Story by Rosie Hurley
On Wednesday 27th July, Sue Judge, a nutritional therapist, came to the Carers’ Centre to lead a cooking and nutrition workshop for young carers.
Sue greeted us in the garden with lots of tasty-looking ingredients laid out on the tables under the gazebo. She introduced healthy eating and nourishment, before revealing that we’d be making our own lunch with the food and equipment she’d brought. On the menu was Mexican quesadillas, with salsa and hummus, along with fresh apple, carrot and ginger juice.
After introducing us to the basic concepts of what it means to eat healthily, (and she may have regretted asking us what we had for breakfast!) Sue then gave each of us different foods to prepare for our lunch. These ranged from grating carrot and chopping spring onion for the quesadilla fillings, to blending up onions and tomatoes for the salsa, to juicing the apples and carrots. The juicer itself was something of a spectacle — it was a big contraption that looked like a sausage maker — it was hardly a NutriBullet, but it worked just as well!
The workshop was part of the INVEST project — a programme for young carers aged 17-25, providing many different types of support. The INVEST Project Officer, Katy, helps young people to develop an individual action plan, and to access to different areas of support such as help with applying to college or university, counselling and befriending, and access to the employment and training services. The Nutrition workshop falls amongst a number of other educational sessions, such as First Aid, Budgeting and Entrepreneurial Skills.
Sue, being a carer herself, clearly understood the challenges carers often face, of looking after their own health whilst prioritising the needs of the person they care for. While healthy eating may not always top the list of priorities, we found that it’s pretty much essential for energy levels and generally feeling good.
Once all the ingredients were prepared, we used a hot plate that Sue had brought to warm up our quesadillas. I think it’s fair to say we were all pretty hungry and looking forward to trying the food we’d cooked, so we tucked in and weren’t disappointed! Sue had also brought along, in true Blue Peter style, some frittata and salad that she’d made earlier, and chopped up a watermelon for us too.
All in all it was a great afternoon of learning about nutrition and trying new food — even if the ginger in the juice was a bit fiery on first gulp! It was interesting seeing how cooking is essentially about experimentation, and how healthy eating doesn’t have to be too time-consuming or difficult. Often it’s the simplest ingredients that work the best together. A big thank you must go to Sue for providing the food and equipment, and, more importantly, for giving her time and expertise to help us gain a new insight into healthy eating.