Here at musclesforwomen.com, we can help you to provide your family with balanced diet advice and guidelines in a number of ways:
• We can suggest products which are readily available in both supermarkets and local shops – there is no need to search for specialist shops and hunt through their shelves,
• these products are known to the family and so will be easily accepted, whereas something that is unusual often causes suspicion and rejection,
• these products are convenient to use,
• all the dried fruits suggested are succulent, and remain so – they do not become crystallized or hard,
• there is no wastage,
• these products can be kept in the store-cupboard ready for use at a moment’s notice at any time of the day – breakfast, lunch, tea, supper, for packed meals or a snack, for the family or for entertaining,
• these products are extremely versatile -they can be used in sweet or savoury dishes, simple or haute cuisine, in all meals of the day,
• last, but by no means least, these products are nutritious.
Ready-to-eat figs, no-need-to-soak apricots and prunes, stoned dates, dessert dates, chopped dates, dried fruit salad, sultanas, currants, seedless raisins, stoned raisins and dried fruit mixture.
The removal of the water from the fruits concentrates their goodness with the result that they become an important source of nutrients.
All dried fruits are good sources of unrefined, natural sugar, particularly fructose. This is absorbed into the body especially quickly and so provides an almost instant supply of energy.
When sweetening dishes, use dried fruits rather than packeted sugar which only provides empty calories. Dried fruits provide nutrients and fibre, as well as adding flavour and texture.
The important vitamins in dried fruits are vitamin A and the vitamin B group, and they can contribute valuable amounts of the minerals, iron (in a very easily digestible form), calcium and copper to the diet.
Dried fruits contain no fat.
Red Split Lentils
These provide protein, B vitamins, iron, potassium and fibre. Their carbohydrate is of the unrefined type and they are not high in calories.
To, gain maximum value from their protein, they should be served with milk, cheese, meat, fish, eggs or nuts.
Dried Peas and Butter Beans
Marrowfat, yellow split and no-soak peas and butter beans. These are rich in iron, potassium, the B group of vitamins and protein. They are low in fat and unrefined carbohydrate and are, therefore, low in calories, only 26 calories per 1 oz (25 g) when cooked.
As with red split lentils, they should be eaten with milk, cheese, meat, fish, brown rice, eggs or nuts to gain full benefit from their protein.
Oats and Oatmeal
These are rich in vitamin B1 (thiamine), protein, iron, phosphorus and calcium.
They are much more nutritious than processed breakfast cereals although, of course, their use should not be confined just to breakfast time. They can be used in or on puddings, stirred into casseroles or soups, used as a coating for grilled and baked meats or fish and with vegetables, in stuffings and in cakes and biscuits. The proteins in milk are complementary to those in oats and oatmeal.
When used in soups, stews and casseroles not only will pearl barley thicken them, but it will add a new and interesting flavour and texture as well as providing some protein, minerals and B vitamins.
Brown rice is an unrefined ‘whole grain’, from which only the inedible outer husk has been removed. The inner brown layer is left on which not only provides fibre, but also contains valuable amounts of the B vitamins, minerals and some protein. To gain full value from this protein, serve brown rice with cheese, cottage cheese, yoghurt, milk, eggs, dried peas and beans. It also contains some minerals and members of the B group of vitamins.
When cooked, brown rice is slightly less ‘fluffy’ than white rice, but it has a more interesting chewy texture and a slightly nutty taste. Brown rice, which comes from Surinam, takes about 25-30 minutes to cook. This is less than many other brown rices.
Selection, storage, preparation and cooking of foods
The storage, preparation and cooking of food can considerably affect its nutritional contribution to the diet.
Losses, particularly of vitamins, occur:
• During the storage of food when it is influenced by heat and light,
• through damage, such as bruising,
• by cutting,
• during cooking by the action of heat, or by dissolving in water,
• during the interval between the end of cooking and serving.
In order to provide the maximum food value:
Choose fruit and vegetables that are free from blemishes and bruises and which look fresh, with no signs of wilting or discolouration through age, buy fruit and vegetables that have been kept in cool conditions and away from direct light, at home, store fruit and vegetables in a cool, ventilated place away from direct light. Green vegetables can lose up to half their vitamin C content, if left in a sunny, warm place, use the foods as soon as possible after purchase,
• do not prepare fruit and vegetables until they are needed, peel only if necessary, using a sharp knife to minimize the damage to the surface, wash and dry quickly and only if necessary,
• eat fruit and vegetables raw or, if cooking, steam or cook quickly in the minimum amount of water until just tender. Do not throw the water away as it will contain the dissolved vitamins – use it in gravies or sauces or eat along with the vegetables.
• serve immediately the food is ready.