How and what to eat are two things that many parents consider in order for their children to eat a healthy and balanced diet. In addition, 65% of people in Spain say they regularly worry about living a healthy life, according to data from a study (WIN World Survey, 2019) conducted by the DYM institute with WIN International. Adriana Fernandez Vidal is a dietitian and nutritionist from Ourense (Galicia), specialized in nutritional retraining, that is, in achieving a change in habits in order to achieve a positive relationship with food. your project, The workshop, it’s a community on-line which promotes healthy habits through a psychological service for children and adults, including women and the perinatal period. They also focus on nutrition with various specialties: child, clinical and family. Like many nutritionists on the Internet, Fernández relies on virtual contact with families, which he achieves through video calls and instant messaging. Your request is not physical, but on Instagram.
Questions. How do you achieve friendly connection with your users?
Answer. As professionals, we work individually and up close with video calls, achieving a perfect tandem. We are looking for support and accompaniment to improve what each person, whatever their profile, needs. It is very important to create an environment of trust, empathy and respect.
P How do you help children and families to eat right with the healthy eating recommendations you share on your social networks, especially Instagram?
R People like to cook the easy way. That’s why we give ideas, tricks and advice so that they see that taking care of yourself is not a big task and that you don’t have to give up pleasure. With the families, we try to involve the children in the planning and development of the menu. They are an essential part of establishing certain healthy habits and becoming attractive.
P. The World Health Organization defines a healthy lifestyle as those habits that lead to “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. What is healthy eating? Is there a trick to eating healthy and feeling good?
R Healthy eating is achieved in a conscious and friendly way. We must understand that each individual has specific needs based on their habits and tastes. Taking care of yourself to feel good and happy, incorporate it into a routine and achieve habit improvement naturally. With flexibility, the person can live a healthy life by punctually consuming some foods that are not the most nutritious but are designed to satisfy the hunger for indulgence. For me, the art would be to analyze the focus from which I set the goal of taking care of myself: if it’s out of obligation, it leads me to make things more rigid and restrictive, and the path becomes short be . On the other hand, if I take small steps, they add up and over time, peace and joy become something productive with a lasting effect. It is an important message for children in every area of their lives.
P has many followers —almost 23,000— on Instagram, including young people. What can parents do about nutritional problems in childhood and adolescence?
R The profiles of younger people in social networks help to come into more direct contact with food. Society itself contributes to giving value to food, especially for children. And all this through ideas, appetizing dishes and simple and quick preparations. When it comes to harmful eating habits and behaviors, parents need to be careful about the messages, example, and importance placed on physical appearance. A perfect body is still being sold and this is having a huge impact on youngsters who are already going through a difficult age. Also, we need to be very aware of the emotional side of our children.
P What message can be conveyed to children and young people when it comes to eating right and without excess?
R I would say to children and young people that they can find a healthy diet that is fun for them at the same time. They are at an age where what they do today will affect their future, their adulthood. You can eat a hamburger, but choose a place where the ingredients are healthier. You can even drink more natural drinks and less soda. The work at this point should not only focus on the child or young person, but also on the family, for they are the key to the foundation of their habits.
P Alarming data on obesity continues to emerge —According to a recent study, 10% of children and young people in Spain suffer from it— and these have worsened during the pandemic. What could improve this situation?
R To counteract this, it would be wise to start campaigns promoting better eating habits, physical activity, etc. The school should put a lot of emphasis on issues that promote healthy living habits and work from home, encourage physical activity and reduce screen time. And of course I bet on the figure of nutritionist in public health throughout Spain.
P. Do you consider availability and work to be relevant factors when it comes to healthy eating?
R These are two important reasons that condition many people. We are a society that is always in a hurry and we are a role model for our children, the generation of the future. If we already have little time to enjoy with the family, less for the kitchen. We may think that eating fast and easy means choosing unhealthy options. However, you can eat better without having to waste a lot of time if you know the tools and resources to do so. At work, the person can take food or choose on site depending on the offer either in the dining room or in a restaurant. Improvement is always possible.
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