A Healthier Take on Sunday Lunch
While there is nothing better than sitting down to the best meal of the week, which, undoubtedly, is Sunday lunch, and enjoying a good meal with the people you love, making Sunday lunch has gotten a little complicated. If your lunches involve chicken – prepared using that secret family recipe that your grandmother has been guarding closely since you were a child – however you enjoy it, you are likely already worrying about the implications of the American chicken coming into the country.
There have been health concerns including arsenic poisoning and salmonella. How do you as Afroplitans keep your family safe, while not compromising on that great Sunday lunch? We have a few ideas:
Join the organic side of life
If you are yet to join the organic eating masses of the world, now is a good time to consider it. Organic chicken is farmed in the most ethical way possible: it is grass-fed, the environment in which the chicken is made is open and the chickens can run around. That’s what free range means: the chickens are not bred in a warehouse or full of hormones. This means that all the products – eggs and meat – are of the best quality.
Buying organic, locally farmed chicken will support small farmers who are trying to find their footing in the industry. Retailer Woolworths went public when the first American chickens started arriving on our shores, and stated that their chicken is local.
Short of supporting local farmers, you also have the option of raising your own chickens – old school style. Of course this will be an involved process, but who didn’t like the taste of home chicken during special occasions, while you were growing up?
Omega on the plate
There is no denying that of all the lean meats, fish is definitely the best. Fish is packed with omega fatty acid – the best fat. The best fatty fish contains omega 3 fatty acid, which works to balance out the saturated fats that creeps into your diet.
While omega 3 fatty acid is found in expensive fish such as salmon and trout, it’s also found in less expensive fish such as sardines, anchovies and tuna. With a variety of options, turning to fish will not suddenly raise your monthly grocery bill sky high.
South Africa has a robust fishing industry, this means that most fish are locally caught and fresh when it reaches your table.
Go for grain
Making grains an important component of your diet will not only take creativity, it could also lead to a big change in the food you consume and how you prepare it. Most grains will not be direct replacements for chicken, but combined with our other recommendations, would end up replacing starches as well.
Adding grains to your diet will require a bit of creativity. Less your mother’s special kidney beans recipe (often served with dumpling or pap) and more a fish and quinoa salad. The bonus of grains like quinoa is that they contain their own nutritional value, in this case omega 3 fatty acid.
Next time you are at a braai, reach for the maize. It may not seem like it but maizes contain nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium to name a few. It may be hard to come by for the next few years because of the drought facing the farming industry, which is likely to drive prices up a bit.
Again, the maize is another situation where you will not just substitute chicken and add corn to your food but could end up changing your plate all together: A salad here, organic chicken next to it and your whole maize.
Here are 15 quinoa recipes to get you started in the kitchen.
Green is best
More like, greens are best in this case. Challenge yourself to see how many veggie meals you can cook, with the aim being to make your family love them. Adding greens to your menu will lower the amount of meat you eat and much like adding grains, is likely to change the look of your dinner plates entirely.
Much like grains and fish, vegetables provide great nutritional value to your diet: beetroot is bursting with minerals and vitamins, leafy greens are filled with fibre. Not only will you eliminate health risks when you cut out “braaipack” chicken, but you will immediately improve the nutrients in your diet.
What are your thoughts on the American chicken coming into the country?