Make the food you enjoy even better for you

Spring has sprung, which usually means it’s around the time to freshen up our kitchens and pantries as we move closer towards to the summer months. But healthy eating and paying closer attention to your nutrition doesn’t need to mean deprivation. With a few healthy hacks you can enjoy the foods you love, while making sure they’re packed full of good-for-you ingredients.

Here are some of our tips:

Crowding out

The term ‘crowding out’ is a method used by nutritionists and health coaches to encourage their clients to eat more of the good stuff! The more you pile up your plates with nutrient-dense foods like fruit and veggies, the less room you’ll have for the other items on your plate. And as you begin to eat more whole foods, you’ll begin to crave less of the processed and sugary stuff that doesn’t tend to support our nutrition and health. Here’s how to give the foods you love to eat a nourishing makeover.

Hidden veg

It’s a well-used hack for getting kids to eat their veggies, but sometimes even us adults need a little extra motivation to reach our daily serve. If this is you, or maybe someone you know, then try adding mild flavoured and lightly coloured vegetables (like peeled zucchini and cauliflower) into your favourite dishes. Just chop them finely in your Thermomix first, and the recipient will be none the wiser. Saucy items like pasta sauces, curries, lasagne, risottos and even pizza sauce are the perfect vehicle for hidden vegetables. You can even start to swap out some of the meat in your dishes for extra vegetables without sacrificing on flavour (or comfort factor). For example, when making bolognaise or beef tacos try substituting 1/3 of the mince for finely chopped mushrooms. Yum!

Go for green

What’s our number one tip for upgrading you favourite meals? Add some greenery! Leafy green herbs such as coriander, parsley and basil are great sources of vitamins A, C and K, along with minerals such as iron and calcium. So, adding a generous serving of chopped, fresh herbs on top of your favourite dishes will not only add stacks of flavour but also increase the nutrient density of your meal too. If you really want to go for gold when it comes to upping your greens, then we recommend you try Sam Wood’s Pesto Pasta with Roasted Pumpkin which will be coming soon to Cookidoo as part of our upcoming 28 by Sam Wood collection. It’s filled to the brim with fresh leafy greens while still satisfying that pasta craving.

Bake with beans

Beans like black beans, chickpeas and red kidney beans are filled with plant-based protein and fibre, along with essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, they're a super versatile ingredient, and many bakers are using them in place of flour to create gluten-free delights.

This trick works best in denser baked goods like mud cakes, mud muffins, brownies and blondies. Try this Chocolate bean cake and with coconut butter cream frosting for a more decadent option or Louise Keats’ Chocolate mud muffins for a gut-loving idea.

Liven it up

After a long winter of consuming a lot of warming cooked dinners, Spring is a good time to add some raw plant foods back into your diet. “Live” foods, that is foods that haven’t been processed or cooked, are often higher in certain vitamins such as Vitamin C, along with some antioxidants that are usually destroyed during the cooking process. Slowly increasing your intake of raw foods can be as simple as snacking on raw fruits and vegetables, serving your pastas and lasagne with a green side salad, or adding a dollop of homemade Basil pesto or Tomato bean salsa on top of your morning eggs.

So, what's for dinner?

Check out our Eat Well cookbook for more wholesome inspiration and enjoy digging into the foods you love with an extra hit of health.

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