It’s National Nutrition Week!

It’s National Nutrition Week!

Did you know it’s National Nutrition Week? Well incase you didn’t, from the 11th to the 17th of October, Australia is celebrating healthy foods and raising awareness about the importance of fresh fruit and veggies which contain a vital and rich source of nutrients for a balanced and healthy diet.

Unfortunately, Australians do not eat anywhere near the recommended serve of fruit and vegetables a day, which is two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day.

This can be attributed to the cheap processed foods which are readily available from supermarkets and fast foods outlets.

Let’s make sure out kids don’t grow up thinking eating this way is the norm. With national weeks like National Nutritional Week, we hope to educate Australian children about healthy foods, the numerous benefits they have for their bodies and brains and how to incorporate more of them in their diet.

Have a look at the revisited Healthy Eating Pyramid from Nutrition Australia to ensure you are getting a balance of food groups in your diet each day.

healthy-eating-pyramid

Evidence supports a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can greatly improve mood and brain function. For overweight or obese kids with poor nutritional habits, they experience low energy, low moods, a lack of motivation and cannot function at their optimum.

By eating a range of nutrient dense fresh fruit and vegetables incorporated in their breakfasts, lunches and dinners, they will not only experience better moods and see an increase in their self-esteem, but will be able to experience life as an average weight child – with higher energy levels. Their ability to focus, retain information and their overall cognitive function can be improved tenfold just by giving their bodies and brains the correct nutrients and energy it needs.

To celebrate, here are 10 brain and body boosting foods:

  1. Spinach
    spinach
    One of the best vegetable sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Also a great source of antioxidants, B vitamins and folate.
  2. Carrots
    Carrots
    A rich source of beta carotene which supports mood and mental wellbeing. Cantaloupe, sweet potato and red capsicums also high in beta carotene.
  3. Broccoli
    broccoli
    Good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as chromium which helps the body and brain work productively.
  4. Chickpeas
    chickpeas
    Packed with B6 which supports mood and energy production. One serve (half a cup) of canned chickpeas contains about 40 per cent of the recommended daily dose of B6.
  5. Mushrooms
    mushrooms
    A great plant source of vitamin D which helps lift mood.
  6. Berries
    berries
    All berries are packed with mood-boosting vitamins and minerals, especially antioxidants and folate.
  7. Banana
    Banana
    The best fruit source of Vitamin B6.
  8. Avocado
    avocado
    Contain tryptophan which forms the feel-good hormone serotonin and low levels of tryptophan in the brain have been linked with depressive symptoms.
  9. Tomato
    tomatoes
    One of the richest sources of the antioxidant lycopene.
  10. Apricots
    sun-kissed-apricots
    High in betacarotene and B vitamins that improve mood.

    By Leah

Meat Free Monday – Join the Revolution!

Meat Free Monday – Join the Revolution!

Ever heard of Meat Free Monday? Well, if not, now you have. It began 10 years ago after a 2006 study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions was due to the global livestock industry. That’s more than the whole transport sector combined.

Besides being an environmentally friendly initiative, it is also a healthy initiative.

According to a Harvard University study, eating a diet high in red and processed meat has been found to increase the our risk of type 2 diabetes and being overweight and obese. Swapping saturated fat-rich foods such as meat and full-fat dairy with foods rich in polyunsaturated fat like vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, reduces one’s risk of heart disease by 19%.

According to the revisited healthy eating pyramid, we should be eating way less meat than we currently are.  The new pyramid tackles this by ensuring we eat meat in moderation while the majority of our meals should consist of plant based foods.

Australians currently allocate 40% of their food expenditure on meat, eating approximately 120kg each year, that’s nine times the recommended weekly amount! The same research paper found Australians are not only eating more meat every year, we are opting for poor quality, processed meats. Instead, 70% of what we eat should be vegetables, legumes and grains. These are the most nutrient dense foods and should be our main source of carbohydrates and fibre in our diet.

A serve of meat constitutes 65-100g of cooked meat, which is the size and thickness of your palm. Since you will be cutting down on the amount of meat you eat each week, opt for good quality meat, such as from the butcher. Trust me, you will taste the difference.

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to join in on Meat-free Mondays, it’s for everyone. In fact, you would be surprised how tasty a meal can be just made from vegetables! Don’t be afraid to make the sacrifice, besides, animals have had no choice but to sacrifice their lives for ours. So on Mondays, sacrifice yourself for animals for a change!

Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Hearty Chickpea, Pumpkin and Coconut Curry from Meat Free Mondays
 Lentil Bolognese from Kids Spot
Spinach and Feta Pie from Kids Spot
Vegetarian Lasagne from Taste.com

By Leah

RECIPE: Beef & vegetable stir-fry

RECIPE: Beef & vegetable stir-fry

This beef & vegetable stir-fry recipe is super tasty and is the perfect opportunity for your kids to get prepping and cooking in the kitchen. Infused with Asian flavours, packed with protein-rich beef and nutrient-dense vegetables, this stir-fry makes a quick and healthy dinner. If you have left overs, don’t worry because it tastes even better the next day as lunch!

Ingredients:

400g rump steak, sliced250g cooked Hokkien egg noodles
1 medium brown onion, diced
1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets
100g snow peas, ends and strings removed
1/2 tablespoon reduced-salt soy sauce
2 teaspoons oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
fresh coriander to garnish

Method:

Prepare noodles following packet directions. Heat oil in pan, stir-fry beef in two batches, set aside and keep warm. Add onion, garlic and ginger, cooking until onion is translucent. Add broccoli, snow peas and water, cooking until vegetables soften. Return beef to pan. Add sauces to beef and vegetables to coat them, allow to bubble and cook through. When done, transfer to bowl and garnish with fresh coriander to serve.

Note: You can substitute beef for lean pork, broccoli and snow peas with any other vegetables you like such as Chinese cabbage, bok choy, sliced carrots, capsicum or mushrooms. 

By Leah