Improved nutrition and connected family meal times could be an unintended positive consequence during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a Charles Darwin University dietitian.
Nutrition lecturer from the College of Health and Human Sciences Ms Judith Myers is a dietitian specialising in paediatrics and public health nutrition and has worked in hospitals as a clinical dietitian. She said she was heartened to see and hear stories from families who were revisiting growing food and learning to cook with their children.
“Food is about connecting with people and family, tradition and culture,” Ms Myers said. “Everyone I speak to has a story about family meals – usually a positive one – and that’s what drives me to unpack that as something positive and worthwhile.”
Ms Myers said that with less eating out and processed food available, people were cooking and using fresh foods, which was linked to improved immunity, health and wellbeing.
“Even if all of the ingredients are not available, older relatives will know how to improvise and modify family favourites,” she said.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn and pass on family traditions and cooking skills that unfortunately many people have lost.”
She encouraged people to try making a basic pasta sauce from scratch, stew with veggies, or fried rice, and share their creations with others online. It’s also more affordable when using low cost and seasonal produce.
“It’s uncharted waters for many of us and that part of it is a good thing,” she said.
“Improvise, share your discoveries, and enjoy!”
She said the aim of a nutritionist was to prioritise the role of food in families, communities and society, with a focus on health and nutrition needs of the Northern Territory.