One of the biggest downfalls when trying to embrace a healthy diet is lack of preparation/organisation. It is a sad and sorry state of affairs that our society makes it easier and more affordable to eat badly than it is to look after our health but it doesn’t have to be this way!
One of my biggest tips when preparing healthy meals is to make double and freeze half. I do this with so many of our dinners and it is always such a reward at the end of a busy day to know that dinner has already been made (the way I like it) and all I need to do is pop it in the oven or reheat and serve. So much healthier (and cheaper) than takeaway and so much better for the waist line.
Here is one of our favourite week night staples. The recipe is for one meal but I always make two and freeze one. (I like to use those disposable aluminium trays with lids – just be wary that they shouldn’t be in the freezer for too long – although this recipe is so yummy I doubt it will be!!!)
Chicken and Eggplant Bake
You will need:
About 500g (1 pound) chicken breasts or one packet (I always buy the macro free range from Woolworths). (About 2 good sized breasts)
2 tins organic salt-free diced tomatoes
Herbs as you like (Herbies does a delicious Italian blend that goes beautifully with this dish)
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon Rapadura Sugar or Coconut Sugar (optional – I prefer not to use but is very yummy)
1 piece Buffalo Mozzarella (or bococcini, or parmesan or feta – whatever you like)
Slice the eggplant into nice thick rounds and arrange on some paper towel before salting and leaving for about 10 minutes.
When the juices are weeping, wipe the eggplant with paper towel, place on baking tray lined with baking paper and spray/lightly brush some olive oil, pepper and sprinkle herbs. Bake in a moderate oven for about 30-40 mins.
Slice the chicken lengthways.
In a bowl mix together the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar (if using).
When eggplant cooked, line a baking dish with the eggplant, top with the chicken (uncooked), season with some salt and pepper and pour sauce over to cover.
Break up the buffalo mozzarella with your hands and put dollops around the top of the dish.
Bake in a moderate oven for about 40 minutes until cooked through and the cheese is all melted and bubbly.
Serve with steamed asparagus (great to get rid of fluid retention) or a big green salad.
And here is one for the freezer!!! Freeze uncooked and add the mozzarella at time of baking …
I discussed some healthy snack options for our kids (here) a few weeks ago, but I thought it would be helpful to talk about some food ideas for us too! If you want to lose weight the worst thing you can do is stop eating. Our bodies need to be constantly fuelled to keep our metabolism going. A healthy day of eating would ideally involve lemon water upon waking followed by a hearty breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack and dinner. Don’t forget to keep drinking water – at least 2-3 litres a day – often your body mistakes thirst for hunger making you eat more …
I often get asked what Andrew and I eat so I thought I’d give you a brief overview. It seems like a lot of food but keep portion sizes small. Also keep in mind that we exercise almost every day so we need to replenish our bodies. It’s long but I thought it was important to get the full day in.
Starting your day with a big glass of filtered water with a squeeze of lemon in it is such a great way to flush out and detox your body. I must admit until I recently started drinking my lemon water I was sceptical. However I have definitely noticed higher energy levels since I have been doing this.
Breakfast is SO important. If you tell your body (by not eating when you wake up in the morning) that it needs to go into famine mode you will start the day feeling sluggish and tired as your metabolism slows right down leaving the path open for unhealthy food choices during the day as you try to eat some energy back. Much better to start with a hearty and healthy breakfast to get your energy levels going from the beginning of your day. You will feel satisfied which will make you less tempted to make unhealthy choices.
I’ve already given you some delicious suggestions for breakfast e.g. a toasted mountain bread wrap (see here), quinoa porridge (see here), or healthy pancakes (see here). Another great breakfast is an omelette (with 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites) or poached eggs with mushrooms, tomato, avocado and spinach.
You don’t have to make a big deal about breakfast though. A good quality muesli (preferably without dried fruit) topped with some greek yogurt and berries, or some rye or spelt toast with avocado, hummus or a healthy nut butter (check out your health food section in the supermarket) are also tasty and easy options.
Mid Morning and Mid afternoon Snacks
These snacks are great! Always try to incorporate protein in your snacks to help satisfy you for longer.
Here are my favourite snacks (note that they all contain some form of protein):
- 2 Brown rice cakes with avocado and cottage cheese or hummus and avocado. (choose the rice cakes that contain puffed brown rice only. NOT the flavoured ones that are full of artificial junk.
- A couple of hard boiled eggs.
- Some greek yoghurt and berries (fruit best consumed in the morning because of its sugar content)
- A good quality protein bar – I love the protein bars from 180 nutrition as they are made only from superfoods rather than artificial junk.
