MOTHER of seven Debbie Ponga was shocked to realise just how many hidden nasties, like sugar and salt, were in the food she was buying for her children.
But when she sat in a dietician’s office to get some tips on food and behavioural problems, she noticed a poster on the wall that changed her life.
“It had the words ‘Go4Fun’ and a phone number to ring, so that’s exactly what I did.”
The Nowra mum signed up seven-year-old Kiarhnu – who was reluctant at first – but is
now reaping the benefits of the “life-changing” program.
The program is the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District’s Go4Fun. It’s for parents and children aged seven to 13 who are above a healthy weight.
It includes games, activities and demonstrations about healthy foods, label reading, portion sizes and easy ways to improve children’s nutrition, physical activity and self-esteem.
“The program doesn’t focus on weight loss and is not a dieting program,” manager Karen Waller said. “It involves simple and easy ways to make small changes for big health gains.”
For Mrs Ponga, the biggest changes came in her shopping trolley – she now opts for rice crackers to satisfy her children’s snack cravings, rather than bags of 20-pack chips.
“It really took some time to get in the swing of it and it can be hard to find food that fits all the guidelines of less sugar, fat and salt – often you can find two out of the three,” she said.
Registrations are being taken for the next
programs starting in Nowra on Monday. Call 1800 780 900 or visitwww.mendcentral.org.