Is supper a ‘health vs convenience’ conundrum? Here’s how not to compromise


When asked, people are generally quick to proclaim that they try to eat healthily – but that’s not what current fast food trends show. One look at the statistics show that we may just be fooling ourselves…

Do you view healthy eating as important? 96% of respondents in a Discovery Vitality survey made up of 3 597 South Africans said yes – and yet, if one considers the rising growth rates of SA’s fast food sector, it seems like there’s some wishful thinking involved!

According to a Retail Snapshot by Broll property, takeaway and fast-food outlets achieved a high year-on-year growth of 2.8% as at July 2018, and this sector has been recording a positive trend line since January 2008.

This equates to a significant number of people eating diets that are likely to cause weight gain, and filling up on high-salt foods, refined carbohydrates, highly processed, sweetened products and the fattiest cuts of meat, which can lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients and subsequent long-term health damage.

We claim to value health – but fast food trends paint a different picture

Respondents in the Vitality survey ranked ‘Health and nutrition’ as their first priority in choosing where to eat when dining out, with ‘Convenience’ coming in second and ‘Price’ in third. However, the fact is that health gets much harder to prioritise when you are surrounded by an abundance of cheap, convenient and tasty foods, from fast food menus to processed snack foods available around the corner or with a click of a button.

“The results from the Vitality survey highlight the fact that we are often over-optimistic and believe that we are healthier than we actually are,” says Vitality dietitian Terry Harris. “The reality is that the fast food trends paint a very different picture, and we continue not to know what is in our foods when eating out.”

But when modern life can get so busy that we don’t always have time to prepare and cook healthy meals ourselves – what’s a solution?

Turning the table on obstacles to healthy eating

Harris responds: “Because unhealthy food is often more accessible, more affordable and marketed more prominently than healthy food, turning the tables on these three factors is the first step in reversing worrying health trends. That’s exactly what Vitality’s new HealthyDining benefit aims to do.”

The new benefit is partnering with Uber Eats to offer members up to 25% cash back on healthier meal choices when ordering food at home, and 50% cash back on Vitality kids’ healthy meals. Members can get the best of both – convenience and health – not to mention great taste with restaurant partners like Col’Cacchio, Doppio Zero, Nando’s and Ocean Basket.

Says Harris, “We’d love to persuade all food outlets to decrease the salt and sugar in their food, serve smaller portions and eventually change the culture of cheap and unhealthy food to cheaper, healthier food. But we’re delighted at the chance to make a start along with our participating HealthyDining partners. Together, we’re hoping to help people make healthier food choices when eating outside of the home.”

Improving diets could prevent 1 in every 5 deaths worldwide

This goal is a worthy one – obesity has been on the rise around the globe, and experts say that a suboptimal diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risks globally, including tobacco smoking.

The statistics reveal the extent of the risk: the global intake of sugary drinks is far higher than what is recommended (49 g vs. 3 g per day), while sodium intake (6 g per day) is 86% higher than the optimal amount. The global consumption of processed meat like bacon and cold meats (4 g per day) is a whopping 90% greater than the optimal amount, while red meat intake (27 g per day) is 18% greater than the optimal intake.  

Improving diets by, for example, drastically reducing the amount of sodium, added sugars, and processed and red meat you consume – as well as by eating much more fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes – could potentially prevent one in every five deaths worldwide.

The Vitality HealthyDining benefit offers both health and convenience

“If these numbers are anything to go by, good nutrition should be a priority – in reality, not just with good intentions!” says Harris. “But when the many demands of work, family, traffic and travel pile up – it’s good to have healthy options that mean you don’t need to choose between a fast, tasty, ready-cooked meal and your own good health. With the HealthyDining benefit, you can enjoy both.”

Vitality is launching HealthyDining first with Uber Eats on 6 May 2019, and in restaurants later this year. The benefit comes at no extra cost for Vitality members, who can activate it online or by logging into their latest Discovery app. Members can maximise their Vitality cash back to up to 25% by finding out their Vitality Age and completing a Vitality Health Check.

Discovery Vitality members can activate Vitality HealthyDining by downloading the latest version of the Discovery app on their App Store or on Google Play. Find out more about the new Vitality HealthyDining benefit here.

No more excuses – Vitality HealthyDining is here

With the new Vitality HealthyDining benefit and Uber Eats, making healthier choices has never been easier. Now you can get up to 25% cash back on healthier meal choices and 50% cash back on Vitality kids’ healthy meals when you dine in with Uber Eats.

To get started, activate Vitality HealthyDining on the latest Discovery app by following these four easy steps:

1. Open the latest Discovery app and click ‘Vitality.’ Then click ‘HealthyDining’ and follow the steps until you get your unique code.

2. Link Uber Eats to Discovery Vitality by adding your unique code to your Uber Eats app. This can be found under the “Promotions” tab in your Uber Eats profile.

3. Scroll or search for any one of the participating restaurants, which include Col’Cacchio, Doppio Zero, Ocean Basket and Nando’s.

4. Select the Vitality HealthyDining category at the top of the menu to order healthier meal choices and earn cash back.

Find out more about the new Vitality HealthyDining benefit here.

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