The Fiji Times
Healthy living at home
ACCORDING to Sulueti Tunidau, emphasising healthy living at home is something she enjoys.
“I love cooking healthy meals for my family and teaching my grandchildren healthy eating habits. Everytime I cook, there’ll be an addition of green vegetables included – this is always a must,” she said.
Sulueti said they plant rourou and dalo beside their home as it grows in abundance. Due to the village’s challenge in landslides and flooding, it is quite hard to plant other vegetables now. They, however, managed to plant whatever they could to cater for their meals.
The VAT increase in food prices has also caused some major challenges for Sulueti and her family.
“Before we used to spend $80 to $100 worth of groceries, but now that prices of almost everything has gone up, our budget has increased to $150 weekly,” she said.
Her shopping list includes the basics such as flour, rice, sugar, spices, potatoes, baking products, canned stuff, chicken, sausages, onions, garlic, soy sauce, toiletries and other kitchen necessities.
“Since I live with my grandchildren, I have to buy enough groceries to last us until the next trip to the supermarket.”
“Today, budgeting is important as we are also paying electricity and water bills”. Sulueti said their village was often flooded and that is one of the major challenges they faced. “When the flood water enters the village it destroys our plantations, making it hard to plant other vegetables and root crops.
“We plant dalo (uro ni vonu) mostly because it suits the watery soil in this village, but for root crops like cassava, it is very hard to look for a place to plant it,” she said. For vegetables such as cabbages, tomatoes, lemons, tubua, round cabbages, carrots and other leafy vegetables, Sulueti gets their supplies from the Nausori Market.
She spends about $20 to $30 on her market shopping.
Sulueti said she loves feeding her grandchildren rourou, eggplants and bele as it is nutritious and healthy.
“My grandchildren love eating rourou and that is something we hardly see in children these days, because of the changes that society brings.”
For Sulueti, feeding her grandchildren and family Fijian dishes is also important.
Since Matainoco Village is close to the sea, most of the villagers use it as their food source as well.
Sulueti said she would go and fish, get kaikoso, prawns, crabs and other seafood from the sea near their village for their family meals.
“We are lucky that while we are facing landslides and flooding, making it difficult for us to plant at times, the sea is always there to supply us with fresh seafood.”
Sulueti encourages shoppers to always watch others for whatever food item they’re buying.
She said it is important to read the ingredients and know what type of food they’re taking home to their family.
“The most important advice I would give is to always try to eat healthy and fresh food from the gardens and the sea.
“At the end of the day you are what you eat... and the right food will save you money, rather than unnecessary buying”.