Whole Foods: fresh and locally sourced.

In our fast-paced and busy days the preparation of food for ourselves and our families can take a backseat. Sometimes it’s hard to manage all the family's tastes and dietary needs, our schedules that keep us on the go, as well as other personal factors that we deal with in our daily life. So what can you gain from prioritising fresh, whole food, home cooked and prepared with love and good intentions?  

Nowadays the supermarket shelves are full of products that have gone through many processes and additions of chemicals to become shelf stable, convenient and addictive. The original farm grown produce is further from its original state and further from what our bodies can use for sustenance in the forms of nutrients, energy and enjoyment. These foods affect us negatively in many ways, not in the least by making it harder to maintain a healthy weight, and enough energy or ‘get-up-and-go’.

Whole foods are grown or raised on the land, and exposed to minimal processing before being sold in the shops. They provide us with natural vitamins and minerals, hydration, essential fats, and fibres. Found in fresh plant foods, are compounds known as phytonutrients, which are gaining the interest of researchers exploring how they can be used to target disease. Not that this is a new concept, food as medicine has a long and widespread heritage across the world!  

Although the supermarkets now provide everything we need in one shop, a little search around the internet is sure to reveal suppliers in your local area. We are lucky here in Donegal to have many local producers, their produce can be found at Ballyholey Farm Shop, butchers for locally raised meat, eggs, honey,  and fresh fish, and shops like Simple Simon’s Health Foods in Donegal Town. Of course don’t forget the ease of planting a few seeds in your own backyard for the satisfaction of watching the progress from green shoots to a tasty meal!

Preparing whole food for the nourishment of you and your family requires some investment in time and energy, to plan, shop, store and prepare, but it can be fun as well, exploring the options, and getting the family engaged in where their food comes from.

 In the summer months preparing fresh salads, fresh fruits and smaller portions of meat and heavy starches can be quick and refreshing. Some dishes can be made ahead when you have time, and kept in the fridge for quick and handy meals throughout the week, such as boiled eggs, grain-based salads, stewed fruits, muesli and home baked biscuits and scones.

I will be posting more family friendly bakes and recipes involving whole foods here on the blog, offering suggestions that can replace the easy but less wholesome options on the supermarket shelves.