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Make healthier food choices for a balanced lifestyle

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Paramedics at ER24 Belville share their tips. 

Eating healthy is not only for those who need to lose weight – everyone should lead a balanced lifestyle. With February being National Healthy Lifestyle Awareness Month, ER24 is encouraging everyone to eat wisely. Ironically the paramedics themselves admit to having to eat junk food at times because of the irregular hours they are required to work.

Because of the demanding nature of the job, paramedics need to be fit and live a healthy lifestyle, Monard Stockigt a paramedic from ER24 Belville, says paramedics don’t know when the next call might be, so they often go to the next best take away shop to order their food. During Healthy Lifestyle awareness month, Stockigt is encouraging them to make smarter food choices.

 “Plan your meals and prepack your food. Balance your lifestyle, health and food.” – Monard Stockigt

Because many aspects of the job are quite physical, paramedics need to pay special attention to their fitness. Keenan Poole, a paramedic from ER24 Belville, started martial arts four years ago and now competes in the sport.

“Martial arts helps with confidence and fitness. It helps to keep you calm.” – Keenan Poole

Irene Labuschagne, principal dietitian at the Nutrition Information Centre of the University of Stellenbosch, explains that you can still make healthy food choices when ordering at a restaurant or when ordering take aways.

“If you’re watching what you eat, then order the thin-crusted pizza and ask for half the cheese with more vegetable toppings. Remember, all the yummy toppings like pepperoni, salami, bacon and extra cheese mean you’ll pile on the energy (kilojoules) and fat. Go for onions, chillies, mushrooms, tuna, sardines, anchovies, peppers, spinach, roasted vegetables, olives, chicken, tomato and pineapple, banana instead. You could also share a pizza and salad, as this will reduce the energy density of the meal. If pasta tempts your tastebuds, order wholewheat (where available) with a tomato-based sauce and vegetables. Avoid cream or butter-based sauces.”

Did you know?

  1. Many of the spices associated with Indian cuisine have significant health benefits. Cumin and mustard seeds are believed to aid digestion, while coriander has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce cholesterol.
  2. Chilli is great for your overall health and has been linked to pain relief, weight loss and even increased cardiovascular health.
  3.  Garlic is versatile and has a number of health benefits, too – its anti-oxidant properties help reduce cholesterol, promote a healthy immune system function, lower blood pressure and strengthen the body’s defenses.
  4. Sushi is also a healthy choice because fatty fish contains good omega-3 fats and there’s no frying involved in the preparation. Although pieces wrapped in layers of tuna and avocado may be higher in fat than others, they still measure up well against many other fast-food choices. Tuna or cucumber maki rolls are even lower in kilojoules and fat. You can always spice things up with a touch of fat- and sodium-free wasabi, and make sure you ask for low-sodium soy sauce.

So during the month of February keep these little snippets in mind as you start building a healthier lifestyle!

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