Are there simple steps to making healthy meals that all the family enjoy? In this week's Rearing To Go Taragh Loughrey-Grant finds out when she talks to HSE Dietician Helen Ryan, 'Healthy Food Made Easy' leader Fran Monahan and Grow It Yourself founder, Michael Kelly.
Top Healthy Eating Tips from the HSE
- Have up to seven servings of fruit, vegetables and salads a day. These foods are high in nutrients that protect against disease and cancer.
- Smoothies and fruit juices make it easier to add to your daily intake of fruit and vegetables but they are lower in fibre and may have added sugar.
- Choose wholemeal variety when it comes to cereals, bread, pasta and rice. This helps protect against bowel disease.
- Low-fat milk and yogurt is the best option but it’s important to check the sugar content in yogurts especially the desert products.
- Choose low-fat monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat/oil when cooking. These fat/oils are better for your health than saturated fat but contain the same amount of calories.
- High sugar and salt foods are not necessary for healthy eating so should only be eaten occasionally.
HSE Healthy Eating has great meal plans, advice, information and tips. These include meal plans for different age groups and occupations!
The Food and Health Project is a collaboration between the HSE and community development organisations where peer leaders provide courses on healthy eating and the skills to put them into practice at home. The Healthy Food Made Easy Course is one of these programmes and currently available for community groups in Dublin, the Midlands, Kildare and Wicklow.
More information to go: www.healthyireland.ie
Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute: www.indi.ie
Irish Heart Foundation: www.nodrama.ie
Safe Food: www.safefood.eu
GROW IT YOURSELF:
Michael Kelly, writer, hacker grower and founder of GIY gives his Grow It Yourself starter tips.
GIY for Kids
Kids make fantastic GIYers as they are enthusiastic and they don’t have the hang-ups about the process that adults sometimes do! Plus kids will often try vegetables they wouldn’t normally touch if they have been involved in growing them! Here are some things to think about when starting to grow food as a family.
1. Kids love sowing seeds, particularly the bigger ones like peas and beans.
2. Pick fruit & veg that are grow fast so that they see a quick return eg radishes, mushrooms
3. Top crops for Kids include carrots, peas, strawberries, beans and radishes
Tips For GIY For The First Time
- The key is to start small and stick to things that you like to eat. Pick five vegetables you like to eat and grow them. Then also pick one vegetable you know nothing about and grow that too as an experiment.
- Try herbs as they are easy to grow. They can been sown from seed trays in March or April. Place the trays on a sunny windowsill and keep the soil moist. Good herbs to try are Basil, Thyme, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Marjoram, Mint and Chives.
- Great fruits to start with are strawberries (kids love them), rhubarb and plums.