Make food a family affair

Last updated 05:00 07/06/2014

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We do you think needs to be done in New Zealand to fight rising obesity rates? Helen Moverley says it's all about healthy choices.

Knowledge of food and nutrition helps people make healthy choices.

I have taught Adult Community Education 'healthy cooking on a budget' classes for the last seven years and find all my participants enjoy learning more about food and making healthy changes.

The bonus is they really enjoy learning how to save money on their food budget and still eat well, making meals the whole family will eat.

I appreciate the wisdom my parents passed on, as they grew and sold fruit and vegetables for 40 years.

As part of a large family, I helped in all aspects of garden maintenance, harvesting and selling in our roadside stall so developed a great knowledge of seasonal fruit and vegetables.

Being part of a large family meant we worked together and ate together.  

The seasonal fruit and vegetables we grew were the main part of each meal, baked beans were a staple (excellent protein with the beans), meat was eaten regularly but always as a small serving. Vegetables were the star of each meal!

Meals were always social, food was shared with all who arrived for a meal, therefore serving sizes were small when teenagers invited friends.

I learned food preparation skills from watching my mother, I was always amazed how she made a meal expand, for example, a roast or casserole with many delicious extras and a variety of vegetables, gravy, dumplings.

I like the initiatives of establishing gardens in all schools and in conjunction with community houses so students and their families have the opportunity to learn the skills of tending a garden, then making meals to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

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