Ask your questions about healthy cooking and eating, smart shopping, or related issues here and we will be glad to reply to you.
in your recipe for Corn Fritters, one ingredient is grated potatoe… is this to be boiled first
thank you for these recipes
The potato is grated raw, no need to cook first.
Thank you for your question
Having a large family makes groceries rather expensive, how can i cut down on costs but still ensure that my family is sufficiently feed?
The key to healthy eating while trying to keep cost down is planning ahead. When planning your shopping, plan dinners first then think about what you may need for snacks, breakfast and lunches. Think about how leftovers from one meal could be used in the next day’s lunches or be incorporated into the main meal. By using a shopping list you are more likely to only purchase the required items and therefore stick to the planned family budget.
what type of cooking oil is best to use for my health?
All fats are high in calories so aim to keep total fat intake to a minimum as excess will be store as fat in your body and can lead to weight gain and obesity. There is a large cost difference between some oils; Olive oil compared to canola oil is one example, so when choosing an oil type think about the amount you use in cooking, your budget and preferred flavour.
The most important thing to remember is unsaturated fats will be better on your overall health as it’s the saturated fats that are said to increase the risk of heart disease. One oil to be cautious of is palm oil. Even though this is an oil it has a high content of saturated fat and can be found in many processed foods.
How can i ensure that i eat my 5 servings of fruit or more a day, everyday?
The NZ guidelines recommend 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day (3 or more vegetable and 2 or more fruit) A serving portion is one that will fit into the palm of your hand.
Have a go at growing your own produce at home – this will save money while at the same time providing some physical activity and relaxation. If you need some support with growing your own fruit and vegetables, check out the support available in your community http://www.healthyas.org.nz/fresh-foods/grow-your-own/
Take advantage of the seasonal options; have a look at the local fruit tree map where you can help yourself to free produce http://www.healthyas.org.nz/fresh-foods/open-orchards/
Roadside bargains and markets (Farmers Markets, community markets) will also offer a variety of fruit and vegetables that will often be fresher and cheaper than in the shops.
Are the “light” oils lower in fat?
Be very careful when reading words on labels such as light, lower in fat, reduced etc.
Light may mean lighter in colour, flavour;
How much “lower in fat” is the product – the fat content may still be quite high; and “reduced” fat, what is it reduced from??
The best way to know if the oil is lower in fat, look at the 100g (ml) column on the Nutrition Information Panel. This will help you to compare different brands, then look at the total fat content and the saturated and unsaturated levels.
Remember all fats are high in calories so aim to keep total fat intake to a minimum as excess will be store as fat in your body and can lead to weight gain and obesity. When choosing the fat types, aim for unsaturated types over the saturated fats; it’s the saturated fats that are said to increase the risk of heart disease.
When I serve the family a meal, how much of the plate should be vegetables and how much should be meat? Are potatoes bad for me and my familiy??
Make at least 1/2 of the meal vegetables. Try to use vegetables of different colours- This will make the meal look more appealing. 1/4 of the plate is for the protein component, such as lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs,lentils. The last 1/4 of the plate is for the carbohydrate, such as potato, rice, past, bread (preferably wholegrain), kumera, taro etc.
Potatoes are a carbohydrate and contain great amounts of nutrients, so please include these in your diet. There are many ways to prepare the potato (mashed, boiled, baked, wedges etc) – just avoid added large amounts of extra fats and oils to them.
How do I get my children interested in eating vegetables?
The best way to encourage children to eat vegetables is to actively involve them to grow their own vegetables and help with cooking meals. By growing vegetables they are able to nurture the plants and harvest the produce they have grown. They can then develop new skills in the kitchen, experiment with new recipes and flavours which will encourage them to try new foods (and vegetable).
I would like to set up a vegetable garden at home but I need some help to set up the plot and what vegetables I should put in it which will grow easily. Where should I go to get some advice?
Try contacting the community garden in your area or joining the Home Garden Mentoring Programme. Information and contacts for these groups along with gardening information sheets can be located on the healthyas website:
Are the chips labelled “Baked not Fried” better for me?
Not necessarily. They can be still high in fat which is not helpful if you are trying to reduce your weight or overall health. Take some time to learn how to read the nutrition information panel using the 100g column, taking a close look at the fat content in this case – aim for less than 10g total fat per 100g.
How many serves of fruit and vegetables are we supposed to have? what is a serve size and do children have more or less??
The New Zealand guidelines recommend you eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day – Three or more servings of vegetables and two or more servings of fruit. This is the minimum reccomendation to maintain good health, so aim for more!
In response to your question on serve size. An easy tool to remember is 1 handful = 1 serve. You must use your own hand as everyone has differing hand size, for example a child’s hand will be smaller than an adults.
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