It’s 5pm and you’re thinking ‘what’s for dinner?’ So how do you turn the foods sitting in your fridge and pantry into a healthy meal?
Below are the simple steps giving you the tools to plate up a balanced, nutritious meal.
Step 1- Choose your carb
Grains and starchy veg
Carbohydrates are the body’s main type of fuel. They provide us with most of our energy, dietary fibre and a wide range of B vitamins.
- wholegrain breads and cereals
- rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur or quinoa
- starchy vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, corn, taro and cassava
Include low GI carbohydrates to help keep you fuller for longer
Choose more wholegrain products such as wholegrain bread, high fibre cereal, brown rice and wholemeal pasta.
1/4 of your meals should come from carbohydrates.
Step 2 – Pick your protein
Meat and alternatives
These are a good source of protein, iron, niacin and vitamin B12.
- Red meat, such as beef, lamb, veal pork, goat and kangaroo
- Chicken and turkey
- Canned legumes/beans, such as lentils, chick peas, or split peas
- Nuts, seeds, peanut or almond butter or tahini or other nut seed paste.
Choose lean cuts of beef, pork, veal and lamb trimmed of all visible fat.
Avoid processed meat and deli meat (e.g. salami and pepperoni) as they are very high in fat and salt.
Legumes are the cheapest source of protein – add them to your meat recipes to lower the cost and boost the veggies and fibre in your meal.
Dairy and alternatives
These foods include milk, yoghurt and cheese, and are an excellent source of calcium, and a good source of other important nutrients such as protein, riboflavin and vitamin B12.
- Compare the fat content of dairy products, and choose products which are lowest in fat.
- Be sure to choose calcium-fortified milk-substitute products, such as soy products.
- Most processed cheeses are high in salt. Be sure to choose those with the lowest salt content
1/4 of your meal should come from protein.
Step 3 – Load with veg
Vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and dietary fibre. Aside from the starchy vegetables, they are all significantly low in kilojoules.
- Frozen and canned vegetables are as good as fresh. Buy fresh vegetables that are in season as this will give you better value for your money.
- Nutrients group in colour – so be sure to enjoy the rainbow of purple, orange, green, red and white vegetables!
- Half of your meal should be vegetables – remember to get in 5 serves of veg every day
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