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Articles tagged with: balanced diet
We’re busy and time-poor. But we still want to eat something healthy – and tasty – before we fly out the door. Despite all good intentions, at times healthy meals are NOT quick and take time to create. Time which you don’t have.
Cue – this new range of five chilled meals from Woolworths via Michelle Bridges. Are they any good? Do they really have two or more serves of vegetables and lots of protein? Are they a well-balanced meal?
This post has been sponsored by Woolworths
Woolworths and Michelle Bridges have teamed up to create Delicious Nutritious Ready Meals, a range of chilled meals that taste great, are nutritious and can be heated in under five minutes.
The range consists of five single-serve 350g complete meals, each with a combination of protein, whole grains and vegetables. Each supplies less than 1890 kilojoules (450 Calories) but they’re not a diet meal which I like. These five meals are available from the Deli aisle of all Woolworths supermarkets from the end of March. These are in addition to the frozen meals already on offer. These latest five are:
- Penne Beef Bolognese with Roasted Vegetables 350g
- Butter Chicken with Whole Grain Rice 350g
- Peri-Peri Style Chicken with Whole Grain Rice 350g
- Beef and Barley Casserole with Roasted Vegetables 350g
- Italian Style Chicken with Whole Grain Penne Pasta 350g
Taste: 8 out of 10
I got the enviable task of taste-testing all five and so can vouch first-hand for their top texture and nice flavour.
I have two favourites in the range - the Butter Chicken with Whole Grain Rice, and the Peri-Peri Style Chicken also with Whole Grain Rice. Here’s what I liked about the Butter Chicken meal (shown below):
- It’s great to see vegetables mixed in with the rice. Nice. Not huge quantities but still there. I spy small chunks of carrot, corn kernels and red lentils too. Plus pumpkin served with the Chicken.
- I liked the whole grain rice which you would not realise is brown rice - which is not wildly popular. It is yellowish in colour thanks to the turmeric sauce which ‘disguises’ it. The brown-rice-haters won’t even notice.
- There’s ginger, garlic and chilli which add a pleasant kick of heat.
- Best of all, it actually LOOKS like the photo on the front of the pack. There’s no bluffing here. They def want you to re-purchase.
- Excellent texture and flavour – unlike many of the ready-meals I’ve tried in the past.
All the chilled meals have a shelf life of 30 days (kept refrigerated) which is long. Yes you can freeze them after purchase which is what I did. There are different instructions for how to microwave them from frozen and they turn out surprisingly well.
Above: Peri-Peri Style Chicken, frozen
Above: Peri-Peri Style Chicken, heated
Nutrition: 18 out of 20
Here I warm to the notion of “balance”. Yes, there’s starchy carbs in each (rice, barley, pasta, legumes, veg) but it’s not huge and they are included with the protein (chicken, beef) plus half a plateful of vegetables which meets the Plate Model of what to serve – one half vegetables or salad, one quarter protein and one quarter carbs. A tick from me.
My Butter Chicken meal contains two serves of vegetables (or 162g in weight). This is pretty good and hard to achieve (believe me, I know). Note: a serve is around 75g in weight. Which means you can count these two towards the recommended total of 5 serves a day.
There are no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours.
This Butter Chicken has only 1860kJ (444 Calories). This makes for a decent intake which, along with their fibre and protein, says you won’t go hungry. For instance, if you’re on a 7500kJ or 1500 Cal diet, this meal makes up 30 per cent of your day’s intake, perfect for dinner.
All meals have a Health Star Rating of 4 out of 5. This shows they have little saturated fat, little salt or sugar and pack in more vegetables and legumes than products with 3 or lower.
