I am so passionate about eating for health & I am always looking for new ways to bring more vitamins, more nutrition & more flavour to our family meals.
Families can be so eventful, sometimes resulting in little time to prepare well-balanced meals. No matter how good our intentions are, they can slip away just as our days slip away. The less time I have for healthy eating, the less energy I have, which means less effort I put into healthy eating… & the cycle continues! I work a full-time job, I love spending time with my family, I love looking after our house & garden, & I enthusiastically make time to keep fit. I also indulge several hours of “me time” each week… so having some practical ideas on hand helps me immensely!
A few years ago, I doubted I would ever be able to fit all of that into my days. By making a number of changes, & knowing a few tricks, I’m confident we have made valuable changes in our household to encourage mindful eating & healthier bodies!
With our fruit & vegetables, generally every colour represents a different group of vitamins & minerals. By eating a variety of colourful fruits & veg every day, you can increase your nutritional balance.
White – Antiviral & Antibacterial Properties – Onion, Leek, Cauliflower, Banana, Potatoes
Red – Contain lycopene which keeps our hearts healthy – Tomato, Strawberry, Rhubarb, Red Apple and Watermelon
Orange/Yellow – Fruits are high in Vitamin C for immune support, Vegies are high in carotenoids for healthy eyes – Oranges, Sweet Potato, Apricots, Carrots, Pineapple
Green – iron for energy & strength, high in folate for healthy cells – Broccoli, Spinach, Avocado, Peas, Green Apple and Cucumber
Purple/Blue – Anthocyanin for cell protect & cancer prevention – Beetroot, Blueberries, Eggplant and Plums
I love spices & I love spicy food! Using spices doesn’t have to mean a burning mouth though!
Herbs & spices hold as many unique & powerful health properties as your fruits & veg, and can add wonderful flavours to your favourite recipes!
My favourite herbs & spices are:
Turmeric – Turmeric has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties, & amongst an amazing list of virtues, it has been known to support conditions such as asthma, auto immune disease & arthritis. It will fight off a virus almost 8 times faster than Vitamin C! With a very earthy, slightly peppery taste, Turmeric is a perfect addition to soups, stews & seasonings.
Ginger – Ginger has amazing antibacterial properties, some studies have actually suggested that the right dose of ginger can rival antibiotics when treating blood infections. It is also effective in reducing stomach complaints like nausea and other gastric distress, and it is a powerful decongestant for treating colds! Great in stir-fries, soups & biscuits!
Coriander – Rich in Vitamins C & K for healthy cells, Coriander is a delicious addition to salads, soups & curries. Coriander also, quite amazingly, can remove mercury & other heavy metals from our bodies! Coriander has a unique taste, to me it is amazingly fresh. (Oddly, a dislike for coriander is likely to be inherited!)
Rosemary – The most wonderful quality of Rosemary is that it smells like my Nans house! High in vitamins A & C, it supports healthy vision & skin and is a powerful immune support. Studies also show that Rosemary may assist short-term memory. Great on fresh baby potatoes & roast meats.
Change is as good as a holiday!
By trying one new recipe a week, or a month, you are bringing new foods, & new food combinations to your family’s diets.
There are so many ways to incorporate more vitamins & minerals in your family’s favourite meals. I change up spaghetti bolognese by adding more vegetables & less meat every time. By grating extra carrot, zucchini & any other veg I have handy, I can bulk up the sauce easily & keep it tasty (no one’s noticed yet!). You can easily replace the meat entirely with lentils or beans. This works for most stews & casseroles as well.
I also switch between Coconut Oil & good quality Olive Oil for all of my cooking, as they both have good qualities I want in my diet.
I love to bake; it makes up a decent chunk of my down time! I choose to bake with different flours almost every time. I try gluten-free Almond Flour or Coconut Flour, Rye Flour, or Quinoa flour, and sometimes just Wholemeal Wheat flour. By switching it up, the nutritional value changes slightly to include something different. I also change the fruit & sugars in recipes, as most of them are interchangeable.
However if you love cooking as much as I do, I encourage you to pick a new recipe every month to try – it will improve your kitchen skills as well as you nutrition!
It seems like smoothies are taking over the world at the moment, & for good reason! Perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea, homemade smoothies are a quick & easy way of hiding extra vitamins, minerals & proteins; & they taste delicious! A protein packed smoothie is also great for post workout recovery.
Add chia seeds, dates, ground flaxseed or psyllium husks to increase your daily fibre intake. Acai powder, green tea, spinach & kale will boost your antioxidant consumption. For a high protein smoothie try soy milk, Greek yoghurt or even an avocado!
Here are a few quick smoothie combinations to try:
Banana, frozen strawberries, Greek yoghurt, a handful of baby spinach leafs, honey to taste,
Banana, raspberries, blueberries, half an orange, coconut water, baby spinach & acai powder,
Pear, baby spinach, kiwi fruit, coconut water, chia seeds & a squeeze of lemon juice,
Rolled Oats, blueberries, pear, Greek yoghurt/Milk of your choice, flaxseed & honey to taste;
There really are endless opportunities when it comes to sneaking in nutrition in your daily smoothies. Kids love them because they taste like a desert, I love them because they have the nutritional value of a salad!
Be a great role model!
This is my number one tip for encouraging healthier diets! A great role model educates by example; even though I have the knowledge to eat a more nutritious diet, it is the act of doing so that not only improves my life, I can actively make a difference to the lives around me.
In other words, if I’m going to talk the talk, I’m going to walk the walk!
Cooking at home can be fun, & asking the kids to help with creating delicious smoothies or picking out a new recipe to try, will keep them involved & they will keep learning.
The best thing about boosting nutrition is the reward of a healthier, more energised family to spend your time with!
What are your favourite ways to boost nutrition in your house?