Food, nutrition and our environment - whats the link?

Food, nutrition and our environment

I challenge you to walk into your local supermarket and guess what time of year it is, just from the food on display. We have year-round access to a huge variety of fruit and vegetables but isn’t that a good thing? From both our environments perspective and our health I would argue its not. We are all aware of the food miles strawberries have to travel in December and let’s be honest how tasteless they are and they like many fruit and veg lose nutrients during their long journey. In the winter months, many fruit and veg are best eaten frozen or even tinned, the freezing process retaining the nutrients, so they are actually better for us as well as the environment.

The UK has the highest consumption of ready meals in Europe – not a fact to be proud of, but its also a fact that the more processed a food is, the worse it is for the environment and the worse it is for us from a nutrition perspective too. All that processing involves energy, water, waste and the use a lot of plastic. We know the more processed a food is, the more the cell walls of the original ingredients have been broken down and so the energy is that much more accessible to our digestive systems, not to mention the nutrients that have been stripped out like fibre and vitamins during processing.

This is a huge and complex topic, but I hope you will stop and think about how you could make some small sustainable changes in the way you eat, find simple recipes to cook from scratch, try and cook with seasonal produce, reduce your waste and reduce the amount of processed foods you eat. Good food Oxford - have a charter we can all sign up to, with ideas on how to change our eating habits for our health, where to source food, help reduce food poverty and the future of our planet.

Christmas party survivial guide

Christmas party survival guide – how to survive the season of joy and overindulgence

Christmas is a time to catch up with our friends and family and feast on delicious food and drink but most of us put on an average of 2lbs over Christmas and often find it hard to lose, so here are a few tips to help you have a healthier festive season.

Research has shown alcohol increases appetite and diminishes self-control, so try not to party on an empty stomach. Have a snack before you go to a party, a pot of natural yogurt and banana or bowl of wholegrain cereal, so you aren’t ravenous on arrival. Don't be tempted to skip meals so you can stockpile calories for drinking. Alcohol only supplies ‘empty calories’, so avoiding proper meals to compensate for a booze splurge means you're losing out on valuable nutrients, just when your body needs them. To help prevent a hangover, stick to one type of drink and I make it a lighter-coloured one because they tend to be lower in the chemical by-products that can worsen a hangover. Aim to have no more than one alcoholic drink an hour, alternated with juice, water or soft drinks – perfect if you don't like holding an empty glass.

Drink plenty before you go to bed if you have over done it, dehydration is a large part of feeling hungover.

Be buffet savvy, make and effort not to stand near the buffet table, the more visible choice we have the more it stimulates our appetite. The nearer you stand the easier it is to mindlessly eat. Try and pick vegetable and protein options and then wait at least 10 mins before you return. It takes that long for the stomach to register being full. Always try and eat well the morning after, omelettes with veg or porridge with berries and nuts and seeds are ideal.

Finally, be as active as you can, plan family walks, indulge in a bit of dad or mum dancing or play some active games.

Happy Christmas!

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