthcare provider before starting new supplements.
Top tips from our dietitian
1 fruit serving is:
- 1 small fruit OR 1 medium fruit OR ½ of a large fruit
- ½ cup chopped fruits OR 1 cup berries
- ¼ cup dried fruit
- 2 tablespoons raisins/dried cranberries
- ½ cup 100% fruit juice
1 vegetable serving is:
- 1 cup raw leafy greens and other raw vegetables
- ½ cup cooked vegetables
- ½ cup 100% vegetable juice
- ½ cup vegetable soup
Hints for the preparation of food
- Use small quantities of spray and cook instead of oil or fat in pans. Non-stick pans are also useful.
- Cut off all visible fat and remove the skin of poultry before it is cooked.
- Place meat or chicken on a grill if roasted or grilled in the oven so that the fat can drip off. If a roast is cooked at a low temperature (160°C) it is not necessary to baste it with fat, rather use lemon juice or wine to give it an interesting flavour.
- Try to prepare stews, casseroles, soups and sauces in advance so that the dishes can be cooled in the fridge. The solidified fat on the surface can then be scooped off before heating the food.
- Oil-fried fish must be drained before eating. Preferably, choose pickled fish (in brine), instead of fried fish.
- Seafood does not always have to be fried in oil. Use lemon juice or white wine for preparation.
- Use digestive bran instead of cornflour to thicken stews or sauces, to increase fibre intake.
- Eat salads without a salad-dressing or try low-fat yoghurt.
- Use low-fat yoghurt instead of cream in dishes and desserts.
- The salt intake can be reduced by using herbs and spices to season food.
- Try to eat raw vegetables regularly. If vegetables are cooked; use only a small amount of water without salt. Do not add baking soda, because it reduces essential vitamins.
- Cook the vegetables in a closed saucepan until tender. Steamed vegetables are also healthy because the nutrients and natural flavour are retained.
- Always use fresh vegetables and fruit and try to keep them cooled in the fridge until it is used.
- Rinse fruit and vegetables in cold water before they are peeled and prepared. Do not unnecessarily cut them into small pieces or soak them in water.
- Limit the addition of sugar, fat/margarine/butter to vegetables. If they are added this ought to be part of the daily ration that are allowed
Hints for following a slimming diet
Eat slowly – to make small amounts more filling:
- Put down the cutlery after each mouthful.
- Chew the food properly and swallow everything before the next portion of food is taken onto the fork or spoon.
- Take time to rest or be sociable when you eat. Learn to relax at mealtimes
- Remember that the body requires at least twenty minutes before your appetite feels satisfied.
Avoid external stimuli while eating:
- Eat from a smaller plate.
- Keep serving dishes off the table.
- Keep food only in the kitchen, out of sight and as far as possible out of reach.
- Store food in non-transparent containers.
- Plan in such a way that there are no leftovers and freeze leftovers immediately.
- Have only the allowed snacks at hand; avoid the purchase of tempting food.
- Go to the kitchen only at mealtimes.
- Eat only at predetermined eating places.
- Avoid other activities while eating – remove the television, magazines, newspapers, telephone, etc. from places where eating takes place.
- Be careful with external food stimuli, for instance, magazines for entertaining, television advertisements, etc. Do not watch the food channels or food programmes when hungry.
Get involved in alternative activities when you have the urge to eat:
- Start new hobbies.
- Get involved in extramural activities.
- Do things you enjoy, e.g. have a bath, rest, phone a friend, etc.
- Take part in household chores, e.g. write a letter, rearrange the furniture, do gardening, etc.
A few general hints:
- Do not skip meals.
- If you are hungry before a meal, have a cup of thin soup or tomato juice or eat celery, a radish, pickles, etc.
- Start meals with a salad or a low-energy starter that is filling.
If the craving or the urge to eat comes from anything else but physical hunger, eating will never satisfy it.
Hints for shopping and food preparation
- Plan meals in advance.
- Prepare large quantities of meals in advance and freeze them in the correct portions.
