Cooking counts

Australia’s Healthy Weight Week is a great time to start thinking about making healthy changes in your lifestyle and diet. They don’t need to be drastic to have benefits. In fact, changes that are easier to stick to in the long term can be some of the best you will ever make!

One way you can achieve a healthier weight and an all-around healthier lifestyle is by cooking. Eating more home cooked meals means you tend to eat smaller portions and ultimately consume less kilojoules, fat, sugar and salt.

Did you know 43% of Aussies eat out 3 or more times a week?

Healthy cooking can be as easy as 4 steps:

1. Choose your base

If you want to make the most of your meal think ‘grow, glow and go’. These are some of the important functions your food can contribute to your body. Aim for:

  • A ‘Go’ option – Good quality carbohydrate that is lower in glycaemic index (GI) and higher in fibre can be an excellent source of energy as well as vitamins and minerals. Some examples include: wholegrain bread, pasta, quinoa or rice, legumes (beans and lentils), sweet potato or corn
  • A ‘Grow’ option – Lean protein options help provide the building blocks for growth and repair. Some healthier options include oily fish like tuna or salmon, eggs, skinless chicken, lean meat, tofu and nuts and
  • Lots of ‘Glow’ options – Non-starchy vegetables or salad are packed full of vitamins and minerals and naturally low in kilojoules.

2. Balance your base

To ensure the best outcomes for your health and hunger levels it is important to balance your meals. The following can be a good general guide:

 

Did you know less than 7% of Australians eat enough veggies?

3. Add flavour

Reaching for the salt shaker or dowsing a dish in sauce is not the best option when it comes cooking healthier meals.  Sauces are often high in salt even if they do not taste salty. Too much salt has been linked to higher blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Other flavouring ideas that are better options and yet still just as simple include garlic, lemon or lime juice, vinegar and herbs and spices. The trick is knowing what herb and spice combo works best. Here are some ideas depending on your dish.

 

Beef and Lamb dishesChicken dishesPork dishesFish and Seafood  dishesLegumes dishesVegetable dishes

 

Salads / vegetable dishes

 

Fruit dishes

 

Rosemary

Oregano

Mint

Bay leaves

Lemon

Garlic

Thyme

Turmeric

Cayenne

Parsley

 

Lemon grass

Parsley

Garlic

Lemon

Sage

Chilli

Paprika

Tarragon

Allspice

 

Mustard

Cardamom

Sage

Rosemary

Thyme

Allspice

Ginger

 

Tarragon

Rosemary

Dill

Parsley

Chives

Lemon

Lime

Chilli

Ginger

 

 

Nutmeg

Sage

Rosemary

Thyme

Parsley

Garlic

Lemon

Turmeric

 

Parsley

Lemon

Oregano Basil

Coriander

Garlic

Chives

Pepper

Thyme

 

 

Mustard

Thyme

Parsley

Coriander

Chives

Cracked Pepper

Oregano

 

Allspice

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Ginger

Mint

 

4. Cook

How you cook your meal matters. Lower fat cooking methods such as steaming, stir-frying and baking can help reduce extra kilojoules and help support a healthier weight. Healthy fat is still essential but like anything ensure you don’t overdo it and choose healthier varieties like avocado, olive oil and nuts. Aim to include a thumb size portion with your meal. Don’t forget to limit cooking methods that involve saturated fat or excess amounts of oil for example deep frying or using butter, cream and cheesy sauces.

 

For more inspiration around healthy cooking ideas check out the ‘hints for healthy cooking’ factsheet here.

For more information on weight management click here.

 

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