How to put a healthy spin and mix up your meals
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks: we've got some handy ideas on how to mix up your meals to keep them exciting!
Eat on the run
Make sure your fridge is always stocked with some small tubs of 99% fat-free yoghurt and a variety of fresh fruit. That way there’s always a healthy breakfast choice available when you need to eat on the run.
Like a savoury breakfast but haven’t got time for poached eggs on a weekday? Make a frittata in advance. “Eggs are a nutrition powerhouse, packed with protein and 13 essential vitamins and minerals,” WW dietitian Nicole Stride explains. “Use roasted capsicum, sautéed mushrooms, and steamed spinach – just pile it all up with an egg and milk mixture with a sprinkling of low-fat cheese on the top, then bake.”
Make your own muesli
“Base it around two or three different whole grains and some nuts and seeds for crunch and a small amount of dried fruit,” says Stride. “Use a small portion of muesli, around a third of a cup, then bulk it up with fresh fruit, milk and 99% fat-free plain yoghurt to help you stay fuller for longer.”
Make a throw-together meal
“Keep a back-up supply of non-perishable items like cans of tuna and salmon and packets of microwavable brown rice in your desk drawer,” says Stride. That way, you can stir tuna through leftover salad or eat last night’s veg with rice.
Make a wrap with leftovers
Whole grain wraps and tortillas are the perfect salad partner. “Having a high fibre, low glycaemic index (GI) food for lunch will give you a sustained release of blood glucose and is less likely to cause you to want something sweet in the afternoon,” says Stride. “Pair your whole grain wrap with some lean protein to help keep your hunger at bay – that could be a hard boiled egg, canned fish, cooked chicken breast or leftover rare roast beef.”
Get your soup on
Canned soups are another great desk-drawer option, particularly if they’re high in fibre and vegetables. “Look for the addition of legumes, like lentils, chickpeas, and cannellini beans for added protein,” Stride says. Just be mindful of the salt levels in packaged soups: “Look for ‘Reduced salt’ on the label or look in the ‘per 100g’ column for sodium and go for the lower options.”
“Set yourself a short term goal to try one new recipe every week – the end result is, you’ll be inspired to try new things and may start to develop a new healthy habit of cooking more nutritious meals,” Stride says. “The WW cookbooks and app give you thousands of healthy, simple recipes to choose from.”
Invest in equipment
“If you’re time poor why not try a slow cooker! You can buy electric slow cookers for less than $100, which can change how you prepare your meals,” says Stride. “All you have to do is cut up your ingredients, put it on in the morning and come home to a beautiful slow cooked meal. Microwave some rice or quickly soak some couscous and you’ve got dinner sorted in minutes.”
Experiment with different proteins
There are so many different sources of protein available. “To prevent boredom with your meals it’s a good idea to experiment with different foods you haven’t tried before,” Stride explains. “Swapping traditional mince meat for chicken or turkey mince can bring a whole new flavour to your meals. Likewise you, could experiment with plant-based protein sources like tofu and legumes to change up your meals.”
Spice things up
Nuts and popcorn are great snacks, but go easy on the salt. “On average, Australians and New Zealanders eat too much salt, and many people could benefit from reducing their salt intake to help maintain healthy blood pressure,” says Stride. “Try using herbs and spices to add flavour to your meals, instead.”
Boost your fruit
Orchard fruits, such as apples and pears, are ideal mid-afternoon snacks because they provide a boost to blood glucose, which may help keep your energy levels up in the afternoon. “Get creative with how you enjoy your fruit,” Stride says. “Pair it with nuts to add some healthy fats, or make a dip from plain yoghurt and cinnamon to dip fruit into.”
Just like lunch, it’s important you have smart snacks readily available so you don’t head to the vending machine at 3pm. “It might be a tin of tuna or some wholegrain crackers with salsa for a mid-meal snack that’s simple to prepare and satisfying,” Stride says.