Below is my blog for the Irish Executives Network on how to create a healthy balance with food this summer. Balance is the key to ongoing health and wellbeing.
Getting the healthy balance right
I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the States this year and I’m gaining insight! Spending time in the American food scene gives me some great ideas for products and food branding, and an insight into trends coming our way. Yet my last few visits made me realise how important balance remains in creating an overall healthy diet.
We share a lot in common with the States. Our move forwards processed and on the go food, take out eating and increasing portion sizes follow a similar trend. Yet, our more ‘natural’ (to use an over-used and under-stood word) and smaller scale food production means there are differences: the lack of GMO, stricter rules on use of hormones/antibiotics and the fact that most of our livestock are usually raised on grass.
The States, similar to Ireland, have a growing awareness and desire for more connection to food. Farmers markets are on the rise. During my trip to San Diego, I had over 20 markets to choose from. California grows a massive amount of fresh fruits and vegetables each year. My trip to Vale allowed me to taste some the nicest food I’ve ever had in the States, with innovative cooking and perfect portion sizes.
Given this supply of fresh food, growing connection to the farmer and the land, a relatively affordable range of good quality produce, I felt there might be a change in the air.
And yet, something isn’t right. I notice this across the board when it comes to creating healthy balance in people’s eating habits. A healthy balance way of eating is an incredibly simple idea that has become complicated beyond measure. It’s about eating a wide variety of fresh ingredients and eating whole foods. It involves cooking yourself whenever possible, managing portion size through balanced meals and minimising your processed food intake. It can be that simple.
And this is where my trip to the States and my work with my clients continues. Even with the best of ingredients, if we are cooking them poorly, not keeping our portions under control, eating too much of one type of food or food group, we will start of notice changes in our health. It’s always come down to balance.
So, yes, my salad in a San Diego waterside restaurant tasted good, was from local farmers and freshly prepared that day. However, what mattered more was that it would have easily fed three people, had a large amount of calorie rich dressing on it and had a piece of chicken the size of a turkey on it. Get it?