How to Easily Get Five Serves of Fruit and Vegetables a Day

5-a-dayThe latest food recommendation is to have 5 serves of fruit and vegetables a day. This may seem difficult for some people, especially those who don’t like vegetables, or just prefer to eat other things. Fresh fruit and vegetables are not only healthy, they actively fight off certain diseases such as cancer, so it’s a good idea to make sure you include them in your diet.Here are a few easy ways to get the vegetable and fruit you need each and every day.

  • Juice them – there are many great recipes for smoothies on the internet. You can combine fruit and vegetables to give you a refreshing drink packed full of vitamins and other essential, health giving nutrients. Try combinations of apples, carrots, oranges, celery and spinach. Add berries, beetroot or broccoli. Use the type of juicer that doesn’t waste the fibre, but includes it in the juice.
  • Add them to breakfast. Fruit, especially is great with cereal. Try slicing a banana over oatmeal or cold cereal or add berries, peach slices or any other fruit you like.
  • Have fruit and/or vegetables for snacks. Keep prepared carrot and celery sticks in the refrigerator so they are handy to grab. Add an apple, banana or other fruit you like.
  • Banana sandwiches are a delightful end to a light meal. But they have to be prepared and eaten quickly, or the banana goes brown.
  • Having tinned fruit salad? Add some fresh fruit to it, to make it taste especially good. Diced apple, sliced bananas, fresh mandarin segments, berries, and sliced peaches are all great choices. Better still, make your own fresh fruit salad.
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4 Tips to Get the Best Out of Your Food

Best-out-of-MealsWhile we all know the importance of a healthy diet, it is sometimes easy to forget that even the healthiest of foods can be spoiled by poor cooking, the addition of other less healthy accompaniments and even by the way we eat. Here are some tips to ensure you get all the nutrients possible from your healthy diet.

  • Cooking – never overcook vegetables. They should be lightly steamed or sautéed to ensure all the nutrients remain in them. Boiling them reduces the nutrients most of which are tipped down the sink along with the water. Juicing vegetables is a good way to ensure a healthy addition to your diet, especially if there are some goodies you don’t actually like. Mixed in with other vegetables you’ll never notice the taste. Eating them raw is also a good way to keep all the nutrients from being spoiled by heat. However, not everyone can eat veggies raw and light cooking does make the nutrients more easily available in some cases.
  • Less healthy additions – these can be added by the way you cook, e.g. frying vegetables or meat means they absorb some of the fat. Even frying in olive oil is not as good as steaming. Even though olive oil is a ‘good’ fat, heating changes it to some extent, although not as much as heating other kinds of vegetable oils.
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Pros and Cons of Dieting

DietingThere have never been so many different diets around and yet we know that many people suffer from being overweight. If the media is to be believed the western world is suffering from the worst plague of all eating disorders - obesity. Most people – women at least – have tried dieting at some time in their lives. Sometimes they achieve their goal to lose weight; sometimes they don’t.  The main trouble is the weight usually goes back on once the diet is no longer followed.This must tell us that what people have for their ‘normal’ food is not good for them, causing excessive weight gain that is bad for their health. And yet, even this is not the whole story. In some cases we have the kind of jobs that don’t allow us to have enough exercise to burn off those calories, but still make us too tired to do any kind of exercise after work is done for the day. Or in some cases we are too busy doing other essentials like housework and supervising children to hit the gym or go jogging.This is where dieting comes in. Once that weight starts to become more noticeable we look around for ways to reduce it. But is dieting really the answer?  Here are some pros and cons of dieting.Pros

  • It does in some cases help to get unhealthy weight off.
  • It gives us a feeling of control because we are doing something to make us healthier.
  • We learn more about healthy nutrition as we research which diet to go on.
  • We become more aware of what we eat.
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How to Get the Best Cake

best-cakeDo you spend your days wondering what cake you’ll buy next, or dreaming of the delicious morsels of cake you had last time you were at Gran’s place? It is not easy to get good cake with just the right amount of moisture - and the flavour that you could die for.Making a cake is a skill that not many people have, but it’s not impossible, so don’t despair. It is all the fault of the education system that took basic cooking out of high schools and replaced it with the science of cooking, a much more complicated subject in which students rarely did any cooking. When they did it was some amazingly exotic food that looked wonderful and tasted disgusting.(more…)

7 Tips for Budget Friendly Meals

Budget-Friendly-MealsJust think how much you would be able to save if you didn’t have to eat. Sometimes it seems as if you are spending money on food every time you turn around. Unfortunately, there is no real alternative; if you want to live you must eat. That said, there are several ways to save money when buying food, so if you want to give your budget and lift, try some of the following tips.

