McDonald's chips

MACCAS getting deep-fried over ‘healthy changes’ to Happy Meals

The world’s most iconic fast food chain is making changes, and people are very UNhappy about it.

McDonald’s has confirmed the hugely popular Happy Meal is getting a shake-up in a bid to make a more ‘healthy meal’ for kids.

The newly announced Global Happy Meal Goals will, by the end of 2022, ensure at least 50 per cent of the meal combinations have caps of 600 calories. On top of that, just 10 per cent of the calories will come from saturated fat, 10 per cent from added sugar and 650mg sodium.

If you have managed to get through life without ever purchasing a Happy Meal, we’ll give you the rundown: back in the day it came with a cheeseburger, small fries and a small softdrink, plus a collectable toy (usually based around the hit kids’ movie of the time). The aim was to collect the entire set.

In recent years McDonald’s has evolved what’s inside the box by giving the option of chicken nuggets, sliced apple pieces and other drink options.

In a statement released overnight, McDonald’s explains that “today, more customers are choosing water, milk and juice as the beverage of choice in Happy Meals over other beverages in the U.S”.

“As we look to the future, we are fortifying our efforts to make an even bigger difference for families through new Global Happy Meal Goals.

“By 2022, McDonald’s restaurants will add new Happy Meal offerings, reformulate or remove offerings from the Happy Meal section of the menu board to meet these goals.”

Among the changes will be removing cheeseburgers from the standard order, making them only available in Happy Meals if customers request them.

They will also be adding bottled water, cutting the calories and sodium with smaller fries in the 6 piece Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal, and working to reduce the added sugars in chocolate milk.

There could also be the option of something similar to a grilled chicken wrap which was introduced in Italy this year.

The announcement has consumers up in arms with many accusing the chain of taking away their freedom of choice: “You know you are a fast food place right? It’s not supposed to be healthy”; “Why not just make more options? Stop trying to be something other than a fast food restaurant. McDonald’s is a treat, not an everyday meal”.

While others have welcomed the move: “Great job! Keep up the forward thinking. The more we know about nutrition the better decisions we all make.”

Bed Intimacy

Young adults think the pill will protect from STIs as rates go through the roof

At the risk of making you feel as awkward as when your old (she was probably only in her 30s but seemed ancient at the time) high school teacher fired up the VHS and played an animated video of sperm swimming towards an egg: we’re going to talk about STIs (sexually transmissible infections).

More specifically, the startling ignorance of young Queenslanders and the fact they feel ‘protected’ against them by using the pill.

That’s right, according to a recent survey, published by Queensland Health as part of National Condom Day, 60 per cent of 17-29 year olds believe the pill provides protection against STIs.

What?!?!?!?!

Firstly, let’s state some facts. The Contraceptive Pill works by stopping the release of eggs from a woman’s ovaries each month. It is 99.7 per cent effective.

It does not protect your bits from possible infection, such as chlamydia, genital herpes, HIV etc.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said it’s believed these ‘false beliefs’ and misunderstandings were believed to be contributing factors to the growing number of STI cases in Queensland.

“In 2017, we saw more than 23,000 notifications of chlamydia and almost 5,000 notifications of gonorrhoea, which is the highest we’ve seen in Queensland in the last five years,” Dr Young said.

“Although attitudes about using condoms are generally positive, the data also showed that condom use is motivated by a desire to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STI prevention is a secondary driver at best, and for only half of all condom users,” she explained.

“Despite these misconceptions, only 14 per cent of those surveyed considered themselves to be at risk of an STI.

“The truth is, if you are sexually active, you are at risk of an STI and condoms are the best form of protection from most STIs – this is the message we want Queenslanders to hear loud and clear.”

“Most STIs don’t have any symptoms, so you should get a check even if you don’t think anything is wrong.”

Tandem Bike

Re-think sweet this Valentine’s Day: 7 ideas for a healthier celebration

Cancer Council Queensland is encouraging Gold Coasters to be sweet to their loved one’s this Valentine’s Day, but celebrate the day of love in a healthy way.

They have shared some ideas on how to make the holiday of love special while still maintaining your health and wellness goals.

Here are seven ideas that will brighten up anyone’s Valentine’s Day:

1. Use this day as an opportunity to tell your loved one how important they are to you, and share ways that you can support each other’s health and wellness. Here is a free downloadable card from Cancer Council Queensland to help.

2. Plan an active outing. Quality time is one of the most meaningful gifts, so why not practice teamwork by heading on a double kayak date or riding tandem bikes.

3. Prepare a romantic candlelit dinner. This is a great opportunity to show your loved one how much you care for them by cooking something special that’s also on the healthier side. By cooking at home, you can control both the ingredients and the portion sizes. Healthier. Happier. have a range of delicious recipes that you could try, from a balsamic beef salad, to sweet treats like this rhubarb and pear crumble.

4. You could try to come up with a red-themed meal together. Different coloured fruit and veggies have different nutrients and health benefits, and as it turns out, many naturally bright red foods (such as cherries, red capsicum, tomatoes, red onion and rhubarb) contain Vitamin C and phytochemicals like lycopene, anthocyanins and saponins.

