Westlake Wellness – Basic Food Facts

There is so much information available around food, how it impacts our health, when, where and what we should eat. Some information is relevant and truthful but much of the information available is loosely based on fact or an individual’s interpretation of facts. 

Here are some facts:

Eggs are really nutritious – they are a great for a quick snack or meal

Sugary drinks provide high levels of energy, contributing to obesity and the risk of diabetes – avoid them, they also contribute to dental decay. Fruit juice is almost as bad, so drink water

Carbohydrates do not make you fat, they are our bodies preferred energy source, wholegrain versions provide fibre and nutrients such as B group vitamins. They are the staple food in many cultures, are usually very cheap, versatile and easy to prepare.

Vegetables and fruit are like medicine, they provide the vitamins and minerals required for many processes in the body.  Without them you are more susceptible to illness, you feel lethargic and meals are more boring. Tinned or frozen they still provide high levels of good nutrition, aiming for low salt/sugar. Alternatively you only need a very small space to grow vegetables, try perpetual spinach (you just pick off what you need) to add to meals and smoothies.

You will not “starve” if you do not eat for 2-3 hours, in fact it is quite good to feel hungry between meals as it is a natural body response to remind you to refuel. Take your time to think about what you actually want to eat, try to eat at appropriate times and appreciate what you have.

Health encompasses mental health, spiritual health, physical health and social health. Focus on maintaining all areas of your health, not just one small aspect.

Be careful of health claims on foods, if a food manufacturer is having to make a claim, check it. Use the nutrition information panel and the ingredient list. Can the company prove the claim? Is it really going to make a huge difference to your wellbeing? Or are you spending money for little benefit?

Avoid highly processed foods, they look nice due to the colours added and taste great because of all the flavouring added, often there is very little real nutrition left.

Nutrition and activity guidelines for New Zealanders

Elizabeth Beaumont- Food Technology