Challenge 3. Healthy cooking
Better health and nutrition are an important part of the SDGs. Malnutrition doesn’t just mean “going hungry”, it also refers to diets that lack essential vitamins and minerals, so it is a problem all over the world. We all know the importance of healthy eating, so follow these handy tips to make your recipes more balanced and nutritious.
- Avoid processed foods as much as possible: try to use fresh, seasonal produce as the basis for your recipes and avoid highly-processed products, especially those that contain trans fats.
- Get some colour on your plate!: Add variety to your recipes. For example, the more colourful you make a salad the more nutritious it tends to be, as different colours mean different kinds of vitamins and nutrients are present. It’s easy to reach the 400g (5 portions) of fruits and vegetables that experts recommend we eat each day if you make sure to include them in all your meals.
- Check the ingredients: when you do need to use packaged products, make sure you check the list of ingredients and nutritional labels. Compare different kinds and choose the option with less additives or preservatives, more natural ingredients and lower levels of saturated fat, sodium and sugar.
- Reduce the amount of salt/ sodium: According to the World Health Organisation, limiting your salt intake to less than 5g (1 teaspoon) per day can help prevent hypertension and reduce the risk of strokes. Experiment with recipes that are low in salt and try new ways of adding flavour to your dishes.
- Boil, grill or steam food rather than frying: It’s not enough to simply eat less fatty foods, different types of fat can be more or less harmful to your health. Reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet by using vegetable oils instead of animal fats and boiling, grilling or steaming food instead of frying, and definitely make sure to avoid industrial trans fats (found in processed foods).
Your exact dietary needs will depend on factors like your age and the amount of physical activity you do, but there are simple things like these that all of us can be doing to ensure we have a healthier diet, avoid malnutrition and lower our risk of suffering from lifestyle diseases.