Staying healthy is something that is really important to me. However I am not a big fan of dieting. In fact I think I have never lasted longer on a diet than 48 hours – my love of carbs and chocolate simply overtakes any wish that I have to reduce my waistline. And anyone that knows me realises that my sweet tooth rules our home and while I would describe our overall diet as healthy there are certainly indulgences along the way.

While I was an Au Pair in America I gained 10 kilos (approximately 22 pounds). Often people joke about going to the USA and extending their waistline and this was certainly true for me. While my host family and children had a healthy lifestyle the constant availability of easy indulgences such as dunkin donuts made it hard to resist gaining weight.

However almost 8 years on (and minus the 10 kilos acquired in the US) being pregnant with our first child – health has certainly become more important to me. Although I have to admit that my biggest craving for the first 12 weeks was coco pops which I would happily indulge on three times a day! However, now that I am over the first trimester I try to visualise the little fella inside of me sharing my dinners and I have become a lot more aware of what I am eating!

On that note – dinner is always an important part of our daily routine. My husband and I always have dinner together and make a point out of enjoying every meal. I guess we are a ‘typical’ kiwi family in the sense that I do most of (all of) our cooking. That means planning our meals, doing most of the preparation and all of the cooking.

And while I love to blame my husband for his lack of cooking – I think his lack of cooking is more driven by my love of cooking. For me, coming home at the end of a long day, drinking a glass of wine (well not anymore) and preparing a delicious meal is relaxing. I suspect this may change with the demands of breastfeeding and a toddler tugging at my jeans down the track!

Anyway I thought I would summarise my top 5 tips for staying healthy below:

  1. Plan your meals in advance: When you go to the supermarket you need to know how many dinners you are planning for the next period to determine what to buy! This will also reduce impulse buying throughout the week and reduce the number of takeaways!
  2. Buy seasonal: Buying seasonal vegetables and fruit will enable you to reduce your food bill and also ensure that your family is eating healthy.
  3. Cook your meals from scratch: Don’t buy pre-packaged meals. Where possible try to cook your food from scratch and buy organic food. Remember it doesn’t have to be complicated – some of the tastiest meals can be prepared in 30 minutes!
  4. Packed lunches: Cook enough food to enable you and your partner to have lunch. Again this will reduce your food bill and ensure that you both eat a healthy lunch rather than a quick fix from the local dairy.
  5. Be kind to yourself:  Cut yourself some slack! If you cook meals 6 nights out of 7 and decide to have a naughty takeaway – indulge! Humans are not wired to be 100 % perfect and the occasional takeaway may not be good for your waistline – but it can certainly provide some mental sanity!

Have a great week all!

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Cecilia Robinson, founder of My Food Bag, and Au Pair Link, is one of New Zealand's most successful female CEOs. Cecilia's business awards include: 'Her Business Best New Business award' in 2009, 'Businesswoman of the Year 2012’, ‘Best SME 2012’ and 'Supreme Winner of the Woman of Influence Programme' in 2017.

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Great article – fun and informative at the same time!

Rochelle Gribble

Thanks Ian! Glad you enjoyed the article! 


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