Example - Butter Chicken – Nutrition Panel
Serve size: 350g
Quantity Per serve Per 100g
Protein, g 24.2 6.9 Fat, g 18.9 5.4 Fat, saturated, g 5.6 1.6 Carb, g 41.6 11.9 Sugars. g 12.2 3.5 Fibre, g 4.9 1.4 Sodium, mg 508 145
Example - Butter Chicken - List of ingredients
This is what you’re see in descending order on the label:
Whole Grain Rice (41%) (Cooked Brown Rice (60%), Carrot (20%), Corn (17%), Rice Bran Oil, Mustard Seed, Cumin Seed, Ground Turmeric (0.3%), Parsley), Butter Chicken Sauce (26%) (Diced Tomato (22%) (Tomato, Tomato Juice, Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid), Mineral Salt (Calcium Chloride)), Water, Tomato Paste (13%), Onion, Cream (7%), Yoghurt, Ginger Puree, Garlic Puree (4%), Carrot, Honey, Red Lentils (3%), Soy Sauce, Red Cayenne Chilli Puree, Herbs & Spices, Canola Oil, Fish Sauce, Corn Starch, Yeast Extract), Tandoori Chicken (17%) (Chicken (90%), Water, Tandoori Paste, Tapioca Starch), Pumpkin (16%).
Protein – each meal delivers anywhere from 16 to 25 grams of protein. If you want to build muscle after a workout, you should aim for 20 to 30 grams of protein. These meals fit nicely as a post-workout meal.
Vegetables – at least 2 serves of vegetables in each meal. Great.
Fibre – you’ll get lots of fibre from whole grains, legumes and vegetables.
Starchy carbs – ranging from brown rice, pearl barley and wholegrain penne, as well as legumes such as chick peas or red lentils plus vegetables such as corn, pumpkin, carrots as well as onion, red capsicum, celery, and onion.
Who would this product be suitable for?
Busy people who want a quick but healthy dinner but don’t have much time. I have already tested the MBND frozen dinners (which I must admit I like and are a heck of a lot better than any other frozen dinner from a supermarket) but I understand some people won’t ever venture down the frozen aisle nor buy a frozen dinner. So being in the deli chilled section near the front will attract a whole different shopper.
Convenience: 8 out of 10
Very easy. Everything is contained in the meal pack. The only thing to check is to make sure you follow the directions exactly for heating!
For instance, for my Butter Chicken meal, it’s simple to heat the two-pack meal. You simply pierce the film on both and microwave for 5 minutes. Stir well to ensure all ingredients are mixed. That’s it! On all five, the instructions for heating were clear and easy.
At $7.99 each, the retail price is very reasonable for a complete meal (often you can find them on sale for less). I buy a BBQ chicken for around $15 but still have to prepare vegetables and bread or potatoes to have with that.
Sustainability 8 out of 10
The outer sleeve is cardboard which can be readily recycled.
The black inner polypropylene tray can also be thrown into your recyclables bin. It is marked “PP 5” on the on the recycling scale.
Only the thin clear plastic film on top would be waste. But it’s only tiny.
Woolworths say they aim to source Australian ingredients where they can. All the meals are made here. All the beef and chicken are Australian.
Overall score 42 out of 50 or 4 Apples
The bottom line
I don’t want to hear you say again “Eating healthy takes too much time". Now there IS no excuse. I’d def buy these again and opt for one of my two faves, which were either the Butter Chicken or the Peri-Peri Style Chicken. For me, I’d probably pop a Delicious Nutritious meal into my fridge or freezer for those days when my schedule changes or you have to go out in a hurry. Dare I say it? These ARE delicious! They make a handy meal-for-one when you don’t want to cook. Nor have the time.
We all love chips but don’t be fooled by their innocent appearance, they’re incredibly sinister. They’re so easy to munch on with a drink before dinner, or offer at a picnic; they’re portable and need no prep or refrigeration and they fool us into thinking we’re eating nothing - so thin, so light. They disappear under the radar – who remembers that packet we munched in the car on the long boring drive home? Who remembers those handfuls wolfed down before dinner? No-one. And that’s their big problem.
Move over coffee, watch out tea! There’s a new kid on the block. It’s called Cascara and you’ll spot it at coffee chains like Campos as the new trendy hot or cold beverage (think iced teas). As they say online: “Not quite coffee, not quite tea, but both (and deliciously healthy).” So what the heck is it? And should you be buying some to brew?
