April 2014: Nutrition
Our topic in April was Nutrition, and Morna Murphy from Harrogate Nutrition shared some of her top tips with us.
These days, it’s easy to set yourself up as a nutritionist or food adviser and give out advice. However, Morna told us she used to work as a scientist before her interest in food and nutrition led to a change in direction. She has a diploma in nutritional therapy and is a member of the Institute of Optimum Nutrition.
Everything Morna told us had a good scientific foundation, from the reasons why eating too much sugar can cause you to gain weight to the benefits of maintaining steady blood sugar levels throughout the day. We found out that although the latest advice is to eat seven or even ten pieces of fruit and veg every day, in fact it is better if most of these are veg because fruit contains much more sugar. Equally, drinking too much coffee can play havoc with our energy levels, so limiting our caffeine intake will help to keep everything in balance.
There were plenty of questions for Morna at the end: everything from feeding growing children to the need for dairy in our diets was covered. To finish the evening off, Morna had brought a selection of snacks which many of us believed were healthy. While some certainly were, others contained large amounts of sugar – often hidden in things like dried fruit – which would cause our blood sugar levels to rise rapidly and then fall later on. She encouraged us to check food labels when we shop, and opt for items with no more than 10% sugar, in order to maintain good energy levels throughout the day.
As young WI members, most of us have hectic lives, working hard, running around after children and dealing with our many commitments. It’s easy to fall into the trap of eating the wrong things because we don’t spend enough time planning ahead and buying the right food, and we feel the need for that sugar hit. Morna helped us to stop and think about what we’re eating and what it’s doing to our bodies, our energy and our health – and to make better choices in future.