Good Food~Good Health: a reminder

Good Food~Good Health aims to promote good food as a route to good health and empower people to make good choices about food through nutrition education.

Nutrition education helps us to take responsibility for the choices we make about food everyday. When we make conscious, deliberate, thoughtful choices, mindful of the impact of those choices on not only our own health but the health of the people around us and the planet we live on we can make a difference.

Good food may take more effort, more time and more energy than we think we have available but each choice, each small change, each moment can add up to something bigger.

Take a small step every day. Choose good food for good health.

Inspired by Jen Gale at http://www.asustainablelife.co.uk

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Simplifying my diet

Television channels continue to show a range of programmes that basically encourage us to be part-time chefs. Apparently, we can all do it if we try just a little bit more.

These programmes do not interest me. ‘Cooking’ involves too many ingredients, too much equipment, can be expensive and time-consuming. While I like the idea of making meals from scratch, I have made enough lasagne and carrot cake to know that I do not find cooking fun or relaxing.

As part of an effort to simplify my life I have decided to minimise the amount of time spent preparing food, including time spent thinking about meals, shopping and cooking. While I want to eat well, I do not want to spend a lot of time and money on everyday meals.

After trying some ready-to-eat foods, I have found a few that I like in terms of taste and convenience, but their nutritional value can be questionable and their calorie content can be excessive when compared to home-made food.

So I eat mostly home-made food, but just a few simple foods that maximise my nutrient intake, are easy to prepare and are relatively inexpensive (sample shown).

Breakfast – overnight oats made with fruit juice, dairy-free yoghurt, banana
Lunch – two slices of wholemeal bread with some type of protein (such as home-made homous, boiled eggs, baked beans, tinned sardines)
Dinner – rice or soup with added beans/legumes, rice/pasta and vegetables (like frozen peas)
Snacks – milk, fruit

Using the nutritional information found on the food packets (eg: the nutritional panel on the side of my packet of oats) I have determined that I am meeting my protein and fibre needs, while not exceeding my calorie requirements. To meet my vitamin and mineral needs I must remember to eat a good variety of fruit and vegetables, whether fresh, frozen, tinned or dried.

While I am not vegetarian, I eat mostly vegetarian meals for health, cost and sustainability reasons. I have a kitchen cupboard stocked with tinned foods and dry foods, like oats and lentils, which make up the basis of most of my meals. The fridge contains milk, juice, fresh fruit and vegetables and frozen vegetables.

My food choices give me enough variety that I do not feel like I am eating the same thing over-and-over. I have chosen foods that I like so I still enjoy my simple meals. I occasionally browse the supermarket shelves for something new or different. When I eat out at a restaurant or café I choose something that I do not cook at home, like steak or dessert.

Changing my diet has taken some effort in regards to considering the best way to meet my nutritional needs with simple meals. I do not aspire to cook like a TV chef. I need healthy meals that do not take much time or effort, so that I can concentrate on other pursuits (that I enjoy). A ‘back-to-basics’ approach to food is working for me.

©SD Wheelock

Keep it simple

On a recent holiday in Malta we stayed in a nice hotel which offered breakfast as a part of the holiday package. We like to eat breakfast at the hotel in the mornings so that we do not reach the hungry/angry stage of the day where we are trying to decide whether to eat before or after taking a walk along the beach or visiting another museum.

Breakfast at the hotel was lavish – there was even a chef to cook our eggs for us! As much as I thought I would enjoy variety at breakfast time, when faced with a multitude of choices I found myself frozen with indecision and felt pressure to ‘enjoy’ or ‘indulge’. Many of my fellow breakfast-eaters seemed to enjoy the bacon, sausages, cold meats, cheeses, pastries, breakfast cereal, various types of bread, bread rolls, spreads and more.

Having to decide from the vast array of food, I felt a little stressed and found myself appreciating the simple choices that I make at home. In the end I chose food that was familiar and relatively healthy – juice, banana, yoghurt, eggs or baked beans.

I acknowledge that an abundance of breakfast choices is a first-world problem but the situation illustrated to me the value that can be found in keeping things simple and realising that I am not ‘missing out’ by doing so.

Enjoy Good Food for Good Health

©SD Wheelock