- Protein shake – again I try to avoid the protein powders that have chemicals in them. 180 nutrition has a great protein powder but I love the sunwarrior one – have 2 scoops of chocolate with a banana, a tablespoon of macca powder (another superfood) and water. (Sometimes I have this shake for breakfast)
- An apple and 10 almonds
- 100 grams of chicken or turkey breast or smoked salmon
- Carrot sticks and hummus
- A small tin of flavoured tuna (again make sure you choose the naturally flavoured ones – i.e. the chilli, lemon and cracked pepper and zesty vinegrette are all healthy options)
Here are some suggestions of things I like to eat for lunch:
- Chicken or tuna and salad
- Mountain bread wraps either my toasted chicken wrap (here) or tuna and salad
- My yummy chicken quinoa recipe (here)
- Tuna with ½ cup brown rice or quinoa and spinach, lemon and chilli
- Homemade soup
We try not to eat starchy carbohydrates for dinner most nights of the week – e.g. pasta, potatoes, rice etc. Once in a while we allow ourselves a treat such as my healthy lamb pizza (here) but most of the time dinner is protein and vegetables – think delicious marinades for your meat and big healthy salads, stir fries, soups, bakes. I have already shared some yummy dinners such as my spicy lamb mince (here), salmon with haloumi and lentil salad (here), and the delicious piri piri roast lamb (here). I have so many more yummy recipes to come – so stay tuned!!!
If you got through all of that – well done!!! Feel free to comment or ask any questions – I love hearing from you!
I promise these are just as good, if not better than your traditional pancake recipe. Our girls love them and I love watching them eat them knowing how healthy they really are. As a treat I love to drizzle them with organic maple syrup, but organic honey would be yummy too and if you’d rather not indulge quite so much then fruit and yoghurt would also be great. They would also make a great lunchbox snack if you make them into pikelet size – (you may have missed my post on healthy snacks for children …). This is my favourite Saturday morning post-workout brecky!!!
This recipe comes from the people at Bodyism (www.bodyism.com) – James Duigan is a great mentor for clean eating. (I have added the vanilla)
Healthy Oat Pancakes
(serves 2-4 but for our family of 2 adults and 3 children I would make 1 1/2 times this recipe)
You will need:
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
How to make them:
Whiz the cottage cheese, oats, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla in a food processor until well blended.
Heat some coconut oil (or olive oil, or organic butter) in a pan and ladle a spoonful of mixture. Cook like you would a normal pancake (just be careful when flipping and make sure they don’t burn).
Top with fresh fruit (I love strawberries, blueberries and banana) and a drizzle of maple syrup (make sure it’s the real deal and not the awful artificial stuff) or some honey if desired. You could also spoon a dollop of yoghurt with the fruit if you like …
My sister sent me this amazing recipe which I made for friends on the weekend and then again last night. It is so healthy and delicious that I simply had to share! It’s quick, easy and will become part of your regular repertoire I promise!
Piri Piri Lamb with Eggplant and Pumpkin (serves 2)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Garlic cloves (crushed)
2 tsp piri piri seasoning (Keep in mind this is a spicy seasoning if you are doubling the marinade. I have used both Masterfoods piri piri seasoning and Herbies Peri Peri seasoning. The Herbies one was much hotter than Masterfoods so maybe only use 1 tsp if this is the one you want to use).
Rind and juice of 1 lemon
Whisk the above ingredients together (or shake up in a jar)
1 eggplant diced (I sliced the eggplant lengthwise and salted it for 10 minutes before patting dry and dicing – this drains the bitter juices)
1/4 Kent pumpkin diced (You could use Kumera/Sweet Potato instead of pumpkin)
1 tin chickpeas (drained and rinsed well)
Lamb rack (I usually serve 4 cutlets to a person)
(you could also use lamb cutlets, lamb chops, backstrap, lamb loin etc…)
Brush lamb with marinade.
Toss 1/2 of the marinade with eggplant and pumpkin.
Cook eggplant and pumpkin for 20 minutes at about 180 degrees.
At this point put the marinated lamb rack in the oven for 15 minutes (and cook the veggies for a further 15 minutes at the same time.) If using lamb cutlets/chops or back strap you could BBQ or pan fry at this point.
Take out the veggies (after total of 35 minutes) and toss with chickpeas then cook for further 5 mins.
(At this point I blanched a bunch of asparagus to go with it)
Serve lamb on bed of veggies and drizzle with remaining marinade (with added chopped parsley if desired) over top. Could serve with a dollop of hummus if you wanted to – we did and it was yummy!
So easy and so delicious – enjoy!
I am so passionate about promoting healthy living because cleaning up our own diet and embracing a healthy lifestyle has had such an enormously positive influence on the quality of our lives. However as vocal as I tend to be about this subject, sometimes pictures can say so much more than I ever could.
Here are some photos I have found of Andrew from the beginning of our journey. As you can see Andrew has come such a long way! (For those who aren’t familiar with our story you can read a bit about it here and here).
From this (2003 – 2005)…
This photo taken just after meeting The Food Coach – April 2005
To this (2011/2012)…
We are far from perfect when it comes to healthy eating but our consistency and determination has definitely paid off. I think that the results speak for themselves – don’t you???