What is Healthy Eating?
On a recent overseas trip that took in both Italy and Barbados, I was struck by the stark difference in
the diet and nutrition of the two countries. While Italians enjoy a diet of easily affordable fresh local
seasonal produce, the Barbadians have to make do with a diet of expensive imported and highly
processed foods, often high in fats, salt, and sugar. Fresh fruit, vegetables and meat are rare and
expensive, with most locals forced to buy canned products. Canned meat is highly processed and
high in salt and fat, while canned fruit often contains an excessive amount of sugar. These foods
are having an alarming effect on the health of the nation. The rates for diabetes, stroke and heart
disease are amongst the highest in the world, and growing at an alarming rate.
A Mediterranean diet by contrast, has long been considered effective in the fight against diabetes,
obesity and heart disease. In Australia we have access to relatively affordable fresh local produce,
so unlike the people of Barbados, it is easily within our reach to enjoy healthy eating Mediterranean
A couple of simple tips to healthy eating from the Italians
Eat fresh seasonal produce
That means asparagus in spring, peaches in summer, oranges in winter, sweet corn in summer, apples in
autumn. Is there anything more simple and beautiful than late summer tomatoes with fresh torn basil drizzled
with a fruity olive oil? Seasonal, simple and healthy.
Eat your carbs during the day.
Obviously Italians love pasta, but in most Italian homes it would be served for lunch, the main meal of the day,
and as it would be an entrée, the serve would be small.
Keep your meat portions moderate.
Italians nearly always slice meat and poultry very finely. Think of prosciutto, scaloppine and carpaccio. This is
a great way to control portion size. One chicken breast in Italy could certainly be the protein portion of a meal
for a family of four. The meal would be completed with lots of seasonal vegetables prepared very simply.
Drink plenty of water
It is no coincidence that most of the big name Mineral waters are Italian. No Italian would eat a meal without
the “digestive” aid of plenty of water.
Eat fresh fruit
Although Italians do have a love of desserts, cakes and pastries, in most homes and restaurants you will find
fresh seasonal fruit the dessert of choice most of the time. Pastries are often eaten for breakfast, giving one
plenty of opportunity to burn off the sugar.