To celebrate the launch of our new Health Swap app, over the coming weeks we will be posting blogs all about nutrition. This second blog will go over some top tips for eating a healthy and balanced diet.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important for maintaining a healthy weight, and it will give you more energy to take part in your favourite activities and avoid long term health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
There are many ways to support a person with Down’s syndrome to eat a healthier diet. People with Down’s syndrome can find it hard to think about long-term consequences, so they may not understand the importance of making healthy choices about their diet. People with Down’s syndrome often like routine and can struggle with large changes, so making small changes to a person’s daily routine regularly will improve their long term eating habits.
Planning your meals ahead of time can be a great way to help a person make more positive choice about their nutrition. Life can get busy for everyone, which can make healthy eating hard, especially when it is so simply to get a take-away or microwave meal. However, forward planning when you do your shopping, or bulk cooking, ensures you have food ready to go when you get in. When we are hungry, we are more likely to reach for sugary foods, if we already have food ready to go then this will remove the temptation.
Most people eat the same meals week in week out, so one simple way to make your meals healthier is to swap out some of the ingredients for healthier alternatives. For example; swapping spaghetti for butternut squash spaghetti, swapping new potatoes for sweet potatoes, swapping chips for kale chips or parsnip chips, or trying a bread-less burger. Making small changes to your favourite meals is a good way to start making positive changes to your meals, and it is less daunting for people with Down’s syndrome who might struggle with wholesale changes.
A fun way to get more fruit and vegetables on board, especially for children, is to try and eat a rainbow. Eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables ensures that we are getting all the vitamins and minerals we need to help our body function optimally. Eating one from each colour of the rainbow also ensure that we are eating enough, as many don’t hit their 5 a day minimum. Why not try red peppers, orange carrots, yellow sweetcorn, green spinach, blueberries and beetroot.