In a bid to get more Australians to adopt healthy eating habits, the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), is hosting its annual Australia’s Healthy Weight Week campaign this week from 17-23 February. DAA says this year’s campaign aims to inspire more Australians to cook and prepare healthy meals at home.
There will be more than 270 events across the country, including guest appearances by Callum Hann and Themis Chryssidis from Sprout, a healthy cooking school based in Adelaid.
The boys from Sprout have also written a FREE online cookbook, Everyday Healthy: Seasonal, Fresh & Tasty, which can be downloaded from the Australia’s Healthy Weight Week website. This free cookbook contains seven healthy recipes developed by Callum and Themis for the busy everyday cook.
To get you started, the DAA has shared with us their 10 SIMPLE STEPS TO BECOME A HEALTHIER COOK:
1. CHOOSE A HEALTHY COOKING METHOD – Choose cooking methods that don’t need lots of fats and oils such as microwaving vegetables or grilling, stir-frying or baking meats and poultry.
2. ADD 2 SERVES OF FISH EACH WEEK – Fish contains healthy fats, which are important for keeping your heart healthy. Be sure to include a couple of fish meals each week. Fish can be in any form such as tinned tuna or salmon, frozen fish fillets (with no batter or crumbs) or fresh seafood.
3. REMOVE THE SKIN AND FAT FROM MEAT AND POULTRY – The visible white fat on meat and the outer skin on chicken contains saturated (‘bad’) fat. Always cut the white fat and skin off your meat and poultry before you cook it because eating too much of this type of fat can lead to heart disease.
4. THROW AWAY THE SALT SHAKER – We get enough salt in our diets without the need to add more when cooking. So get rid of the salt shaker and give your meal flavour by adding herbs and spices. Always look for lower-salt options when at the supermarket too – such as no-added-salt (or reduced-salt) sauces.
5. CHOOSE HEALTHY FATS – Be sure to have plenty of healthy fats in the cupboard for cooking with such as olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.
6. OPT FOR REDUCED-FAT DAIRY PRODUCTS – To keep healthy, choose low-fat (or reduced-fat) dairy where possible when cooking. Sour cream, milk, cheeses, yoghurt and ice cream all come in low or reduced-fat varieties.
7. USE NON-STICK COOKWARE – Non-stick cookware is great for a number of reasons. It means you can cook with much less fat, are less likely to burn or char your meat and it’s easy to clean. Some handy kitchen staples include a non-stick wok, non-stick frying pan and non-stick baking dish.
8. EAT MORE VEGGIES – Be sure to fill half your plate with vegetables at dinner and include some greens in your midday meal. If you find your vegetables don’t last, always keep some frozen varieties in your freezer. Frozen stir fry vegetables are handy for a quick stir fry and diced winter vegetables make a great soup or casserole.
9. BULK UP YOUR MEALS WITH LEGUMES – Keep some tins of chickpeas, red kidney beans, lentils and four-bean mix in your cupboard and throw them in with your Bolognaise, curry or salad. They are high in fibre, relatively cheap and keep you fuller for longer.
10. BALANCE YOUR PLATE – A healthy meal means one quarter of your plate is lean meat (or legumes), another quarter is carbohydrates and the rest is filled with colourful vegetables.
In addition to free recipes and meal plans, the Australia’s Healthy Weight Week website at www.healthyweightweek.com.au has weight management tools and stacks of information about healthy eating. You’ll also find information about events happening in your local area this week.