What’s for Dinner?

Home-cooked Chinese One Soup and Two Dishes Dinner

The Menu

Pork with Tomato, Potato and Carrot Soup

Briased Chicken Wings in Chinese Black Tea

Stuffed Tri-colour Bell Peppers

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Kitchen Gadget

Vintage Brass Measuring Spoons

Fruit and Vegetables Keep the Blues At Bay

Eating more fruit and vegetables may make young people calmer, happier and more energetic in their daily life, new research from the University of Otago suggests.

Department of Psychology researcher Dr Tamlin Conner, and Dr Caroline Horwath and Bonnie White from Otago’s Department of Human Nutrition, investigated the relationship between day-to-day emotions and food consumption.

The study is published in the British Journal of Health Psychology today.

A total of 281 young adults (with a mean age of 20 years) completed an internet-based daily food diary for 21 consecutive days. Prior to this, participants completed a questionnaire giving details of their age, gender, ethnicity, weight and height. Those with a history of an eating disorder were excluded.

On each of the 21 days participants logged into their diary each evening and rated how they felt using nine positive and nine negative adjectives. They were also asked five questions about what they had eaten that day. Specifically, participants were asked to report the number of servings eaten of fruit (excluding fruit juice and dried fruit), vegetables (excluding juices), and several categories of unhealthy foods like biscuits/cookies, potato crisps, and cakes/muffins.

The results showed a strong day-to-day relationship between more positive mood and higher fruit and vegetable consumption, but not other foods.

“On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did,” says Dr Conner.

To understand which comes first – feeling positive or eating healthier foods – Dr Conner and her team ran additional analyses and found that eating fruits and vegetables predicted improvements in positive mood the next day, suggesting that healthy foods may improve mood. These findings held regardless of the BMI of individuals.

“After further analysis we demonstrated that young people would need to consume approximately seven to eight total servings of fruits and vegetables per day to notice a meaningful positive change. One serving of fruit or vegetables is approximately the size that could fit in your palm, or half a cup. My co-author Bonnie White suggests that this can be done by making half your plate at each meal vegetables and snacking on whole fruit like apples,” says Dr Conner.

She adds that while this research shows a promising connection between healthy foods and healthy moods, further research is necessary and the authors recommend the development of randomised control trials evaluating the influence of high fruit and vegetable intake on mood and wellbeing.

Source: University of Otago, New Zealand

Moist Jam-filled Muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup cornmeal
1¼ cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup plain gelatine-free yogurt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup berry jam, divided

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Butter a 12-cup non-stick muffin pan or line with paper liners.
  3. Combine cornmeal and milk, set aside for 3 minutes.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  5. Whisk sugar, egg, yogurt, butter and vanilla into milk mixture. Pour over dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
  6. Spoon enough batter into muffin pan to fill cup just under half full. Spoon 1 tsp jam in the centre of each cup and top with remaining batter.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are firm to the touch. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove to rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 muffins.

Source: Canadian magazine

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