Positive steps are being taken throughout New Zealand to change the landscape of the average diet which is consumed. The Chief Medical Officer has the responsibility of overseeing the health of the nation and implementing plans for its welfare. To do this, officials in this capacity must rely on data collected from experts and research.

Identifying the Problems

When it comes to overseeing dietary needs, being able to identify potential problems has to be at the top of the list, because unhealthy eating choices have given rise to many health problems. The four main diet-related health concerns which New Zealand is struggling with, are similar to those in different parts of the world including:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity

The government’s action to combat these is through a series of educational releases to help create awareness and offer advice for the type of dietary changes which will need to take place.

Becoming Pro Active

There are a lot of meal planners for families in New Zealand who have already begun to take their own personal initiative when it comes to dietary change. Their first approach to do this was to take a look back at the past, to determine what changes had to be made, not only in the choice of food, but in the way it was prepared, and then, what healthy steps could be taken to replace these.

• Meat: A favourite of New Zealanders was lamb and still is. Back in the 1950s, the cuts of meats were extra fatty because of the importance of preservation of the meat in the freezing industry. Livestock was fed vast amounts of fat which carried through the butchering process, to the preparation, to the plates. Steaks were cooked to the point where none of the nutrients was left to be enjoyed because of the fear of disease being present in uncooked meats.

• Veggies: It was not unusual for vegetables to be cooked along with the meat for hours at a time, then kept warm till serving time. This left nothing of the value in the veggies, but served the palate well, as this was the type of meals which people thrived on. It was the way they had been raised.

• No regard was given to fish as being an essential addition to the diet. Its value was not recognised, and it was considered to be the food fare of those who didn’t have much money for anything else.

The Changes

Just the recognition of these three important factors will make a big and positive change in the diet of the New Zealander.

  • Replacing fatty meats with lean ones is usually the first start. Nothing wrong with enjoying lamb as long as lean cuts are chosen, then trimmed before cooking. Also, reducing the number of times per week which it is served.
  • Veggies are no longer cooked to death daily. Modern day New Zealand cooks are choosing a wider variety of veggies and are using other methods of cooking such as steaming.
  • Fish: Fish of different types are now being added to the diet and prepared in healthy ways. No longer perceived as a poor man’s dish.

Just these changes alone are going to make a big difference, then, with new ones added as well, the dietary change throughout the country will be a positive and welcome one.