This post has been sponsored by Campos
Convenience and taste have become the main criteria for our weekly supermarket shop. However, as the trend towards a more healthy diet with increased quantities of fruit and veg catches on, nutrition is becoming just as important. Enter the market, ready-to-drink juices. There are now whole aisles dedicated to them but they’re mostly made from fruit. There’s not much in the way of veg or fruit/veg combos, except Power Blend veg-fruit juices. So let’s take a look to see how they measure up
This post has been sponsored by Campbells
Who hasn’t heard that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’? But who has time to cook eggs each morning? We have taste-tested and analysed the latest convenience offerings on the market, breakfast biscuits. Here we give our verdict on whether they are a healthy alternative for an on-the-go breakfast if you are rushing out the door.
Have you ever come home with the wrong yoghurt? In other words, did you think you were buying plain, natural and unsweetened yoghurt only to find you had plain, sweetened yoghurt when you opened the tub? It’s a common mistake and easy to do when you’re shopping in a hurry and aren’t familiar with the labels. Here’s a review of 3 three plain, sweetened yoghurts with our verdict on whether or not they’re a healthy choice.
This is the fourth year I’ve been a judge in these comprehensive Food Awards. I never cease to be amazed and impressed at the innovation and creativity of our food manufacturers. And grateful that a magazine like Healthy Food Guide takes the time and trouble to select such interesting, time-saving, and nutritious products. A win-win for shoppers as well as producers.
There’s a new convenient meal option on the market. What’s more it’s just screaming out for pride of place next to the tinned tunas, microwavable rice tubs and baked bean pots as part of a quick and healthy lunch fix. Why? Because it’s healthy and it’s ready to eat! There’s no heating, draining or decanting needed. This new Edgell bean salad is a complete, balanced meal in a single ready-to-eat bowl. Intrigued? So was I...
Every time I post a tweet about my new spiralizer or upload an image of some zucchini noodles I’ve just made to Instagram, I get asked: “What brand of spiralizer did you buy?” and “Do you recommend a spiralizer?” So I thought I’d take a few pics and share how I came to decide on this brand.
I’m a big bread fan, as many of you know. Bread is my favourite carbohydrate, way above rice, pasta or potato, and I’d hate it if I couldn’t eat it. Having worked in the bread business, I appreciate how much effort goes into baking each loaf. Naturally I jumped at the chance to taste-test a little-known bread (did I need an excuse?) and put it through the Foodwatch review system. Here’s how we rated the Alpine Breads loaf sold under the label of Super Natural Protein
This post has been sponsored by Alpine Breads
Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (AHWW) is back for 2017 and the theme is more healthy home cooking. That includes vegetables and salads! AHWW is an initiative of the Dietitians Association of Australia or DAA. Now in its tenth year, it aims to raise awareness of the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. Sounds great to me.
Finding it hard to shed those extra kilos or pounds? New Year is traditionally a time for new beginnings so now is the ideal time to change your eating habits and the ways you exercise. It’s all about eating better on less and getting more movement into your day. Here are my fave 7 tips and tricks to boost your metabolism, burn more energy and promote healthy weight loss
It’s that time of year when we all turn over a new leaf and decide to lose those last stubborn kilos/pounds, exercise each day, quit smoking, give up alcohol, and become more healthy. In January, it’s a familiar mantra yet if done wisely can stay with you throughout the whole year.
Many women spend much of their lives going from one unsuccessful diet to another, convinced that they just haven’t found the right one yet, or that they lack the willpower necessary to stick to one. But what if the problem is actually DIETING itself?
Lately my social media feeds have been flooded with photos of ‘sugar-free’ sweet treats. Made popular by celebrity, Sarah Wilson, and her book ‘I Quit Sugar’, these recipes fill the hole left by traditional, sugar-containing sweets, chocolates, muffins and slices. Are they actually any better?
Named after the celebrity-studded South Beach in Florida USA, the South Beach Diet promised to be easy and enjoyable with no suffering or deprivation. But once you read through the 14 days of the initial weight-stripping (Phase 1), you soon realize that it's a very restricted diet, only one degree better than Atkins. Will you lose weight on it? Absolutely, but not for the regime or combination of foodstuffs - simply because you're only taking in a meagre 4500 kJ/1070 cals per day!
