While festive family gatherings are incomplete without those hearty meals made with love, food should not be considered a reward, cautions Durban-based chef Jabu Nzimande.
“We eat to live. We don’t live to eat. We need to understand that and respect our health so much that there’s no season that we indulge irresponsibly and then blame it on the season,” she tells Food For Mzansi.
To promote healthy living, Nzimande offers healthy cuisine cooking classes. She also promotes a healthy lifestyle that does not rob you of your favourites.
“Most of the things made can be made to be just as amazing but still healthy and nutritious, from burgers to pizzas to baked goods, there’s always a way to make it beneficial to our bodies,” she says.
It all started at high school
Nzimande’s food love began in the Mpumalanga township of eThekwini. She says that she had a list of careers but her food passion landed her at Capsicum Culinary Studio.
Her food passion was sparked in her home economics classes in high school. “I would always look forward to going back home after the practical’s to go cook or bake the same thing we had made in class,” she says. “I would always try and add my own creativity in it and it was the most rewarding experience when it came out as I had desired it.”
The more she experimented, the more groceries her mother had to buy. “Some days it wouldn’t be so easy due to some budget constraints, but it taught me to work with what we had. Little did I know that it was training me to be versatile which is a blessing now and a great skill.”
One healthy meal at a time
Healthy food need not be boring, Nzimande believes. “You know in whatever I make whether cooking or baking, my first thought is to go think of the best and healthiest way of doing it.”
Health is wealth, she adds. “Healthy food is not bland food with no flavour; healthy food is packed with flavour and it leaves you feeling great, fuller for longer and rewards your body with great nutrients your body needs.”
It’s better to break your pocket eating healthy
Healthy eating does not need to break the bank. It is better to spend on healthy diets than medication, Nzimande says. “The big question is what are you putting on your table? is it to give life or to take away life and then teaching them to be dependent on medication because of poor choices that could be prevented.”
How to save this season
Nzimande shares her five tips for saving on groceries this season:
Never shop on an empty stomach: “You will find yourself buying a whole lot of unnecessary stuff,” she says.
Early birds catch the fattest worms: “Do your shopping in the mornings when shops open so you get to choose from fresh ingredients.”
Don’t overspend: December holidays are just few days!
Check the sell-by dates: Remember if the shops run out of food, they will load shelves again with fresh stuff so, avoid buying for next month this month.
Your health, your responsibility: “You can’t exercise away bad eating habits. What you sow to your body it will give it back to you. The right time to start taking control of your eating habits is now, it starts with a mindset, followed by a plan, execution and consistency.”