What I love about the PhunkyFoods philosophy is that nothing is seen as ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ when it comes to food and it’s all about having a go, finding balance and helping people to make sensible decisions.
In my relatively short time as a PhunkyFoods Engagement and Development Coordinator (EDC), I have learnt a great deal about my own eating habits and become so much more aware of the issues we can face when it comes to preparing meals and looking after our bodies.
So, how has working for PhunkyFoods impacted on me? Here are 5 ‘findings’ in no particular order…
1. Couscous is King
I am a couscous convert and had no idea it was so simple! Pour the grains into a jug, cover with boiling water and leave until absorbed. It has become my go-to quick and healthy meal and I add different ingredients each time. Families love making this in our cooking sessions.
2. Recipes are there to be adapted
In the past I’ve been put off by recipes with a very long list of ingredients. The PhunkyFoods recipes are easy to adapt and I’ve often changed things every time I’ve made them. Our ‘Tuna Couscous’ recipe is a great example of this (use spring onions instead of cooking ones) and ‘Space Rocks’ can have a whole host of different dried fruits and seeds. Also ‘Banana and Oat Cookies’ have three basic ingredients which you can then add any number of extra flavours to.
3. 5 a day needs commitment
I am now very aware of the need to eat fruit and vegetables throughout the day and that I wasn’t necessarily getting a variety of veg within my diet. Fruit has always felt like a natural snack but I am now just as likely to have some crudités (carrots, cucumber or celery) with soft cheese or a dip. They’re so easy to make and our website has plenty of tasty dip recipes such as ‘Pea and Mint Smash Up’.
4. Smoothies are simply great
And they’re a wonderful way to get your leafy greens without even tasting them. Making spinach and banana smoothies with children and seeing their faces change from trepidation to delight has been one of the highlights of my job.
5. It’s fun being a Sugar Detective
I am now fascinated by the sugar content in food and will always inspect labels before buying something. I find picturing 4g of sugar as a teaspoon is an excellent visual way to help with this and can be shocked by the amount lurking in unexpected foods such as low-fat yogurt. Children enjoy being detectives in our Drain your Drinks workshops.
To sum up, none of us are perfect when it comes to eating food and preparing meals and that’s absolutely fine. But it is important not to get stuck in a rut with our habits and be open to trying new things – whatever our age!
Rachel Walmsley, North Tyneside EDC.