The Low GI Diet won't eliminate all your carbs but it does make you think about choosing ‘smart carbs' to help your weight loss efforts. Legumes, pasta, grainy breads and the right types of cereal, rice and snacks are preferred over white bread and refined cereals.
It's based on the Glycaemic Index (GI) concept which says that low GI carbs are digested and absorbed much more slowly and so last longer in your system. It was originally a concept for diabetes but now has advantages for dieters too.
Sandra Cabot's book Can't Lose Weight? You could have Syndrome X promises help for those struggling to shed weight. However, it's no magic bullet - you will still have to exercise and change the way you eat. Is it helpful or is it just another fad diet? Here's my review...
Is sugar the key culprit in the obesity crisis? If I cut out ALL sugar (including honey and agave) and everything sweet, will it be easier for my body to shed weight? I ate and cooked from Week 1 of the IQS program by Sarah Wilson (see my review of the book here) to see if, and how, it would help me lose a little weight. Here's how I fared on the first week ...
Forget sugar as the sole villain. Don’t blame fat alone for the flab. Forget carbs as the culprit. There is no silver bullet for weight loss and there is no ONE single food or nutrient that can be blamed for our expanding waistlines. Nor ONE single reason for the decline in our physical activity levels. There are many and they’re different for each person who’s carrying excess weight. I’ve unearthed at least 13 possible causes but I’ll wager there are many more. So look down my list and tick off which of these 13 (unlucky for some) factors are responsible for your underlying problem.
The best-selling CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has come under scrutiny over the validity of its research and the concern that a diet high in meat can lead to bowel cancer, which is one of the more common cancers at present in Australia. CSIRO has also been criticised for lending its name to a diet book as they are the country's national research agency.
= Most popular =
A. At first glance, Diet Coke and Coke Zero appear to be identical. Both contain no kilojoules (Calories) and no sugar. Both are artificially sweetened with (the same amount) of aspartame and acesulfame K and therefore have the same ‘sweetness’.
Sugar. It's been labelled "deadly", "addictive", "toxic", "sweet poison" and blamed for the rise in global obesity in recent years." Get rid of the white toxin from your diet and you'll free up your body to drop those excess kilos" (or so say anti-sugar campaigners Sarah Wilson, David Gillespie and Robert Lustig). Here are the three real reasons why I believe quitting sugar helps you lose weight.
Last week on the radio, the announcer asked me if there was a 'good' sugar – one that would satisfy her sweet tooth but that was 'healthier' than regular white sugar. She figured if there were 'good' carbs and 'bad' carbs there must be some sugars that would get the nod of approval from nutritionists.
A clear fluid diet is the best form of treatment for gastro and tummy upsets. It is the "lightest" type of diet, designed to place as little strain as possible on the digestive tract. It is NOT nutritionally adequate and should be followed only for a strictly limited time e.g. two or three days but no more than a week.
Have you ever tried to find the exact list of ingredients for Nutella online? The identical one that appears on its label - in descending order from the first (largest ingredient by weight) to the last ingredient, as required by food law? Well, you won’t find it! Here’s the hoop-la I went through to discover exactly what the ingredients in Nutella are and why Nutella is not good for your kids.
Just like yards became metres and pounds became grams, so Calories have become kilojoules. Kilojoules are the metric equivalent of Calories and have replaced Calories in Australia and many other metric countries. Yet they're very confusing, especially to my US visitors who have always only known Calories (lucky for me, I grew up with Calories then had to learn kilojoules!)
Nutritionists suggest we cut back on salt but it's sodium you'll see listed on food labels and on any recommended daily intakes. So what's the difference and how can you convert sodium into salt? And vice versa?
8,700 is a magic number in nutrition. It’s the number of kilojoules (kJ) that is the “average” intake for adults in Australia, if the surveys are correct. It’s widely used as a benchmark figure and as the basis of food labels such as the Percent Daily Intake values. Recently kilojoules have appeared on fast food menu boards and they use 8,700 as the yardstick to assess their foods against. Here's my take on it.
