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Healthy Made Easy

Food for thought to chase away the chill

Yes, unfortunately winter’s upon us, which again reminds us of how time flies and how fast we’re approaching the end of the first half of 2011! In this issue we touch on a few important nutritional pointers for different age groups.

Children

Whilst some children naturally love the sweetness of fruit, others always reach for more processed snack options. Adding fresh fruit to your child’s breakfast will give them a boost of vitamins and minerals in a natural food.

If you want to add just one food item to improve children’s daily nutritional status, then give them fruit for breakfast.

Teens

If there’s one defining feature about a teen’s eating habits, it’s that teenagers are perpetually hungry. Let’s face it, nothing can raid a kitchen with quite the same fervour as a bunch of hungry teens, especially teenage boys. As a parent then, if you’d like to improve your teenager’s diet and attempt for them to consume more quality foods, the best you can do is to ensure that your kitchen is packed with a variety of highly nutritious, healthy foods and snacks. Think quality AND quantity.

Adults

A rushed lifestyle, long working hours, erratic exercising, missing meals and heavy business dinners are just some of the culprits, so make sure you always have a plan B when it comes to food. Low fat frozen meals can substitute for a healthy lunch alternative. Lunch should be substantial and evening dinners should be kept light, especially when eating late. A small supper is essential for effective weight management. Then make sure you keep some of these healthy options on hand at the office: tinned soups, dried fruit, tinned tuna, low fat wholegrain crackers and Marmite (a fantastic source of vitamin B, much needed with a stressful lifestyle).

Midlife & older

Few people realise how by eating enough of the correct foods you can protect your eyesight. We now know that antioxidant rich foods play a preventative role when addressing age related damaging effect on eyes. Blueberries are especially beneficial (also spinach, dried apricots, carrots and oranges). With just one portion of oily fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon) per week, you can as much as halve your chance of developing age related Macular Degeneration.

Here’s to deliciously warm winter soups and stews, succulent citrus fruits and lots of garlic to chase away the chill and help keep the bugs away! Try the following winter-warmer recipes at home:

Couscous Salad

750g couscous
16 Rosa tomatoes (halved)
1 bunch spring onions, chopped
5-10 Calamata olives, halved
1 cucumber, finely chopped
1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup basil leaves, chopped
10 cashew nuts, toasted and chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
3 tbs white balsamic vinegar
Juice of one lemon
Danish style low fat feta (crumbled)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs olive oil

Bring 3 cups of salted water to the boil. Add couscous. Stir, cover and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Don’t remove lid. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Remove lid. Fluff with fork and allow to cool. Mix in the remaining ingredients, toss into cooled couscous, then serve.

Butternut & Sweet Potato Soup

Wonderful winter-warmer – the curry taste is subtle and just enough to bring out the flavour.

1 fresh butternut, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic
2 cups water or chicken stock
2 cups skim milk
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion gently in a little chicken stock (should not brown). Add garlic and spices. Add butternut, sweet potato, chicken stock and bring to the boil. When vegetables are soft, add milk. Allow to cool slightly before you puree. Add more liquid if necessary. Serve with crumbled low fat Danish style feta cheese and 3 fat free pretzel sticks.