5. Just dance. Twirling around the dance floor with someone you love is not only romantic, but it’s a good way to get some aerobic exercise.

6. Give a healthy gift. If you both crave sweet things, gift a beautiful fresh fruit basket to your loved one instead of candy with added sugars. A healthy cookbook, personal training sessions or a massage voucher are also healthy alternatives. If you do receive a luxurious box of chocolates from your sweetie, stick it in the freezer and enjoy in moderation over the next several weeks.

7. Choose a gift that gives back! If you’re looking for a little gift, you could shop Pink Ribbon merchandise. There is a pink and silver bangle perfect for jewellery lovers or a luggage bag tag ideal for the constant traveller. Each dollar donated through merchandise sales contributes to eradicating women’s cancer – a cause close to the heart and important for every woman’s health.

For more information, visit cancerqld.org.au/.

Fruit Vegetables Plate

What does 5 serves of veggies and 2 of fruit a day really mean?

What’s a key part of a nutritious diet? Most of us can automatically recite the answer: fruits and vegetables.

And yet research shows when it comes to eating the daily recommended amount of produce, most Queensland adults simply don’t.

Only seven per cent of adults eat the recommended five serves of vegetables per day, while 57 per cent are eating the recommended two serves of fruit a day.

With this in mind, Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan has provided her top tips to help people get on the road to enjoying fruit and vegetables several times a day.

1. How do servings work?
The size of a standard serve can be different for different foods. A serve of vegetables is about 75grams or half a cup of cooked green or orange vegetables. When it comes to salad, a serve is one cup of leafy greens or raw vegetables to equal one serve. For fruit, the standard serve is about 150grams or one medium size piece of fruit, such as an apple or orange. Two small apricots or plums would equal a serve.

2. How healthy are frozen vegetables?
Frozen veggies are usually picked in their prime and snap-frozen very soon after harvesting, so as well as being convenient, they are full of the same nutrients as fresh vegetables.

3. Should you give up fruit to lose weight?
One of the biggest reasons health experts recommend eating fruit is because it is abundant in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, with evidence increasing that whole foods are more effective in reducing the risk of cancer than specific vitamin and mineral supplements. As well as being beneficial for overall health, most fruits are low in kilojoules and high in fibre and water, making you feel fuller. This reduces the risk of over eating, which can actually cause weight gain. If you are aiming to lose weight, you are more likely to be successful if you snack on whole fruit and minimise discretionary foods, such as cookies, chips and cake, because they are high in kilojoules, but low in essential nutrients.

4. What about dried fruit or juices?
Fresh is best, as whole fruit contains a lot of fluid and helps fill us up. Dried fruit has had the water removed, concentrating the sugars. Also, while we will feel full after eating one or two apricots, it’s not going to be the same after one or two dried ones. Fruit juice is often perceived as healthy, but is similarly problematic – no fibre and high in sugar. Store-bought fruit juices can contain just as much sugar as a sugary soft drink. If you love your juices, opt to blend at home instead – just stick to a small handful of fruit and include vegetables in the mix.

5. How easy is it to have all seven serves each day?
By having fruit and vegetables throughout the day, it’s easy to make sure you are eating the right balance of foods. For example, throw some fruit on top of your oats at breakfast, crunch on a green salad, with strawberries, at lunchtime, serve vegetables raw with low-fat dip for an afternoon snack and add veggies to the dishes your family loves at dinner. Spaghetti is a popular dish that can be secretly supplemented with veggies. Just add finely chopped mushroom, onions, spinach or eggplant to a flavourful diced tomato based spaghetti sauce. Then, serve with half zucchini noodles and half wholemeal pasta for an even bigger veggie boost.

More than 27,000 Queenslanders are diagnosed with cancer each year – up to one third of those cases could be prevented through lifestyle changes, including maintaining a healthy diet.

Healthy eating can also help boost your immune system, improve your concentration levels and mental health, provide more energy and help reduce your risk of other diseases.

So, the next time you’re plating up a meal, think about the variety of foods you’re including.

Opt for foods that are low in sugar, saturated fat and salt and be sure to include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, low fat dairy options, and lean proteins.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland and reducing cancer risk is available at cancerqld.org.au.

Prgenant smoking

Statistics reveal shocking number of pregnant QLD mums smoking

Queensland Health is extremely concerned by the number of mums who continue to smoke cigarettes during pregnancy, despite warnings about the health of their baby.

Statistics from the Department of Health reveal 12.4 per cent of mums in Queensland smoked during their pregnancy.

This is slightly higher than the national average of 10.4.

The statistics also expose smoking rates were higher in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Expecting mothers who smoke are at an increased risk of multiple issues including, miscarriages, premature labour and ectopic pregnancy.

Babies of smoking mothers are at a much higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as they have weaker lungs and a more susceptible to infection after birth as they have a lower birth weight.

The Department of Health offers free quit program for mothers.