- Plan portion-controlled meals and avoid leftovers.
- Set specific times for meals.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it.
- Select and change recipes carefully so that hidden kilojoules are avoided.
- Do not go shopping when you are hungry.
Follow good nutritional principles when shopping:
- Read the labels properly and note the ingredients, size of the portions and the nutritional and kilojoule content.
- Be careful with “diet” food (sometimes they have the same or more calorie content as the ‘normal’ version).
- Buy nutritious, low-kilojoule food as snacks.
- Avoid the spontaneous purchase of food that is not on your shopping list.
- Resist being persuaded by family or friends.
Reduce the stimuli that encourage eating during food preparation and tidying up:
- Request the assistance of others to reduce contact with food.
- Request the presence of others to counteract boredom, loneliness and monotony that often go hand in hand with the preparation of food.
- To ensure the immediate storage of leftovers the containers must be put out before the meal.
- Ask others to clear the table and to remove/store the leftovers.
Hints for eating out
- Decide on the best menu choices before you leave the house.
- Explain the diet to others to get their support
Take care that your kilojoule intake is restricted to a minimum:
- Be the first to order so that your choice of food is not affected by the others.
- Choose unsweetened fruit juices, ice water, soda water or diet cool drinks instead of alcoholic beverages.
- Request that salads be served immediately (and without dressing) to prevent that too much bread and butter is eaten.
- Request that meat and vegetables be served without additional sauce or fat. Avoid creamed, fried, sautéed, marinated and dishes with cheese.
- Choose less rich desserts, e.g. sponge cake or fresh fruit.
- Ask for a takeaway instead of eating too large portions.
- Avoid high kilojoule snacks at parties by not standing close to the food tables.
- Do not give in to social pressure to eat too much.
If you just clear your plate and finish your food in an attempt to not ‘waste with food’, you are making yourself the trashcan.
How to eat less
- Get involved in other activities.
- Drink a glass of water or diet cold drink before a meal.
- Listen to your body. If you feel you have eaten enough, stop eating immediately and keep the leftovers for later.
- Always eat the salad first before you have the rest of the food.
Restricting the excessive intake of carbohydrates
- Drink diet cool drink instead of sweetened cool drink or fruit juices.
- Use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar.
- Be careful of excessive use as this can cause bloating, gas and diarrhoea.
Reducing fat in the diet
- Use low-fat margarine, low-fat salad dressing or low-fat mayonnaise.
- Avoid full-cream milk and full-cream cheese.
- Use Spray and Cook or fat-free pans for preparing (cooking).
- Cut off all visible fat before food preparation. Also, remove the skin of poultry before cooking.
- Instead of chocolate, eat sweets that contain sugar e.g. hard sweets/suckers or sweets made of gelatine.
- Use low-fat condensed milk instead of full-cream condensed milk, low-fat ice cream instead of ordinary ice cream.
- All the negligible calorie ‘saves’ add up. Small changes can have a big impact and lead to lasting weight loss.
- Try to use only products with less than 3 g fat per 100 g food portion (see food labels on food items).
Increase daily activity
- Develop a daily exercise programme.
- Walk more, park your car further away from your destination, climb stairs, walk instead of going by car, if possible.
- Learn to participate in physical activities such as cycling, swimming, tennis, etc.
- Recommended activity: Five times per week for 30 minutes.
- Do not skip meals.
- Guard against thinking of food all day long
Increase the daily fibre intake
- Opt for whole-wheat bread or biscuits instead of white-, refined bread or biscuits.
- Choose cereals rich in fibre such as oats. All-Bran or Weetbix instead of refined cereal such as cornflakes.
- Fresh fruit rather than fruit juice.
- Fresh, raw vegetables.
- Bran can be added to the diet in the following manner.
- Replace half your mince with soya or lentils.
- Thicken sauces, soups or stews with bran.
- Add one teaspoon of bran to your porridge.
- Get a muffin recipe that has bran as one of the ingredients.