15 Fun Ways to Practice Healthy Eating Habits with Your Family

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September is Obesity Awareness Month! It’s time to introduce healthy eating habits to your family and take steps towards reducing obesity rates at home. But how will you practice healthy eating habits with your family in a helpful, happy, and consistent way?

Your unhealthy habits can be hard to break, especially if you’re alone in your nutrition journey. While there are many amazing nutrition services out there for your specific needs, it’s important to loop your family into your journey so that you all work together for a healthier home.

Bad habits can be hard to break alone, and happy and consistent habits start with a supportive home environment. Here are 15 helpful ways to practice healthy eating habits with your family to last you all a lifetime.

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1. Cook together

How are healthy eating habits developed nowadays? Nutrition wellness practices begin right in your home kitchen. One important way to develop healthy eating habits for kids and adults is to welcome them into the kitchen and cook together often.

Why? If you encourage family members to cook with you, then they will feel directly involved in the food-making process. They’ll develop a sense of responsibility towards what they put into their bodies, and can learn to practice that mindfulness towards food throughout their lives.

2. Eat together

This tip follows the same mindset as the previous one. To instill a healthful mindset towards food, you have to cook together often, and eat together often too. With regular weeknight dinners or weekend family meals, you practice healthy eating for the whole family and develop a positive relationship with food, embarking on a wellness journey together as a team.

3. Test new recipes together

Another easy way to improve your family’s eating habits? Try testing new dishes together. Your relatives, especially kids, can easily get bored of the same old meals for breakfast, lunch, snacktime, and dinner. Explore different cuisines and try out new recipes to keep things exciting in your household.

4. Keep healthy snacks in the house

If you want to help your family eat better, then you have to be consistent with your food intake too. That means being mindful of the food you’re eating whether it’s during a proper meal or just a simple afternoon snack.

Keep sliced fruits, cooked veggies, nuts, and other snackable items in stock, and make sure they’re easily accessible too. If your potato chips are too tempting to throw away, store them in the highest shelf of your snack cupboard. This will help everyone in the household work towards healthier practices, even outside of mealtime.

5. Portion meals wisely

Each member of the family will have their own healthy weight goals and needs. To instill good habits that last for life, make sure to portion meals wisely, especially when you eat together at the dining table.

Overeating during family meals can make a lot of people overweight, without them even realizing it. At the same time, undereating deprives people of the nutrition they need on a daily basis. Portions truly depend on individual goals and needs, so make sure to talk as a family to know what each member needs for their goals in life.

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6. Cut down on the fast food

Here’s something to remember this nutrition month: too much of one thing can be really bad for your health. Many families depend on the same fast food meals for quick and easy eating, especially on busy weeknights. But a lot of child and adult obesity can be caused by eating too much fast food on a day-to-day basis.

If your home is used to fast food on the daily, then take slow steps to reduce your fast food intake. Try starting with one less takeout dinner this week, and then two less for next week. It’ll take some time, but by cutting down on unhealthy meals, you’re also making space for better dishes for the whole family.

7. Stay active as a family

The journey to reduce obesity rates takes lots of time and effort. Food and exercise both play key roles in cutting down obesity prevalence, but it’s much easier to eat than it is to exercise, right?

Get help from your household by staying active as a whole family. Exercise together through play, chores, or leisurely strolls outdoors. Not only will this bolster your good food habits, but it’ll also keep sickness at bay, which is very important when combating COVID-19 as a family.

8. Do healthy food swaps

Over time, you’ll find it easier to encourage loved ones to eat healthier meals. Once you make headway with that gradual change, start swapping out your food for healthier and better options.

See what works for them first. Are they okay with swapping potato chips for veggie chips? How about fried chicken with roast chicken? Once you see them preferring the healthier option, swap it in. Out with the old, and in with the new.

9. Read food nutrition labels

Processed food items are oftentimes the sneakiest perpetrators of obesity prevalence. Many packaged snacks, some of which are considered “healthy,” are often the leading causes of obesity among adults and kids.

Why? It’s because these items usually go through a lot to make it to grocery shelves. To stay edible, they need lots of added sugars, salt, and preservatives, which can be bad for you in large quantities. This is why reading food nutrition labels is important – you gain a better understanding of what’s going into your body when you read labels carefully.

10. Grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs

Did the COVID-19 pandemic turn you into a plant parent? Then here’s a tip for you: grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs at home to pass good food habits to your loved ones. Not only is planting a good pastime during the pandemic, but it also teaches your loved ones to value the food they eat. They grew it themselves, after all.

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11. Go meatless (at least) once a week

Going meatless for a meal at least once a week is a lot easier than you may think. It’s not just salads, fruits, and greens; your meatless meals can include ingredients like eggs, fish, pasta, rice, and legumes too.

You can even experiment with meat substitutes like tofu, seitan, or tempeh. By creating space for a meatless meal at least once a week, you’ll gradually introduce more fun options for healthful food choices in your household.

12. Drink lots of water

Did you drink water yet today? If you haven’t, then go drink a glass, quick! Water is one of the most essential parts of a healthy lifestyle. If your relatives aren’t in the habit of drinking water regularly, then try encouraging them by gifting them with a cute tumbler they can use at home or on the go.

13. Change habits gradually

How are healthy eating habits developed? With time, of course. It’s perfectly okay to take things slow and gradually change your habits. If you rush into this process, then you won’t equip your home with practices that last a lifetime. Take this development slowly; over time you’ll reap the benefits of healthy eating habits with your loved ones.

14. Make mistakes and have fun with it

Don’t beat yourselves up if you make “mistakes” in this process. Let’s say that everyone in the house had a busy day, and no one had time to cook a meal for dinner. It’s not the end of the world if you find yourselves needing to order takeout for just one night.

This is how healthy eating habits are developed – with time and patience. Happy and consistent habits start with a supportive family environment, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and have fun with food along the way.

15. Consult your doctor

This Obesity Awareness Month, it’s important to access good medical services to support your family’s journey towards a better life. Your doctor can teach you more about obesity prevalence, especially among Filipino adults, and provide you with new ways to integrate nutrition into your daily lives.

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The benefits of healthy eating habits are endless, and these good practices will last your loved ones a lifetime. This month, jumpstart your family’s journey towards a more healthful life. If ever you need help, set an appointment with the health experts at Maayo Well Cebu today.

A Nutritionist’s 7-Tip Guide to Maintain Healthy Body Weight

It’s easy nowadays to forget to mind your diet, especially when you’re staying most of the time at home. So the million dollar question is: how can you maintain an ideal body weight while still keeping a positive relationship with food?

September is Obesity Awareness Month and now is the time to hit your goal of maintaining an ideal body weight.

If you’re looking for suggestions on how to get started, then check out Maayo Well’s Nutrition Services’ tips on how to achieve a healthy body weight.

1. Know your Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI)Photo courtesy of Mojzagrebinfo via Pixabay

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It’s one of the most utilized metrics in health to determine if a person is underweight, has a healthy body weight, or is obese. High BMI may generally provide you an overview of possible related health conditions such as diabetes, health problems, and stroke.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests using this formula to get your BMI:

weight (kg) / [height (m)]2

You can also use the CDC’s BMI Calculator to cross-check if your computation is right.

Generally, a BMI of less than 18.5 means that you’re underweight, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 means it’s normal, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight, and a BMI of 30 or greater indicates obesity.

2. Consult expert nutritionists regarding your BMI

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If you’re unhappy about your BMI, now is the time to reach out to expert nutrition services. Your dietician should be able to help you achieve a healthy body weight so you can avoid further complications in your health.

The assistance of a health expert is recommended because doing something drastic such as suddenly cutting your calorie intake could result in more negative effects to your body. Remember that health is wealth and investing in it is a must.

3. Eat meals on time

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Filipinos love to eat, especially for merienda. Who doesn’t want to eat a hearty meal during breaks while working at home? It’s easy to forget that you already ate half the tub of cookies sitting on your desk while focused on a project.

One good technique to control your body weight is to be consistent with your daily food intake. Scheduling and planning your meal throughout the day keeps you from having unnecessary snacks that you don’t notice have a large impact on your body weight.

Monitoring the frequency of your meals and creating a meal plan to control your food intake will get you better results on your weight loss journey.

