What is a ‘healthy plate’?

Published by Sydney O'Connor on

Recently, we partnered up with sports and exercise nutritionist Ann-Marie Buyan for our online exercise classes for older adults. Each live class is followed by a ‘zoom cafe’, where you have a chit chat, as you would, in a normal class. As requested by the participants, we are bringing on experts like Anne Marie to share insights into healthy living and deliver interactive sessions in the classes.

For those who can’t attend the nutrition chats, we’ll give you a flavour (pun intended) of each session through our blog, give you an overview of the topic and share the recipes discussed . Feel free to email sydney@yourbackyard.org.uk with any recipes or foodie creations of our own, and we may include you in the post!

Session 1: A Healthy Plate

In this session, we looked at the concept of the balanced food plate, and then focused the discussion on fruit and vegetables. 

Ann-Marie explained that changes occur in the body as we age. For example, our skin becomes less efficient at absorbing vitamin D from the sun, we tend to experience muscle loss and our bones become less strong. This makes a healthy diet even more important, as we can mitigate some of these effects through our food choices.

There are 5 main food groups on the ‘eatwell plate’, those being: fruits and vegetables, fats and spreads, dairy and alternatives, protein and starchy carbs. Of all the food groups, fruits and vegetables is the largest portion. 

Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of vitamins and minerals which are essential for good health. You may have heard the phrase: ‘eat the rainbow’ when it comes to fruit and veg. This is because each colour indicates different vitamins which they contain, so by eating a variety of colours you consume a variety of vitamins. What you may not have heard is that brightly coloured fruits and veggies (like oranges, beetroot, strawberries and broccoli) are the most dense in vitamins and minerals, so try to include these to get the most bang for your buck!

Ann-Marie did some myth busting in the session. Some people say that canned and frozen fruits and vegetables aren’t as good as fresh, but this isn’t the case. They’re just as good, and also more convenient! And although lightly boiled/ steamed is the cooking choice that will keep most of the nutrients in vegetables, the best way to cook them is to your preference, as you’re more likely to eat and enjoy them that way. 

Although ‘5 a day’ is commonly said to be the amount of portions we should be eating, 5 is actually the minimum amount we should consume for good health. Although this may seem like a lot, there are lots of ways you can incorporate more portions into each of your meals. Here’s a few ideas we came up with in the session:

  • Breakfast: fruit in porridge and cereal, carrot cake oats, eggs with spinach, glass of orange juice
  • Lunch: vegetable soups with vegetable scones for dipping 
  • Dinner: roasted veg in sauce
  • Dessert: fruit salads, greek yogurt and fruit
  • Snacks: homemade hummus with vegetable sticks 

Links to recipes:

Ann-Marie’s Carrot Cake Porridge

Jean’s Vegetable Scones (great for dipping into soup!)

Your creations:

Carrot cake porridge a plenty:

Lyn made the carrot cake porridge- with a twist. She had no cinnamon so doubled up on the ginger, and added a bit of ice cream. It looked delicious, and received good reviews from the husband!

Vegetable muffins: beats bread for dipping any day of the week!

Jan’s been cooking up some excellent grub recently, look at the colours and sauce drizzle on these:

If you don’t want to miss the next topic, fiber, sign up to receive the link to the nutrition course and our exercise schedule here.

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