Eat your way to a healthier you with advice from Nix Oberrainer

Eat your way to a healthier you

Nix Oberrainer, owner of Food to Fit, talks about nutrition and why eating a proper diet every day is an essential component of overall health.

Food to fit lunch bag

Eating healthy isn’t always easy, but committing to a healthy diet can be one of the smartest decisions you ever make. But even if you intend to eat healthy, knowing exactly what that means can be challenging. Nix Oberrainer talks about her business and why she believes your food choices play a big part in your well-being. 

In a few sentences, tell us about yourself, your business and why you started it?

I am 31 years old, grew up in Durban and studied Marketing at UKZN. First job was at Spar head office and then I went to further my career and moved to JHB to work at Tiger Brands. My passion for cooking started at a young age when health and diet piqued my interest. I taught myself about healthy eating from when I was a teenager and loved advising others and seeing results. I started making meals for a few colleagues but with corporate demands and late nights in the office, I couldn't give me meals my all. I knew then it was time to follow my dream and start my own health food business. So in August 2014, I started Food to Fit.

Food to Fit is a business that offers health, nutrition, convenience, variety and deliciousness. Food is made fresh and delivered daily (Monday to Friday). There are a number of different services. One being the full package cooler bag, with all the meals for a day packed according to a well-balanced and structured eating plan, as well as the likes and dislikes of a client. Cooler bags are dropped at central points in Morningside, Durban north and Umhlanga. Second are the office lunches. Menus are sent out to the office weekly. Orders are sent through by Friday afternoon for the following week and lunches are delivered daily to the office before midday. 

Food to Fit also supplies healthy meals at Hamiltons health and fitness in Morningside where they can be purchased by anyone. Recently I have launched healthy kids’ school lunch boxes offering a variety of nutritious meals and snacks. 

Food to fit variety

What are a couple of big mistakes that most people make with nutrition?

One is definitely skipping meals. This will slow the metabolism down and in turn cause a person to over eat later leading to weight gain. Another mistake is portion size. Even though the food you are eating is healthy, portion size plays a huge part in weight loss and must be controlled. 

Third is not planning meals for the day. We get busy in our jobs and lives and without preparing meals the night before, we end up grabbing whatever is easiest and closest which more than often is something high in calories and sugar. 

What general recommendations do you make when coaching clients on nutrition?

Clients must always have personal goals set in place. If you have a bad day, don't let it turn into a bad week and don't beat yourself up about it! Keep a food journal so you can see how much and what really goes into your mouth daily. Don't skip meals. Never skip protein - must have lean protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Drinking 2L of water daily is non-negotiable.

What foods do you recommend people incorporate into their diets?

Lean protein like chicken, tuna and grilled fish must be eaten regularly, as well as low sugar fruits such as apples, grapefruit, oranges, pears and watermelon. Fresh vegetables and complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and brown rice are essential in helping with sugar cravings and keeping you full for longer. 

Children food

You also cater for children. Why?

We sometimes don't realize how a child's diet can have such an effect on their behaviour, concentration and learning ability! Kids need to eat regularly to keep their energy levels up but these regular meals need to be healthy to keep them focused. I launched the kids’ healthy lunch boxes to help parents with the morning rush and to make sure the kids get nutritious and delicious lunches so they can perform at their best during the days.

Overweight children: How to get your child to eat healthy

What are some of the long-term benefits of eating a healthy diet?

Eating a proper diet every day is an essential component of overall health. Healthy eating will provide you with the fuel your body needs to function on a daily basis and consistently. Long term healthy eating will help us live smarter, happier and longer, adding years to our lives and helping prevent numerous illnesses. 

How can someone get motivated to start a healthy, active lifestyle?

The most important thing is you must want to do it for yourself! Start by writing in a journal, your daily food intake and exercise routine. Set realistic goals and reward yourself with something when achieved like a new pair of gym shoes or a massage. Make sure you choose exercise that you are going to enjoy and afford. Another thing that helps a great deal is starting this new health adventure with a friend. In that way you can motivate and encourage each other.

Do you think it’s easier for guys to lose weight than it is for women?

Guys hands down. Guys just have to cut out the beer and the bread and the weight falls off. Men have more muscle, especially in the upper body, and since muscle burns more calories than fat, men have a faster metabolism which will cause weight loss to be a lot faster. 

What’s a good exercise and diet routine?

With regards to diet: make sure it's well balanced. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and fruit mid-morning and afternoon. Keep dinner slightly smaller and avoid big pastas at night. Keep sauces to the minimum and stay away from the sugar. Exercise must be a combination of weight training and cardio. Look at two weight training and three cardio sessions a week even if it's just a light walk to keep the heart rate going. 

Video: Three easy exercises you can do at home

Can you share one recipe for our readers to try so they can realise that healthy eating can also be delicious?

With winter fast approaching, and you cannot face a cold salad, try making a brown rice salad! Half a cup brown rice, grilled chicken, small cubes of butternut, chopped coriander / basil, salt, pepper, onion flakes, garlic, and peppadews with some of the liquid. 

You can contact Nix Oberrainer on 084 505 5510 or email her [email protected]

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