Chef Miguel Maestro when asked for his top cooking tip answered; “Keep it simple, buy it fresh, cook it quick, share it with family and friends and make sure you have a lot of fun doing it.” That’s great advice!
Food has been overcomplicated
Packaging, preservatives and promotions are commonplace in our supermarkets, but often they don’t enhance food’s nutritional value.
“Keep it simple, buy it fresh, cook it quick” – Miguel is onto something, and it’s quite profound. His message is that fresh food, with seasonal produce, is the healthiest option for us. Food should be kept simple and the wonderful thing about buying fresh produce is you don’t have to struggle to read the “contents”.
What’s in a label?
Labeling packaged food has been around for a while and is beneficial for those who need to be meticulous about their food such as people with:
- nut allergies
- coeliac disease
- kidney and heart disease
- allergies to preservatives
These people need to be certain about the content of each and every packet. For them, making a mistake could threaten their health or even cause death.
With burgeoning rates of obesity and more sedentary lifestyles, has come the rising challenge of chronic health problems, namely Type II Diabetes, cardiovascular dis-ease and certain cancers.
Helping us help ourselves
Education is one of the best preventatives, which means labeling food to highlight nutritional value, as well as energy content. So we know exactly what we are putting in our mouths.
The information needs to be presented in a meaningful to people, so they can:
- read the contents label
- understand the contents
- calculate appropriate portion sizes
- know the calorie count
Think about what you drink
It’s not just food that has an impact. Think of the soft drink aisle at your local su-permarket with all that liquid sugar, or the countless shelves of alcohol in liquor stores. Both of these are far greater threats to public health than all the narcotics combined.
We need to drink water on a daily basis in order to stay alive, and we should think twice before substituting it with another drink. It may be doing us far more harm than good.
We all have to make our own choices but we also need to be aware that the choices we make can affect our health and our future.
A premature stroke due to poorly controlled diabetes will not only affect you but will also have a huge impact on your family and friends. Being physically active and limiting your intake of energy dense food can reduce your risk of stroke.
Sitting in chemotherapy having treatment for bowel cancer isn’t an ideal way to spend retirement. You can help prevent this by reducing your alcohol intake and eating less red or processed meat.
It is possible to reduce your chances of health problems later in life by making the right choices about what you eat today.
Health first, wallet second
When you’re shopping try to spend twice as long in the sections without labels on food, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish.
With packaged food you do pick up, read the label, know what you’re purchasing, then check the price. Saving a few cents on unhealthy food may end up costing you a fortune in chronic health care later in life. And that’s not what Miguel meant by “having fun”!
For further information on recommended Australian healthy eating guides visit the Australian Government’s “Eat For Health