Although healthy eating is a common topic of discussion, it can be hard to know what to believe amid a never-ending stream of fad diets and misinformation.
Mudgee Community Health is coming to the rescue with a free program which will help Mid-Western Region residents to make positive changes to their lifestyle.
Over eight weekly sessions, the Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyle (HEAL) program will help people to learn about healthy eating and be more active.
Primary Health Care Nurse Unit Manager (NUM) Margo Mackenzie said although the program was designed for people who are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, is also suitable for people who want to manage their weight, blood pressure or a metabolic condition as well as people already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
“This is not a diet but a lifestyle modification,” Ms Mackenzie said. “We will be teaching participants the basic principles that they can continue through life.”
Funded through Medicate Local, HEAL is based on an accredited Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) program which has been effective in other health districts.
The two-hour sessions begin with a gentle, personalised exercise program, tailored to the participants’ abilities, and continue with an hour of education on nutrition.
As well as learning to identify and prepare healthy foods, the participants will learn how to understand food labels to make the healthiest possible choice, and discuss food shopping on a budget and meal planning.
Dietitian Lauren Bond said participants would also learn about Australia’s “food culture” and how it affects what and how we eat.
The program is based on the Australian dietary guidelines, which recommend a varied diet which includes foods from all major food groups.
The HEAL program will begin on February 2 at the Wellness Centre, Mudgee Health Service. Classes will be held each Tuesday from 8.30am to 10.30am.
Although the program is free, participants must be willing to commit to complete the eight-week course, as enrolment numbers are limited.
To book a place in the HEAL program, phone Lauren or Margo on 6378 6236.
Australian dietary guidelines recommend:
- Be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs;
- Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods every day, including plenty of vegetables of different types and colours, fruit, whole grain and high fibre grains and cereals; lean meats, poultry, fish eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds and legumes; milk, yoghurt of cheese (mostly reduced fats) and drink plenty of water;
- Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.