4. Ensure the you hit all essential food groups

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Be sure to track the kinds of food that you’re eating to maintain a healthy body weight.

A balanced healthy plate has proportions of different sources of carbohydrates, protein, and fats will take you a long way.

Carbohydrates provide energy to your body so you can function properly throughout the day. Carbohydrates have a bad reputation because people think that it is the main culprit to being overweight. However, it is an important nutrient that your body needs in order for your metabolism to work efficiently.

Another source of energy are fats that help different building blocks in your body. Finally, protein is a must if you incorporate exercise because it helps muscle repair that eventually results in it becoming stronger.

5. Lessen sweets and alcohol

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Self-care is indeed important. People find refuge in food due to isolation. For most people, sweets and alcohol become their comfort food.

There are researches that reveal that sugar dependence is possible because sweet food releases opioids and dopamine that causes cravings. The same thing can be said with alcohol. This means that the more you eat sweets, the more difficult it is to give it up, thereby keeping you from getting your ideal body weight.

If sweets are important to you, consider replacing that chocolate bar with fruits such as mangoes and apples. These are healthier options that positively affect your body. Meanwhile, totally giving up alcohol might be difficult for some so find a way to control or monitor your intake.

Too much of everything is detrimental to your health. Again, if you’re finding it difficult to control your diet, there are always medical services that you can call who will help you take baby steps towards becoming a healthy individual.

6. Always drink water to hydrate

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Water is essential to keep your body hydrated especially in draining work-at-home setups.

If you tend to forget to get yourself some water, it’s a good idea to purchase a pitcher that you can bring to your workstation at home so you always have ready access to water. Some people don’t drink enough water simply because they are too lazy to get up and make the trip to the fridge.

Another good tip is to install a water reminder app on your phone. These apps will notify you throughout the day when it’s time to drink water again. You can also check and configure the frequency of the alarm that will best suit your needs.

7. Do some simple exercises

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Performing simple exercises at home will speed up your weight loss goals. Several gyms are closed throughout the country but it’s not a problem since there are quick exercise routines you can do at home that will help you alleviate body pain while burning calories.

It’s a good idea to set at least half an hour every day to do some stretches to keep your joints and limbs activated especially when you are slumped on your office chair all day. These atomic habits have a large impact on your overall health so don’t underestimate the power of jumping jacks or jogging in place.

Following these seven health suggestions will get you started in your weight loss journey. Achieving a healthy body weight takes time and investment so trust the process and always remember that consistency is key.

To step up your weight loss journey, consult and set an appointment today with your nutritionist so you can have access to an effective meal plan.

Starting Ber Months Healthier: How to Avoid Obesity in Filipino Adults

For Filipinos, September or the first month of the Ber months is the start of Christmas. With the holiday season starting, people tend to kickstart the festive season by treating themselves with gifts and of course, food.

But September isn’t just the start of the Christmas countdown. The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) calendar shares that the first week of September is also Obesity Prevention Awareness Week.

If you want to start living healthy or preventing any unnecessary gains for the holiday season, here are a few tips from MaayoWell’s Nutrition Services to help you out:

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Why care about obesity?

The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions in movement and gatherings have contributed to the increase of obesity in older adults who are working from home and have limited outdoor activities. But even before the pandemic, one health report found that in the Philippines, a “very rapid growth” in adult obesity was seen between 1995 and 2015, 5:4% in men and 3.7% in women.

And like all things, prevention is better than cure. Knowing how to treat obesity in adults is a good way to prevent its consequences. These include hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and breathing problems, many types of cancers, mental health conditions, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, even death.

The promotion of nutrition and wellness starts at home. If adults are knowledgeable on what causes obesity in adults and how to prevent obesity in adults, it will be easier for them to impart practical wisdom to their children on how to stay fit, physically active, and being mindful of what foods to consume, and how much of those should be eaten in one meal.

How to know if you are overweight?

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When it comes to assessing if you are underweight, healthy, overweight, or obese, computing your Body Mass Index (BMI) is one quick way to determine if you’re obese or not.

To get your BMI, the simple formula is to divide your weight (kg) by height (cm) squared.

