Healthy diet for the whole family: the importance of eating together
Aiming for a healthy and balanced diet must be a priority for the whole family, especially during the time of seasonal infections. But how difficult it is to get everyone to agree at the table! One family member has to be more careful and keep his cholesterol values under control, another often skips lunch or eats a sandwich in a hurry to reconcile work and time for the family, children are inevitably attracted to junk food, they hate soups or anything that has the semblance of presenting itself as a healthy dish. A table laid out in such a way as to bring together all the members of the family seems like a mirage. Still, we managed to scrape by some useful tips for a healthy diet for the whole family.
It is very important that the whole family, as far as possible, consume at least one meal together during the day. Normally this meal is dinner. It would be ideal, from a very young age, to accustom children to eat the same foods as their parents. Even during weaning, the infant’s diet should reflect that of the parents in variety. Of course, if a pattern is followed by traditional baby food, you can cook the foods differently, but ideally they should be the same. In this way, the little one immediately gets used to different flavors and to the fact that at the table you eat the same food all together.
Since a good example is fundamental, parents (and any older siblings) must also consume the same foods: if the child notices that each person at the table eats something different from the other diners, he or she will feel legitimated. Another essential thing to ensure a good education at the table is the variety in the food proposal. Parents should make the effort to bring to the table different protein sources, seasonal vegetables and cereals even different from just wheat and its derivatives such as bread and pasta. With a complete Mediterranean diet, the needs of the whole family are covered with a single menu.
The role of nutrition in family planning
Obesity and overweight are risk factors for infertility while a balanced diet can improve the chances of conception: diet has its importance for the couple who is looking for a child. Without hoping for “miraculous elixirs”, couples who wish to expand their family can count on good allies: the foods we put on the table. A balanced diet can indeed do a lot to increase the chances of conception, but it must be considered in the set of lifestyles and healthy eating habits for the well-being of men and women.
In the last 10 to 20 years, interest in the correlation between eating habits and infertility has increased. Observational studies both in the field of spontaneous fertility and in medically assisted procreation are able to provide some interesting data for couples who are looking for a child.
Diet has an indirect effect on fertility; body weight has an influence that must be taken into account, in particular with respect to female fertility. Moreover, a 5-10% reduction in body weight in view of a pregnancy search significantly improves the outcome and chances of conception. The definition of normal weight is based on the measurement of the body mass index (BMI): subjects with BMI greater than 18.5 and less than 24.9 are considered “normal weight”. This index is calculated by dividing the weight expressed in kg by the height expressed in meters squared. In conditions of overweight or obesity, when the ‘BMI is greater than 25, there is often an impairment of ovulatory function, ie the production of a mature oocyte every month.
Excessive thinness is equally disadvantageous. On the other hand, extremely underweight patients due to an eating disorder or due to intense physical activity may encounter cycle disturbances up to amenorrhea, condition that hinder the productive function. Also, intense physical activity, it must be remembered, modifies the hormonal structure in an unfavorable way to conception.
It is difficult to establish the properties of individual foods in a functional way, in addition, eating habits vary widely geographically. However, the data relating to the importance of vitamin supplementation, with particular reference to folic acid, are solid: intake in the preconception phase reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus. The World Health Organization recommends 400 micrograms of folic acid per day; it has also been observed a role of this micronutrient in helping to improve the probabilities of conception both through spontaneous research and through medically assisted procreation.
Scientific data also focuses on food patterns: the Mediterranean diet, albeit with different results, is considered a good scheme because favoring wholemeal flours, fruit, vegetables, proteins and “good” fatty acids, improve female and male fertility.
To conclude, what would be a perfect nutrition plan for a couple during family planning period? There is no real diet to get pregnant, but there are good eating habits to maintain over time that can make a contribution. A typical day for the couple who wants to increase their chances of conception should be marked by the following meals:
- whole white yogurt with oat flakes and raisins
- toasted wholemeal bread with 100% almond cream
- tea or coffee
- wholemeal spaghetti topped with fresh cheese and sage
- beets with oil and lemon
- fresh fruit salad
- a few squares of 70% dark chocolate
- fennel and orange salad with sunflower seeds
- pumpkin and lentil soup with rye bread croutons