Launching ‘Together Counts’ - a new online resource that enables families to set goals and offers meal suggestions, lunchbox ideas and physical activity tips this week, O’Neill said Australians need to make healthier choices.
“Getting the ‘balancing act’ right can be a challenge,” says the mother of two young boys.
“I truly believe the concept of energy balance is a simple way to educate people about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“It isn’t just about eating the ‘right’ food; it’s also about being active every day – it’s the energy ‘in’ versus energy ‘out’ equation,” says Susie.
“I try to ensure that as a family we eat a balanced diet – so lots of vegies, fruit, good carbohydrates (such as wholegrains and cereals) and some protein like lean meat, chicken or fish.
"But we’re like any family – we have our days where we treat ourselves! But we do this knowing we’ll make up for it through physical activity or our next food choices.”
O’Neill says now is the perfect time of year to assess the family diet and make sure the balance is right.
“It’s back to school and work time for many, so it’s a great time to form new habits and routines and to make a positive step towards living a healthy active lifestyle."
Susie’s top tips for busy mums and dads for achieving a healthy balance:
1.Try cooking together as a family. You have to do it regardless- why not make it a bonding and learning experience for your kids? It will give your kids the chance to learn some life skills, and to develop a passion for healthy foods.
2. Put some time aside each week to exercise as a family. Exercise can be as simple as taking the dog for a walk after dinner, or going for a bike ride on a Saturday morning.
3. Agree on a team sport and take it up as a family. This will guarantee your kids weekly exercise at games and training, and there are many ways for parents to get involved from coaching to even playing yourself.
4. Housework is a fantastic form of exercise! Research has shown that 25 minutes of housework, or 18 minutes of gardening will burn 100 calories apiece.
5. Write out a shopping list before buying your groceries. By planning your meals out for the week and buying only the necessary ingredients, it’s easy to stick to a nice healthy diet, avoid eating out mid-week.