  • Get organised – planning your weekly meals ahead of time will enable you to know exactly what you need, rather than buying food on impulse that could well go bad before you can use it up. Even if you don’t want to be quite that organised, just in case you planned a roast dinner for midweek and the temperatures soar to the mid forties so no one feels like eating it, let alone cooking it, you can have some alternatives in the pantry. Or you could check the temperatures ahead of time so you don’t plan a hot meal for a hot day.
  • Shop around to get the best bargains. That said, if your supermarket options are along way apart, what you spend on fuel could well negate the savings on specials. However, farmers’ markets are often a great place to shop for fresh fruit and vegetables. Go early for the freshest, especially in hot weather if it is held outside. Shopping late in the day or close to shut up shop time at supermarkets can get you some great bargains.
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Old Fashioned Food Favourites Still a Hit

lemon-butter-sliceWhile not many young people make cakes or slices from a basic recipe any more, often they are so quick and simple that it’s no more trouble to cook them than it is to make up a packet cake, especially when there are only five ingredients. If you decide to throw together a homemade slice your family are sure to come back for seconds, but that’s okay; home cooking is much healthier than anything processed and packet cakes come under that heading.Besides, making your own cakes is fun and satisfying, knowing you’ve created food from scratch that is much healthier than any processed food and tastes better as well. Many recipes found in magazines these days seem to be complicated and have ingredients that have to be searched for and bought especially. But when the ingredients can almost always be found in the pantry it all becomes a lot simpler. All you really need is a set of measuring scales so the quantities will be right.(more…)

5 Ways to Cut Cooking Time in Half

Cooking-TimeIf you are a working mum and your other half doesn’t do any cooking, you might find yourself getting into the habit of buying convenience foods to cut down on your workload, especially in the hot weather when no one wants to be slaving over a hot stove. However, even though kids love junk food, it is really bad for their health and yours too, so how can you get healthy meals without spending every night cooking?It is easy to cut your cooking time in half with a little organisation.

  • For a start, having salads means you don’t have to cook at all, unless you love to make your own potato salad from scratch. That’s okay; it’s easy to cube the potatoes and shove them in the microwave, then throw some mayonnaise over them. It hardly counts as cooking. Besides, you don’t actually have to have potato salad.
  • You can alternate a cooked meal with a salad; that’s one option. There is another one though. Cook twice as much and have the leftovers the next night. These can be either the same meal or made up into another kind of meal. For instance, if you have three cupfuls of cooked, diced vegetables left over, you can beat some eggs, add the veggies and make vegetable fritters to go with some salad. Even though you still have to cook the fritters, it is not as much effort as cooking meat and vegetables for a full meal.
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How to Stay Safe from Food Poisoning

Food-PoisoningIn the rush to get a meal on the table or prepare food for a family party, it is easy to become careless or just not think about food safety issues. Food poisoning is not only unpleasant; it can also be life-threatening, especially in hot weather when dehydration can occur very quickly. Here are some tips to avoiding food poisoning.

  • Always make sure you purchase fresh food. If you purchase food on a sale, look at the use by date and make sure you will use it before then, especially meat.
  • If it is going to take you longer than a few minutes to get food home, store it in an esky bag with ice bricks under and on top of it.
  • If meat doesn’t still feel cool when you get home, cook it immediately and use it up quickly.
  • When preparing meat and vegetables, keep them separate. This means using different chopping boards and utensils. Or you could prepare the vegetables first, then use the same things to prepare the meat.
  • Never use utensils or plates that were used in the preparation of meat for handling it after it is cooked. This can transfer particles of raw meat or the juices from it onto the cooked meat.
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Simple Ways to Use Up Fruit and Vegetables

Fruit-and-VegetablesFruit is a very healthy food that everyone should eat more of. However, children are known for their finicky tastes and what they ate all last week they may refuse the next week. This can leave you with fruit that is in danger of becoming overripe. Rather than waste it, here are some easy ways to use it up.

  • Some fruit such as apples and stone fruit can be stewed and frozen. It will then be ready to make pies with, whenever you have time or feel like it.
  • Oranges and other citrus fruit can be juiced and frozen into drinks or popsicles for the children to enjoy on a hot day.
  • If you intend to keep frozen fruit juice or mash, you need to add sugar as a preservative.
  • Tomatoes sometimes get ripe quickly. They can be grilled on toast, added to soups or stews – or many other dishes. You can make them into tomato relish or even tomato jam.
  • Bananas can be used up by cooking them into banana bread or muffins. They can also be baked and used as dessert.
  • Juicing fruit and vegetables is a good way to use them up quickly, so long as you like the taste of the drink.
  • If your vegetables are starting to go limp, make up a soup or stew with them. You can usually put more in than the recipe says.
  • Fruit can be diced and made into a fruit salad for dessert. If you only have one or two pieces, they can be added to tinned fruit salad for extra taste.
  • Apples can be baked whole.
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