How many times have you heard this: “It’s better to eat the box than the cereal”? That’s fine if you’re after fibre in the form of cellulose (and I get the cereal joke), but it doesn’t address the needs of busy women who are after something quick in the morning rush, that makes a decent contribution to nutrition, and solves the problem of how to get the kids to eat something rather than nothing before school. Oh and one that tastes good too!
Ever felt overwhelmed when browsing the yoghurt section in your supermarket? There's so much to choose from - natural, flavoured, fruit, probiotic, Greek, dessert-like and kids yoghurts to name a few. But what about those who are lactose intolerant and who can't digest the natural sugar lactose found in milk and yoghurt? Is there a yoghurt for them too?
Guest review by dietitian Hannah Gilbert
Q. I was wondering how rice bran oil compares to virgin olive oil for good fats, antioxidants, cholesterol-lowering effects, etc. From what I've read on the labels, they sound pretty good and have been using both in my cooking. What's your opinion?
Here’s my idea of a quick ‘sauce’ that can be dolloped over slow-cooked lamb or barbecued lamb cutlets. It also really lifts roasted eggplant to a whole new level. What’s more with yoghurt as the star, it’s also healthy and easy. I like recipes that require a minimal amount of effort and don’t chain me to the kitchen for hours. This is definitely one of those!
Dietitian Caroline Trickey says she enjoys demonstrating this recipe in her cooking classes as it is a firm favourite of hers and so easy to make. The soup is delicious just as it is, but with the addition of the olive oil and lemon juice on top, the flavours are intensified. Based on the classic Greek lentil soup but with a lot more vegetables this is a hearty soup you won’t regret making!
Use quinoa as the base but enliven it with the stronger flavours of cranberries, mint, parsley, onion and pistachio nuts. It's a winner!
I've been swept up with the trend to cacao balls or power balls, round snacks (think mouthfuls) with the wonderful rich flavour of dark cacao. Imagine rich dark smooth chocolate but healthier. Here's one version we came up with jam-packed with almonds, prunes, seeds and figs. With the coconut fat (butter), they need an hour in the fridge to become nice and firm.
I've finally joined the kale fad AND the smoothie fad with this thick green smoothie using the green stuff. It's filling and nutritious - just drink it down as soon as it's made as it will settle upon standing. No way around this!
This is a strong gutsy salad which does double duty as a side salad to steak or a roast but can work as a filling meatless main meal salad as well. There are now so many recipes for kale that I had to add my own contribution! Just keep in mind that the kale has to be really fresh-fresh.
Cook up a quantity of this salad and you’ll find endless uses for it. With its sweetish undertone, I like to serve it with grilled lamb cutlets but it works nicely as a side dish for roast lamb or chicken. It’s a good recipe if you’re cooking for vegetarians as it’s a complete vegetarian meal on its own with its mix of grains and legumes.
I’ve cooked and modified the recipe four times. It came from two sources of inspiration – a recipe from the beautiful Ancient Grains cookbook that I worked on plus a sensational salad I sampled at Mamababa restaurant in Melbourne (now closed) which said on the menu it was George’s Mama’s favourite salad.
Kids love this dish as they can pile the meat into the lettuce leaves and eat with their fingers! Alternatively, you can serve it over boiled rice or thin noodles.
HeartActive is a delicious, 99% fat free milk enriched with plant sterols, which are proven to help reduce cholesterol. Research shows that consuming plant sterols everyday in milk can reduce cholesterol by an average of 10% in three weeks. HeartActive is currently available in a 1L carton with an extended shelf life (45 days from production) compared to ‘regular’ white milks with a shelf life of 14 days.
Smoothies or milk shakes are one of the quickest healthy breakfast recipes around and a great way to 'disguise' things whether it's fish oil in liquid form or a lot of oat bran, both of which keep your heart pumping smoothly. I like this smoothie as a complete breakfast on the run – it gives you lots of nutrition for almost no saturated fat and about a third of the kilojoules of normal milkshakes. And it's low GI so will keep you fuller for longer. Get the blender ready the night before and you're set to whirl.