I am thoroughly enjoying all that I am learning in my Masters course. It has been a hard slog these past few weeks balancing everything but I am nearing the end of trimester one and am starting to get into the swing of being a student (plus Mummy and part time worker) once again! Of course there are never enough hours in the day, but …
I am also excited to report that what I am learning, be it the fundamentals and building blocks at this early stage, has already started coming out in my cooking. I haven’t compromised on taste or wow factor but I am consciously more aware of what our bodies need, what is myth and what is fact and am more confident in the choices I am making when it comes to feeding my family.
I thought maybe you might find some of what I am learning interesting as well and will, from time to time, share it here with you on the blog. To be clear, I am sharing and not preaching! You make the choices for what is right for you. Anyhow, let’s kick things off with fats.
Not all fats are bad, in fact some are necessary. Overall it is important to have a diet that is low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol (think butter or coconut oil, fat on meat, skin on chicken or highly processed foods), and moderate in total fat while still ensuring we are consuming the good oil!
The human body needs fatty acids and can actually manufacture all but two of them itself – linoleic acid and alpha-lonolenic acid, commonly known as Omega 6 and Omega 3 respectively. We need to get these from the food we consume and they are therefore known as “essential fatty acids” because we don’t produce and must consume them.
Research into Omega 3 fats has highlighted the beneficial effects consuming them has on reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, preventing blood clots and lowering blood pressure – so it is important to get some into our diets!
They are also essential in the growth and development of your little ones. In the first 2 years of a child’s life neurological development is particularly rapid. Research studies have shown that restriction of fat intake during that time may interfere with optimal energy intake and reduce the supply of essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3 LCPUFAs needed by developing nervous tissue, adversely affecting growth and development.
One of the richest sources of these essential fatty acids is FISH, especially oily fish such as salmon. As well as being delicious it is nutritious, providing energy (kilojoules), protein, selenium, zinc, iodine and vitamins A and D (some species only) as well as omega-3 LCPUFAs.
Need to get some more of the good oil into your diet?
Try these Thai-inspired salmon patties. I divided the mixture into 2 portions. The first portion was cooked “as is” for the little bloke and to the second portion I added 2 birds eye chilis and 2 lge red chilis, finely chopped, spicing it up into a more “grown up” version for Andrew and I.
They are fantastic served warm with a light salad and are equally good cold as leftovers in the lunch-box the next day. Cooked portions also freeze well and can be kept for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Thai Salmon Patties
500g potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 egg, beaten
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 piece ginger, 2.5cm, chopped
400g salmon, roasted and flaked
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1 cup coriander, (incl roots) finely chopped
1 cup Thai basil, finely chopped
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp sesame seeds
- For this recipe you can either prepare all ingredients first (chop etc) and then combine in a large bowl and mix well until combined or add all ingredients “as is” to a food processor and process to combine.
- Form into patties of desired size and a thickness of 2-3cm. Roll in sesame seeds.
- Heat a cast iron pan on a medium heat, gently fry each patty for 3-4 minutes each side until golden.
- For a tasty dipping sauce combine 2 parts lime juice with 2 part fish sauce and some chopped fresh herbs such as lemongrass, coriander and thai basil. Works equally well as a salad dressing.
** If you make 20 patties they will be approximately 65g each which is quite large. I tend to get 30-40 patties out of the mixture keeping them smaller and more bite sized.
** For information on recommended dietary intake of essential fatty acid containing foods visit: Australia: www.eatforhealth.gov.au (http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-children-adolescents-and)