If this is a mouthful, you can always go online and plug in your numbers in online BMI calculators.

BMIWeight Status
Below 18.5Underweight
18.5 – 24.9Normal
25.0-29.9Overweight
30.0 and AboveObese

Aside from this technique, there are other options you can also do to gauge if you are obese or not. Let’s see you are in the overweight or obese section; what should you do to go back to the normal range?

How to Prevent Obesity in Adults

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Physical activities and healthy food choices are two factors that help in obesity prevention. Other recommendations for adults to achieve a healthy weight are as follows:

  • Do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. These include swimming, cycling, and walking. If you prefer staying indoors, you can do jumping jacks, jump rope, burpees, running in place, and squat jumps. You can also follow high-intensity interval training (HIIT) videos online for variations in your exercise routine.
  • You can also do 60 to 90 minutes of moderate to intense physical activities for 3 to 4 days a week. These include gardening, doing laundry by hand, and other household chores that involve moderate to intense movements.
  • Strive to include a physical activity into your day such as a 10- to 15-minute walk in the morning before you start working or during your break at work.
  • Use a smaller plate to help you rescue the portion sizes of the food you consume in a meal. Thus, it is easier for you to achieve success in your obesity prevention program.
  • Lessen, or better, avoid eating foods high in “energy density,” or those packed with calories in small amounts. These include cheeseburgers, fried crisps, butter, confectionery, mayonnaise, soda, donuts, pizza, ice cream, and pie.
  • To eat more and consume fewer calories, it is better to eat low-calorie foods such as grilled lean white meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, low-fat dressing, berries, and Greek yogurt.
  • Opt for whole-grain foods with high dietary fiber such as whole wheat bread, wholegrain oats, brown rice, and black rice instead of highly processed foods. The latter is often made with refined sugars, flour, saturated fat, and high-fructose corn syrup. Always go for food that has less salt, less sugar, less fat, and fewer carbs.
  • Consume five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables in a day. Always go for fresh fruits and vegetables if you can.
  • Additionally, you can also go for canned fruits and canned vegetables if they are available. Older adults who have difficulty chewing can always juice your fruits and vegetables for easier consumption and digestion.
  • When buying packed food items, check the label and learn how to read and understand food nutrition labels. This will help you to be mindful of the portions you eat.
  • Of course, if you are having difficulty in understanding food portions and calorie computation, Maayo Well provides nutritional services that can help you promote your health through nutrition assessment and patient-focused dietary care for overall wellness and prevent obesity.
  • Reducing your daily stress is one good way to prevent obesity. Stress can result in stress eating and intense cravings for high-calorie foods. Eating these can contribute to the development of obesity.

Everyone is beautiful no matter the size. However, taking care of your body is important if you want to live long and healthy. And knowing how to manage your weight is a great way to prevent yourself from acquiring diseases.

So follow these tips on how to avoid obesity in adults to kickstart your obesity prevention program and ready your healthy body for the upcoming holidays.

Aside from nutritional services, Maayo Well offers other top of the line medical services for all ages for reasonable prices to help you and your family be well, live well, and stay well. Start your journey towards a healthier life today.

If you need help in this area or you are facing other health issues, set an appointment now at The Hospital at Maayo.

Obesity in the Philippines: Why Should it Matter to You

What may look like a cosmetic or appearance issue, maybe something a lot more complex.

Obesity is a growing global issue. According to recent studies, around 39% of people across the world – and the Philippines is no exception to this.

This Obesity Awareness Month, let our professional nutritionists give you the facts and debunk the myths of obesity in the Philippines that have progressed over the years.

Fact #1: The Philippines has a growing obesity rate

The Philippines has a growing obesity ratePhoto courtesy of i yunmai via Unsplash

Unfortunately, the country has contributed to the world’s rising cases of the disease. The World Obesity Federation has given the Philippines an obesity risk score of 6/10 or moderate risk. This is because there has been a “very rapid growth” in adult obesity cases between 1995 and 2015.

In Metro Manila alone, overweight and obesity are the top nutrition concerns in eight cities. 9.6% of adults in the region are obese, while 28.8% are overweight.

