Kiwis are stressed about what they should eat, think healthy food is too expensive, and one in four believe they need to lose more than 15kg to reach a healthy weight according to new research.

The Nutribullet Balance survey* investigated Kiwis attitudes towards to food, dietary habits and barriers to healthy eating.

Two thirds (65%) of Kiwis said they would eat healthier if it was easier and more than a third (37%) of respondents said they are often stressed and confused about what they should be eating.

Dieting is a key tactic employed for Kiwis to lose weight, with the study showing that during the past twelve months eight out of ten (79%) Kiwis had been on some kind of diet, with one in ten having done so for the whole year, much higher among 45-55 year-olds.

The most popular diets included sugar free (30%) and calorie restrictive (28%), the latter particularly the case for females (35%), who had also tried more of the different types of diets than males.

Eating less dairy/meat was a prevalent choice for those in the youngest age group (18-24), who tended to favour vegan/vegetarian or fasting diets.

Achieving a healthy body weight is a priority for almost two thirds (63%) of Kiwis, who felt they needed to shed some kilos in order to reach their target weight. A third (33%) felt they were already there and a smaller proportion (4%) said they had to gain weight.

More females (67%) than males (60%) felt they needed to lose weight and more in the middle age groups felt this way – the highest being aged 45-54 (71%).

Those most satisfied with their weight were aged 18-24 as well as those aged 65+.

Outside of feeling overweight, parting with their hard-earned cash is the main factor influencing people’s diet (62%) – particularly among the younger age groups.

And it’s not just money – time was cited by just under half (44%) overall but more so for those aged between 18-44 years. Of lesser influence was a lack of awareness of what food is healthy (18%).

A desire to lose 30 or more kilos was indicated by a tenth (12%) of respondents, with more females (13%) than males (10%) and more aged 35-44 (20%) feeling this way.

Nutritionist Nikki Hart says she’s not surprised there is so much confusion among Kiwis on what they should eat.

“We are constantly bombarded with food trends – we want health but we want luxury, we worry about obesity but we want a quick fix not a long term plan.

“Our obesity statistics are showing us that we are still steadily gaining. Twenty years ago when I first started consulting 120kg was considered rare – now I regularly see people at 140kg, what alarms me also is childhood obesity, this too needs to be addressed.”

Hart says portion control is essential when trying to maintain a healthy body and parents need to stop feeding their children adult sized portions.

“Your hands are the key to portioning for your body. For example the palm of your hand and its thickness should be the meat/chicken portion (the whole hand if its fish), a clenched fist is an excellent way to visualise the potato/rice/pasta and 2 cupped hands is your vegetable/salad (roughly 1/2 the plate).”

Hart says making small changes, like increasing intake of water; vegetables and fruit along with moving regularly and getting enough sleep can all help.

“Most importantly, remember there is no such thing as good or bad food, because if we start associating those feelings with food we start berating ourselves for being anything less than perfect,” she says.

The research was carried out in conjunction with the launch of the brand’s new Nutribullet Balance appliance which uses Bluetooth technology to create a personal profile that matches the best recipes to specific health needs, automatically tracking nutritional information as ingredients are added.