Mix up your meals
Makeover 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 squeezable low-fat yoghurt and a variety of 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 lots of essential nutrients,” Program & Nutrition Manager, Nour Nazha explains. “Use lovely slices of chargrilled sweet potatoes, 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 wholegrains and some seeds and add a small amount of dried fruit and natural nuts,” says Nazha. “Have a third of a cup and pump up the volume to a satisfying meal size with fresh fruit, milk and a dollop of low-fat Greek yoghurt.”
Make a throw-together meal
“Always have a back-up supply of items like cans of tuna and salmon or packets of microwavable brown rice in your desk drawer,” says Nazha. That way, you can stir tuna through leftover salad or eat last night’s vegies with rice.
Be a wrap-star
Wholegrain wraps and tortillas are the perfect salad partner. “Having a low glycaemic index (GI) food during lunch will give you a sustained release of blood glucose and is less likely to cause you to have those cravings in the afternoon,” says Nazha. “Make sure you have some lean protein for appetite satisfaction too – that could be a hardboiled egg, canned fish, cooked lean chicken 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 grains, like barley, and legumes, like lentils, chickpeas, and broad beans,” Nazha says. Just watch the salt levels: “Look in the ‘per 100g’ column for sodium and favour the lower options.”
“Over the next six weeks, make it your mission to try one new recipe every Monday – the end result is, you’ll be inspired to try new things,” Nazha says. “Committing to the ‘Meat Free Monday’ challenge is a good idea, if you get stuck eating chicken, lamb and beef all the time.”
Invest in equipment
“You can buy electric slow cookers for less than $100, which can change your attitude to dinner,” says Nazha. “Put it on in the morning and come home to a beautiful curry, tagine or casserole. All you have to do is microwave some rice or quickly fluff up some couscous and you’ve got dinner on the spot.”
Experiment with meat
“Different cuts of meat have completely different nutrition profiles,” Nazha explains. “Some of the non-loin cuts, like oyster blade, can be cooked in a slow braise and it still comes out quite lean. Speak to your butcher for information and tips about new cuts that you haven’t tried.”
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 most people could benefit from cutting back to help maintain healthy blood pressure,” says Nazha. “Use some Mexican or Asian spice or a chermoula for flavour, 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 will keep your energy levels up in the afternoon. “Be creative with how you serve your fruit,” Nazha says. “You can drizzle honey or maple syrup on sliced fruit, or make a dip from yoghurt and cinnamon to dip fruit sticks in.”
Just like lunch, it’s crucial you have smart snacks available so you don’t head to the vending machine at 3pm. “It might be a tin of tuna or some wholegrain crackers with avocado for a mid-meal snack that’s easy and satisfying,” Nazha says.