Don’t despair because eating well doesn’t have to be hard work or cost a fortune. I’m here to share a sneak peek into my shopping trolley and some of my tips for staying healthy.
My motto is to always eat a rainbow. The more colours in your daily nutrition, the better. I like to have carrots on hand as snacks when I get the munchies. I also love red capsicums because they’re sweet, delicious and a great raw snack.
I always buy an assortment of salad greens – either baby spinach or rocket for sandwiches, kale for stir-fries, and broccoli because it’s cheap, versatile and so good for you (I use the stalk, too). I love pumpkin, cauliflower, zucchini, beetroot and eggplant for roasting in the oven. I also have a weakness for enoki mushrooms – they’re delicious sautéed and served with eggs.
Bananas are always on the list and I love Pink Lady apples as a healthy snack to throw in my handbag. Fruit really is nature’s lollies and I can’t really think of any fruits I don’t love. My ultimate favourites are mangoes, watermelon, peaches, plums and apricots. Grapes and strawberries are also fabulous additions when I’m entertaining with a cheese platter.
Many people assume that because I’m a dietitian, I’m a vegetarian, but my mantra is to keep veg as the superhero with meat as the sidekick. I love salmon and I order fish as much as possible when I go out for dinner. Because I only eat a little meat, I make sure I buy good-quality steaks. Chicken breasts are fantastic to cook in advance to slice for weekday lunches. I love a chicken and avo toastie on dense grainy bread with tasty cheese.
I always buy fresh reduced-fat milk, but I also grab a couple of UHT cartons for the pantry in case I run short. Low-fat Greek yoghurt is always on the list, as is ricotta. I love having yoghurt or ricotta as a snack with some fresh berries, a drizzle of honey and some cacao nibs for the crunch factor.
My pantry is filled with items like muesli, wholegrain wraps, quick rice cups, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, canned corn and tinned legumes. Chickpeas, lentils, black beans and kidney beans are a handy way to boost the protein in your salad. I also keep a stock of soba noodles, quinoa, nuts and seeds, plus some peanut butter and tahini for spreading on toast.
I stock up on frozen veggies as well as some ready-made meals. I prefer to cook from scratch, but sometimes life gets in the way. Having some healthy meals in the freezer means I’ve got portion-controlled options if I need them. If I do have a pre-prepared meal for dinner, I always serve it up with plenty of extra veggies or salad.
Kombucha, sparkling water, peppermint tea and coffee are my drinks of choice, and I’ll often make myself a turmeric latte at night. It’s a great way to wind down and get some extra calcium. I have some bubbly in the fridge for when the girls come over, but I only enjoy alcohol socially. The more alcohol we can cut down on, the healthier we’ll be.
Words by Jemma O’Hanlon, an Accredited Practising Dietitian