May Fair serves up a tasty menu for nutritional health

Dr Janice McConnell, public health nutritionist at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, with Jane McClenaghan, nutritional therapist from Vital Nutrition at the May Fair in Ballyclare. INNT 23-599CON
Dr Janice McConnell, public health nutritionist at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, with Jane McClenaghan, nutritional therapist from Vital Nutrition at the May Fair in Ballyclare. INNT 23-599CON

Dr Janice McConnell, public health nutritionist at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, teamed up with renowned nutritional therapist Jane McClenaghan to promote nutritional health and wellbeing at the May Fair in Ballyclare.

This year’s fair celebrated local food to mark the 2016 NI Year of Food and Drink, with the key message from the nutritional health team focused on the mindful eating of freshly prepared, local plant foods and wholegrains, flavoured with herbs and spices for added sensory stimulation. As part of the food event, Dr McConnell delivered an interactive diet and nutrition education session to power-up the knowledge base, while Jane McClenaghan provided a taster session of fresh, seasonal, healthy wholefoods, along with recipes, to advance the public’s food skills.

Dr McConnell commented: “This was a fantastic opportunity to reignite the public’s interest in local, fresh, seasonal produce and how it may impact on our health and wellbeing for the better. Currently, just 18 per cent of the public consume the recommended five+ portions of vegetables and fruit per day. Studies show that increasing fruit and vegetable intake to a minimum of five per day may reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer. Using nature’s own colour coding system to eat our way through a rainbow of fruit and vegetables will help to ensure that we regularly consume a wide range of plant nutrients important for nutritional health. The regular consumption of carotenoid-rich fruit and vegetables also has the added bonus of giving us a healthy golden glow, which in scientific studies has been rated as more attractive than a melanin or sun-induced colouration.”

Jane McClenaghan, whose core business revolves around the practical promotion of healthy eating added: “Nutritious food should never be brown, bland or boring. At this year’s Ballyclare May Fair, the focus was on using fresh, local ingredients and taking inspiration from the world’s healthiest diets to inspire people to enjoy the bounty of fresh ingredients right here on our doorstep. We know that eating a plant based diet, packed with fruit and vegetables and eating more oily fish, is the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Smoothies can be a great way to pack more veg into your diet; super salads make a healthy, tasty lunch and Mediterranean inspired herby sardines, or baked mackerel with tomatoes and basil make nutritious and delicious evening meals. Healthy eating should always be tasty, so make the most of fresh, local, seasonal produce and celebrate the very best of NI food and farming.”