15 per cent of New Zealand households often or sometimes run out of food due to lack of money* - an issue the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation (NZNF) will address during Food Week.
Food Week is returning for a second year from 7-13 May with the aim of raising awareness of the meal challenges many New Zealand families face on a day-to-day basis.
Research from the Adult Nutrition Survey released late 2011 also found over 30 per cent of New Zealand households are limited by money when it comes to the variety of food they eat.
"We don't believe any New Zealand households should be struggling to put meals on the table - or struggling for inspiration," says Sarah Hanrahan, NZNF Dietitian. "If more Kiwis knew what to do with a 99 cent cauliflower when they're available in season, or had a repertoire of basic recipes for mince and frozen chicken, they have a better chance of making interesting, affordable meals for their families.
"Variety doesn't have to mean using a broad range of ingredients; it can simply mean preparing ingredients in slightly different ways. Pumpkin, for example, can be roasted, used as the basis of a frittata, makes a lovely soup, is a fantastic curry base, and is great as a mash."
Food Week aims to build confidence in the kitchen and teach Kiwis that cooking at home using seasonal produce and basic ingredients can be affordable and delicious.
"We know that poverty is an issue for Kiwis and that times are tough," adds Hanrahan. "Unfortunately food is often an area that is cut and when people do this we need to make sure the meals they can afford are nutritious, delicious and will be enjoyed by the whole family".
Food Week is based around the Just Cook Food List, a list of basic pantry and fridge/freezer essentials New Zealand households should always have on hand.
"At the moment cauliflower, carrots, apples, broccoli, cabbage and pumpkin are all in season and cheaper to buy," says Hanrahan. "By combing seasonal produce with other ingredients from the Just Cook Food List you can easily prepare nutritious, tasty and varied meals."
The Interactive Kitchen, a Facebook app developed for the launch of Food Week last year is once again being utilised to assist New Zealanders in finding the perfect recipes to match their household ingredients. The app allows users to select key ingredients from the Just Cook Food List and then suggests tasty recipes based on their selections. The app is continually updated with new recipes and these can now be downloaded.
Additional Food Week activity includes cooking demonstrations in Otara and Mangere hosted by 2011 Masterchef winner Nadia Lim and Ian Thomas (The Egg Guy). The Just Cook Create a Family Meal Challenge is also underway - a cooking challenge for school aged children aiming to build young Kiwis' confidence in the kitchen while encouraging them to experiment with different techniques and ingredients. Students must create an original recipe, for a family of five, based on the ingredients from the Just Cook Food List.
Food Week sponsors include Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Sanitarium Nutrition Service, Watties, vegetables.co.nz, potatoes.co.nz, Eggs Inc, Harraways, Maggi, San Remo, Tegel, Tip Top Bakery, Carnation, Continental and Kenwood.
For more information visit www.justcook.co.nz
* University of Otago and Ministry of Health. 2011. A Focus on Nutrition: Key findings of the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
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