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SIMPLY COOK AND ENJOY

- March into Nutrition Month by Getting Back to Basics and Enjoying Healthy Home-Cooked Meals -

While a new survey points to fewer people preparing meals for themselves, a local nutritionist suggests there are ways to promote an appetite for home cooking.

According to a new Ipsos Reid poll, 43 per cent of Canadians say they do not cook balanced meals for themselves or their family on a regular basis. Many factors can influence why families do not prepare healthy meals at home, including lack of time and cooking skills. The Ipsos Reid poll was conducted for the Dietitians of Canadaorganization ahead of Nutrition Month in March.

Elsie Azevedo, a Registered Dietitian with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, is not surprised by the poll results, especially when fast, convenient pre-made foods are available everywhere. “These pre-made foods are not necessarily healthy, but they are readily available which makes them popular,” she says. “Unfortunately, the art of cooking is being lost somewhat, and we need to get back to basics like cooking home-made meals.”

Research shows that families have healthier diets when they cook and eat at home. “Cooking at home is better for you and does not have to be a challenge,” Azevedo says. “With a little planning, there are many ways to make healthier, home-cooked meals that are quick, easy and economical for everyone. You can even make it a family affair by getting your children involved in cooking!”

The theme of Nutrition Month in 2014 is just that: ‘simply cook and enjoy.’ For Azevedo and other Registered Dietitians, it means providing practical advice, tools and suggestions to help make it easier for people to cook at home. “Healthy eating is the cornerstone of healthy living, so we really are what we eat,” she adds. “By overcoming barriers, we can discover that a healthy, home-cooked meal can be simple, quick and delicious.”

Throughout March, Registered Dietitians in the Health Unit’s area and across the country will be highlighting a variety of resources, recipes and videos that highlight basic cooking tips, budget-friendly cooking, time-saving meal preparation ideas and suggestions on how to make cooking a family affair. There is even a free Cookspirationapp available for iPhones and iPads that can provide unique eating ideas, recipes with photos and nutritional details on different foods.

Local residents can access these resources (including the app) and other healthy eating information by visiting the Health Unit's Nutrition Month web page. People can also call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 to speak to a Registered Dietitian.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Elsie Azevedo, Registered Dietitian, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1218.

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