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Celebrating Food Safety Day: A Healthy and Safe Culinary Journey!



Hey there! 🙋 ♀️

What's up? I hope you are doing well! 😀


Today is June 7th, "World Food Safety Day." According to WHO, this year’s theme is “Food standards save lives”. Annually, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and WHO collaborate to raise awareness about the significance of adhering to good quality and safe food practices. Their objective is to draw attention to the challenges related to food safety and foodborne illnesses, while also promoting the consumption of safe and nutritious food. 🥦🍎


Have you heard the famous phrase,

“You are what you eat”?

And while you look after the growth of your tween, make special notes about what they eat, what they should eat and how much they should eat. During this crucial growth spurt, their nutrient needs balance, necessitating a well-rounded diet that includes vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Good nutrition fuels their physical growth and plays a vital role in brain development, cognitive function, and maintaining hormonal balance. By establishing healthy eating habits during this stage, we can help prevent chronic diseases in the long run and promote mental well-being by reducing the risk of issues like depression and anxiety. Moreover, a nutritious diet provides the energy required for physical activity and sports performance, enabling teenagers to excel in their endeavours. 🫐🥑


When it comes to teenagers transitioning from childhood, there are specific food items that promote mental health and hormonal balance. Some of these food items include:


  • Cruciferous/Cabbage-family vegetables: Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fibre, and phytochemicals, which assist the liver in metabolizing hormones like estrogen. Additionally, they offer protection against certain cancers/tumours and inflammation.


  • Salmon and albacore tuna: Fatty fish such as salmon and albacore tuna are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential nutrients support brain development and function. Omega-3s also influence the production and activity of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in regulating mood. Moreover, they may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.

Credits: freepik


  • Fruits and vegetables (preferably organic): Including various fruits and vegetables in the diet provides essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, which support both physical and mental health. They help combat oxidative damage, inflammation, infections, and chronic diseases. Additionally, they play a role in modulating the gut microbiome, which impacts mood and behavior.


  • High-fibre carbohydrates: Whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds are examples of high-fibre carbohydrates. They contribute to regulating blood sugar levels, which can affect mood and energy levels. Furthermore, they provide prebiotics, which serves as nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome influences the production of neurotransmitters and hormones that impact mood.

Credits: freepik

  • Avocados: These are fruits that contain healthy fats, fibre, potassium, magnesium and vitamin E. They can help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, support brain health and reduce oxidative stress. They may also enhance mood by increasing the availability of serotonin in the brain.


  • Prebiotics and probiotics: Prebiotics and probiotics promote a healthy gut microbiome. Prebiotics can be found in high-fibre foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Probiotics are live microorganisms present in fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. These substances help restore the balance of gut flora, which in turn affects mood, cognition, immunity, and hormonal balance.

Credits: freepik

Building on the importance of proper nutrition for teenagers and kids transitioning to teenagers, it's crucial to pay attention to the quality and freshness of the food we consume. Often, we overlook the expiration dates when shopping or ordering food online. However, it's essential to develop the habit of checking the manufacturing and expiration dates. If you come across a product that is expired, don't hesitate to voice your concerns, complain, or request a replacement or refund. As a consumer, it's your right to receive fresh and safe food when paying the full amount.


Now, let's consider the shelf lives of everyday household food items. By being aware of these shelf lives, we can ensure that the food we provide to kids/teenagers is not only nutritious but also safe to consume. This attention to freshness and quality aligns with the goal of supporting their growth, development, and overall well-being. So, let's combine our efforts to make informed choices regarding the food we eat and maintain a healthy lifestyle for teenagers during their transition to adulthood.

Here are the shelf lives of everyday household food items:

Dairy Products:

  • Milk pouch (unopened): 2 days (Make sure to pasteurize it)

  • Yoghurt: 1-2 weeks

  • Hard cheese: Within 6 days

  • Soft cheese: 1-2 weeks

  • Butter (if refrigerated): 1-3 months

  • Cooked Tofu: 1 day


Condiments:

  • Ketchup: 1-2 years

  • Mustard: 1-2 years

  • Soy sauce: 2-3 years


Grains and Pasta:

  • Rice (uncooked): The oldest, the better

  • Pasta: 1-2 years

  • Flour: 6-8 months

  • Bread: 2-5 days

Credits: freepik

  • Freshly Squeezed Citrus Juice: Consume within 5 hours of extraction

  • Freshly Cut Fruits: Consume within 3 hours

  • Fresh Herbs: Best used within 1-2 days (make sure to keep sprinkling water on it to prevent it from drying)

  • Cooked Seafood: Best consumed within 1-2 days

  • Homemade Smoothies: Best enjoyed within 5 hours

  • Fresh Berries (Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries): Best consumed within 1-2 days

  • Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Lettuce): Consume within 1-2 days

  • Homemade Salad Dressings: Best used within 3 hours.

Credits: freepik

Additionally, it's important to address the common challenge of resisting junk food. We are all aware of the detrimental effects it has on both children and adults, yet we often struggle to resist its temptations. However, in our commitment to supporting their growth, development, and overall well-being, we can explore healthier alternatives to junk food.


Here are a few options for healthy alternatives that you can consider instead of eating junk foods:

  • Baked sweet potato fries, baked zucchini or carrot sticks, or oven-baked crispy chickpeas instead of deep-fried French fries. It provides more fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can support your digestion, immunity and skin health.

  • Baked kale chips, baked beet chips, or air-popped popcorn (without excessive butter or salt) instead of potato chips. They offer more fibre, vitamin C, iron, folate and phytochemicals that can protect against inflammation, oxidative stress and chronic diseases.

  • Frozen yoghurt (low-fat or Greek yoghurt-based), homemade fruit sorbet, or blended frozen banana "nice cream" instead of ice cream. It provides more protein, calcium and probiotics that can support your bone health, muscle growth and gut health.

Credits: freepik

  • Dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher), energy balls made with nuts, dates, natural sweeteners, or dried fruit or fresh fruit slices instead of candy bars. It provides more antioxidants, magnesium, iron and healthy fats that can improve your mood, blood pressure and heart health.

  • Healthier burger options like grilled chicken or turkey burgers with whole-grain buns, veggie burgers, or lettuce wrap burgers instead of fast food burgers. It provides more lean protein, fibre and micronutrients that can support your metabolism, weight management and immune system.

  • Whole wheat or cauliflower crust pizza with vegetable toppings, Portobello mushroom caps topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and veggies, or homemade mini-pizzas using whole-grain pita bread or tortillas instead of refined-flour pizzas. It provides more fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K and phytochemicals that can support your blood sugar control, cholesterol levels and liver health.

Credits: freepik

  • Swap mayonnaise with healthier alternatives like Greek yoghurt-based dressings, avocado spread, or homemade hummus for a flavorful and nutritious twist. It prevents or reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, fatty liver, and metabolic syndrome.

  • Drink infused water with cucumber, lemon, mint, unsweetened iced tea or green tea, or freshly squeezed fruit juice in moderation instead of sugary drinks. It provides hydration, boosts the immune system, skin and brain health, prevents Vitamin C deficiency, and improves insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism and weight management.

This Food Safety Day, pledge to not only prioritize your health but also the well-being of your loved ones by making informed choices about the food you consume, practising proper food handling and storage techniques, and promoting a culture of food safety in your community.


Stay safe and healthy!

Best regards,

Bonani Gupta

Counselling Psychologist

Trumsy


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