With so many conflicting views and restrictive diets around, i easy to see why eating healthy has become confusing. But does it really need to be that hard? Try these 10 easy tips to get you started.
As I get older (and supposedly wiser), I am learning so much more about the nutritional value of certain foods and also the dangers of additives and preservatives. A few years ago, I took a stand for my family?s health, deciding to make a few small changes to our eating habits. But they have made a big difference to our lives.
At the mere mention of healthy food, people?s eyes glaze over ? healthy must mean boring and tasteless with lots of weird ingredients. Not my way!
You don't need to be over the top about this stuff, just consciously try to make the best choices as often as possible.
And for parents, it is even harder to incorporate healthy while dealing with fussy eaters. Parents don't have time for fad diets – just good balanced eating is all you need.
I thought I would share a few easy changes you can make which can have a big impact on your general health.
- Switch to Spelt and Rye – For the last couple of years our family has been trying to avoid refined wheat. We have switched to rye and spelt as our grains of choice. We all think they taste better and they make you feel fuller for longer, which helps you stay out of the snack cupboard (bonus). Spelt has a slightly nutty flavour and a soft and silky texture. It is not gluten free but the gluten in spelt has higher water solubility than wheat, so nutrients are more easily absorbed, making it easy to digest. Try it ? it tastes great!
- Less bread – Eat bread (rye and spelt) in moderation. We try to eat salads/vegetables with meat/protein for lunch at least a couple of times a week. The kids love a change from sandwiches, and I get through the day with so much more energy and don't hit that slump a couple of hours after lunch. Make extra for dinner and then lunch is already sorted ? too easy!
- Reduce Sugar – We rarely use sugar, but occasionally add honey if needed. Most of us have become so used to sugar added to everything (often without us being aware of it) our tastebuds can have an aversion to foods that don't have sugar. But there are ways to prepare meals which produce flavour without adding sugar – like roasting to create natural caramelisation.
- Reduce portion sizes ? In most meals I create, I allow about 100?150 g of meat/chicken/fish per person.
- Lots of salad and vegies ? I have ramped up the vegie and salad content in my recipes. Varying the vegies in our meals, means that we get our 5 portions of vegies a day but delivered in different, new ways so we don't get bored.
- EVOO – I use Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It costs a little more but is so much better for you with fresher, fruity flavours. Studies over the last few decades have reported many health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, including reducing cardiovascular risk factors and the risk of stroke.
- Add Avocados – I like to add avocados to our meals as much as possible. They are considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet – good for maintaining a healthy heart, helping to lose weight and a great source of fibre, just to name a few. But my favourite is they are rich in Vitamin E & C which is good for your skin and apparently helps to slow the ageing process. Gotta love that! For a quick snack, mix an avocado with some Italian dressing for a super quick guacamole.
- Feta and Goa Cheese ? Adding a small amount of cheese to our meals adds a delicious and creamy flavour. I prefer feta or goa cheese. Goa cheese contains less lactose than cheese made from cow?s milk, and is therefore easier to digest. It is also generally lower in fat, cholesterol and calories.
- Sprinkle with Nuts and Seeds – I love adding lots of nuts and seeds to our meals, as they are a natural source of vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre, and are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. They have many reported health benefits, but best of all they taste great and add another dimension to some of our meals. Of course if there are any allergies to nuts, leave them out.
- Make your own dressings and sauces ? When you read most sauce and dressing bottles, you will notice there are a lot of ?numbers? (additives) in the ingredients. By making your own dressings and sauces, you will cut out a lot of these additives, and the added sugar, from your diet. Your meals will taste fresher and are so much better for you.
Making your own dressings is very easy ? it takes only a few minutes to make a fresh, delicious and healthy taste sensation to add to your meals. In fact it is so easy that my 8 year old son is the ?dressing King? in our home. Once you know the right balance, you?ll wonder why you ever bought dressings.
The secret is simply 1 part vinegar and 3 parts olive oil. Tha it! Of course you can add many other ingredients to add variation, but the base for a foolproof basic dressing is just that! Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until combined. The most important part of making a dressing is to taste it and trust your own judgement to adjust. Try these easy and tasty dressings:
Orange Mustard Dressing
Mildly delicious with any salad. Perfect for Barbecue Salmon with Orange and Fennel Salad
3 tablespoons orange juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white condiment (white balsamic vinegar)
? tablespoon wholegrain mustard
Refreshing tossed with Vietnamese Chicken Noodles or Thai Beef Salad.
6 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 long red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped (optional)
? tablespoon honey (optional)
Sometimes fast recipes are not healthy and healthy recipes are not so delicious, but in Summer TABLE, I have proven you can combine fast, delicious and healthy for the perfect solution to the ?wha for dinner? dilemma. And making life even easier, Summer TABLE includes a free APP – scan the recipes to create a shopping list on your phone, with all the items sorted by aisle at your local supermarket.
Being healthy isn?t hard. You know in your gut (no pun intended) what is right and wha not. Don?t get confused by the many opinions out there. Choose ?real? food and you can?t go wrong.
Find out more about this revolutionary cookbook at www.hellotable.com.au.