ACT Nutrition Support Service » Healthy meals are as easy as 1-2-3

Healthy meals are as easy as 1-2-3

ACT Nutrition Support Service » Healthy meals are as easy as 1-2-3

Healthy meals are as easy as 1-2-3

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 vitamins and minerals, including folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron.

Food sources include:

- 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 a wide variety of breads including white, brown, wholegrain, multigrain and rye.

* Choose more wholegrain products such as wholegrain bread, high fibre cereal, brown rice and wholemeal pasta.

* Try new grain products instead of pasta or rice such as couscous, quinoa, burghul and polenta.


Step 2 – Pick your protein

Meat and alternatives

These are a good source of protein, iron, niacin and vitamin B12.

Food sources include:

- Red meat, such as beef, lamb, veal pork, goat and kangaroo

- Chicken and turkey

- Fish

- Eggs

- Canned legumes/beans, such as lentils, chick peas, or split peas

- Tofu

- 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.

* Canned fish is as nutritious as fresh fish and can be a convenient option. The best alternatives are canned in water rather than brine (salt) or oil.

* Choose a variety of nuts with no-added salt and have them in small amounts each day.

* 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.

* Most fish is low in saturated fat and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

* Nuts are a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and total blood cholesterol.


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.

* Many types of yoghurt provide good bacteria (probiotics), which are essential for a healthy gut. Try natural yoghurt instead of sour cream.

* Be careful: some 'reduced-fat' dairy varieties may still be high in fat.

* Most processed cheeses are high in salt. Be sure to choose those with the lowest salt content


Step 3 – Load with veg

 Vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and dietary fibre. They are all significantly low in kilojoules, except for olives and avocados.

* 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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