Healthy Eating Week

It's Healthy Eating Week and across the UK's nurseries and schools over 1.3m children will be learning all about healthy diets, being more active, understanding where food comes from as well as trying a little cooking - what a fantastic initiative!

Monday, 02 June 2014

Healthy Eating Week

For me, healthy eating isn't about short term fads, diets and detoxes. It's about a balanced diet which may well include a little butter, cheese or cream, together with lots of fresh, vibrant ingredients. It's about balance and moderation and how you use those ingredients. It's about learning how to cook.

This is the only fun, engaging way kids will learn about food, about what is healthy, what isn't and how to make healthy choices for themselves.

And while I'm ranting (!), you know what REALLY bothers me?!? When I continually get told how unhealthy Indian food is. If you eat only from Indian takeaways then yes, of course, it's unhealthy. It isn't a true representation of Indian food either (same for Chinese).

Real Indian food is about using fresh ingredients to create something as healthy and tasty as possible for the whole family to enjoy. If I were to give my mum what is normally served from an Indian takeaway I know exactly what she would do with it and it wouldn't be pretty.

So to prove and to show you that Indian food can be healthy I want you to cook the following. I've selected three dishes from my healthy Indian recipes that I know are spot on for taste, for health and for zinging up your dinner.

I want you to try:

I think it's fantastic that schools are building Healthy Eating Week into the curriculum. Healthy living and eating is so very important for children to learn from the very beginning but I don't think it's enough. I think 'we' should be teaching our children to do this, introducing them to new flavours, getting them excited about cooking at home, about having fun in the kitchen.

So let's teach them what an aubergine is, where a tomato comes from and how to grow a strawberry. I know children can be so dismissive to textures and flavours they don't like (believe me, I know my son will not go anywhere near a mushroom) but by continually showing, cooking, teaching and inspiring them about different foods we can go on an adventure together that will stay with them for life.

So try to do the following as much as possible:

  • Cook at home from scratch – this is the only way you will know what's in your food.
  • Portion control – be aware of the amount you are eating (the right portion size is the amount of food you can hold in your cupped hands).
  • Make healthy choices – fresh ingredients, vegetables and fruit, meals should represent food from each food group (and at least five portions a day).
  • Fats and sugar – keep to a minimum.
  • Make healthy substitutions – replace cream with yoghurt or crème fresh, or remove altogether. Replace ghee with a little oil.
  • Drink – water is vital so have it with every meal.
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