Teresa Cutter, founder of The Healthy Chef, is an author, nutritionist and classically trained chef. 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?
I was quite overweight as a child and was always the last one picked for sports teams because the other kids thought I would slow them down.
At the age of nine, I realised I was overweight. I was the heaviest in the class – about 10-15 kg more than most of my classmates. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. It changed my life forever and was the inspiration for what I do today.
The very next day I asked my mum to buy more fruit and vegetables and started exercising more. Instead of catching the bus, I began to walk to school and enrolled in the school netball and basketball team, igniting a passion for exercise and sports that I still have to this day.
My Polish aunt and uncle were my inspiration in healthy cooking and living healthy. I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with them while growing up. I remember they were always happy and active and their cooking always focused on fresh wholefood ingredients that were foraged straight from the garden.
I’ve always been amazed how the things you eat can make you feel, both inside and out. When I started eating healthier foods I found I had more energy and a clearer mind – a feeling I’ve found addictive in the best possible way.
What does your favourite day look like on a plate?
Breakfast: My morning ritual is to have a cup of Matcha Green Tea on rising to help boost metabolism and set me up for the day. After this I’ll make a smoothie made with Healthy Chef Protein for a complete and nourishing meal. I like to change the flavours of my smoothie depending on what mood I’m in and what nutrients my body is craving.
Lunch: My lunch is usually a luscious green salad with healthy fats and some sort of quality protein to keep me fuller for longer. I love my Organic Chicken Salad.
Dinner: I always try to keep my dinner light and nourishing, as I don’t like to go to bed on a full stomach. At the moment I’m loving my Steamed Ginger + Turmeric Fish served with lightly cooked vegetables or fresh leafy greens. Before bed I love a cup of Healthy Chef Chai Latte.
What is your favourite dish to share with family and friends?
Whenever we have friends over I love to make up a big batch of roasted carrots with almond dukkah and serve them with a selection of my homemade dips. My personal favourites are my Baba Ghanoush and Roasted Beetroot Dips from my cookbook Purely Delicious. This makes the perfect appetiser or side salad to share with family and friends.
What ingredients could you not live without?
I love to use nuts such as almonds and macadamia. This is because I regularly make my own dairy-free milks sweetened with a little vanilla and maple syrup. They are incredibly nourishing, full of magnesium, healthy fats and protein, and are a great addition to making my high protein breakfast smoothies.
What advice would you give your past self about healthy eating?
Listen to your body and find an eating style that suits you. There’s no need to be an extremist when it comes to food and diet and it’s important to enjoy everything in moderation. Focus on plant-based food sources that make you feel healthy and that work for your body, and you’ll be rewarded with improved energy, health and wellbeing.
What advice would you give to someone who is new to cooking healthy meals?
Don’t overcomplicate things - just a few simple ingredients can become something spectacular. My philosophy at The Healthy Chef has always been - keep it simple, keep it fresh and prepare it yourself.
You can find more of Cutter’s tips and recipes on her website thehealthychef.com