To help fight obesity, the nutritionists at Maayo Well are ready to provide the best wellness practices for anyone struggling with chronic disease.

Fact #2: Obesity healthcare can be expensive

Obesity healthcare can be expensivePhoto courtesy of Jp Valery via Unsplash

A factor that may have contributed to the rise of obesity in the Philippines is the costly medical interventions to help fight off the condition.

According to WOF, healthcare costs in the country reached $555.8 million in 2016, including the costs of severe complications brought by obesity like cardiovascular diseases and liver diseases.

Access to quality healthcare to help manage chronic conditions like obesity can be quite a challenge. A study has shown that more than 60 countries have inadequate services to address obesity.

Fact #3: Obesity is often misunderstood

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In the Philippines, where society incredibly values physical appearance, obesity is often thought of as “being overweight” and having the lack of self-discipline to “eat less and move more.”

Many in the country don’t think that obesity is a chronic disease that impairs one’s normal bodily functions. A recent health study showed that 40% who experience obesity suffer from judgment and humiliation, thus hindering themselves from seeking the medical care they need.

Obesity is also often mistaken as overweight, too. But that’s not entirely the case. Both obesity and overweight mean one has excess body fat, but the diagnosis will depend on the Body Mass Index (BMI). If one’s BMI is between 25.0 to 29.9, they are overweight; but if it reaches 30.0 and above, a person is considered obese.

Myth: The love of carbs contribute to obesity

The love of carbs contribute to obesityPhoto courtesy of Jonathan Borba via Unsplash

In a recent study released by UNICEF, the Philippines see an increasing problem with being overweight and obese because of “poor diets, inadequate nutrition, and failing food systems”, especially for children.

Overweight and obese children are likely to enter adulthood with these conditions and become more prone no non-communicable diseases.

Filipinos are known to be big fans of carbohydrates like rice, bread, pancit, kakanin like bibingka and biko, and potato-based snacks like french fries, mashed potatoes, and chips. Because of this, most tend to eat more carbs than what’s recommended. In managing obesity, a balanced diet between protein, complex carbs, and leafy vegetables and fruit is needed.

Myth: Obesity can be genetic… but not the sole cause

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While there is proof that a person’s genes contribute to weight gain and obesity, it cannot be solely blamed for acquiring this chronic disease.

If one has a family history of obesity and has unhealthy habits, his or her lifestyle may greatly contribute to acquiring obesity.

An unbalanced diet comes as a great contribution as well. Over the past few decades, processed foods have become widely available. These, however, provide low nutrition value and are heaping with calories. While these food items fill one’s stomach, the body gains more fat rather than the needed nutrition.

Fact #4: Fighting obesity begins with you

Overcoming obesity requires a lot from the patient – both physically and mentally. It takes discipline, patience, and determination to overcome obesity and fight the misconceptions associated with the disease.

Engage in a Healthy Diet

Engage in a Healthy DietPhoto courtesy of @shawnanggg via Unsplash

Preventing any chronic condition begins with a balanced diet. It’s important to introduce a healthy diet and as much as possible, reduce consumption of unhealthy food items to children even at such a young age to help incorporate it as they grow older.

This goes for the teens and adults as well, a balanced diet usually includes:

  • 2 to 3 cups of vegetables
  • 1 ½ cups of fruits
  • 5 to 8 ounces of grains
  • 5 to 6 ½ ounces of protein foods

Get Physical

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Keep your body physically fit and help burn those excess calories and fats from your body with a good amount of exercise. John Hopkins recommends having an average of 60 to 90 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity weekly to help prevent or manage obesity.

Consult a Professional or Doctor

Obesity is a condition you cannot manage blindly. In fighting off this condition, you would need a balanced diet that’s properly proportionate to your weight and BMI. You would also need a physical exercise program depending on your ability.

For those who are obese, brisk walking is already considered intense, so you should never force someone into those general workouts as it may cause more harm than good.

In order to find the diet and exercise that matches your condition and needs, it’s important to consult a nutritionist and a dietician so they could come up with the right formula based on your family history, medical history, and current physical condition.

Take care of your health and fight obesity in the Philippines. If you’re experiencing issues with your physical condition, book an appointment immediately with our doctors at Maayo Well.