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Foodie files - Leah Itsines

Leah Itsines

Creative cook and bestselling author Leah Itsines has a passion for healthy eating and living a balanced lifestyle. She shares her tips and tricks for cooking delicious, healthy meals, and what her ideal day on a plate looks like

Where did your passion for healthy eating and living come from?

Every day Mum would pick me up from school and we’d go straight to buy groceries, and then I’d help cook dinner My true passion for healthy eating came about when I fell sick in 2013 with glandular fever and was very ill for the best part of three months. During this time, I slowly began cooking for myself and would make summery salads amongst other healthy dishes, which really made my body feel good. Ever since it has become something I’m passionate about. I think it’s extremely important to fuel and nourish your body correctly. 

What does your favourite day look like on a plate?

My day on a plate changes so much. I typically can’t have the same thing two days in a row, I’m that much of a fussy eater, haha. 

An example of what I’d eat in a day would be:

Breakfast – Coffee smoothie
Snack 1 – Whole-wheat biscuits with avocado and feta
Lunch – Greek salad with tuna
Snack 2 – Zucchini slice
Dinner – Puttanesca pasta with extra olives
Dessert – Pot of tea

What is your favourite dish to share with family and friends?

I absolutely am obsessed with pasta and at the moment. We’ve been going through a little bit of a pasta bake phase. My favourite right now would be my spinach and ricotta pasta bake. It’s currently up on my website and seems to be a real winner!

What fridge and pantry ingredients could you not live without?

I couldn’t live without crushed tomatoes, rice and pastas in the pantry, which are all such good staple household items. I literally bought 24 cans of crushed tomatoes from the shops because they were on sale, and they’ll be gone in a couple of weeks! For my fridge, I couldn’t go without some fresh fruit and vegetables. I must have broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and mushrooms to name a few, constantly stocked in my fridge. I use them every day! 

What advice would you give your past self about healthy eating?

Listen to your body and nourish yourself. Don’t worry too much about what you should or shouldn’t be eating. Everything is okay in moderation and I think healthy eating is truly encapsulated when you’re eating a good variety and balance of foods.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to cooking healthy meals?

Cooking in general is all trial and error. Don’t get disheartened if you make mistakes or if your food doesn’t taste or look as good as what you think it should. Just keep trying. Don’t forget to use a range of fresh herbs and spices to pack your meals with flavour.