health

How to eat well (when you really, seriously hate healthy food.)

Is a healthy eater born or made?

I was a terribly unhealthy eater all throughout my childhood and teenage years. I can honestly tell you that I’d not tasted a tomato or a pineapple until I was 25 – and I grew up in Queensland.

That’s not to say that my mother didn’t TRY to make me eat healthy food. And I guess if steak, peas and potato were considered a healthy diet in the ‘80s, then she succeeded.

But as soon as I could fend for myself, pay for my own food and eat as I pleased, not a vegetable was seen across my plate – it was fast food and caffeine all the way, baby. And I think now that I’m a little older (and wiser) I can tell you why.

It was a mental block. On pure principle, I hated health foods simply because they were decreed “healthy”.

“But as soon as I could fend for myself, pay for my own food and eat as I pleased, not a vegetable was seen across my plate – it was fast food and caffeine all the way, baby.”

 Just as an FYI, this post is sponsored by SodaStream. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

It wasn’t until I realised that I could incorporate healthy food into my diet that could still taste amazing that I changed my ways. And it really is so easy.

I started with:

1. Simple sandwiches.

Why do we think we have to stick with bog-standard sandwiches when it is so easy to create healthy, filling sangas? Not only that, why do we pay a ‘sandwich artist’ half of our weekly wage for one when it is so easy to prepare a pulled chicken, cheese, avocado and tomato wrap before we head out the door of a morning?

“Why do we think we have to stick with bog-standard sandwiches when it is so easy to create healthy, filling sangas?”

2. Stir frys.

They are God’s gift to the lazy cook. I mean, really, if there are vegetables that you can’t make taste delicious with some oyster and soy sauce, I don’t even want to know about them.

Related: 4 incredible food combinations you probably haven’t thought of before.

3. Tasty (filling) salads.

Okay, I’m going to share with you a simple yet amazing chicken salad that you can impress all of your friends with (even the fussy ones who don’t usually feel full after a salad).

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup reduced-fat Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
Cooking spray
1 cup seedless green grapes
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup mango chutney
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup canola mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preparation:

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1. Combine the first four ingredients, stirring to combine. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place yogurt mixture in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator for two hours, turning occasionally.
2. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
3. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place chicken, breast side down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 10 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; grill 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of breast registers 160°. Remove chicken from grill; let stand 10 minutes. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Coarsely chop chicken and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
4. Add grapes and remaining ingredients to chicken mixture; toss gently to combine. Chill 30 minutes.

Related: A dietitian talks takeaway and tells us what to order (and what not to order).

4. Drinks.

I admit that over time I’ve fallen in love with sparkling water with a slice of lemon. Water on its own gets SO boring. The bubbles are refreshing and lemon can be substituted for any kind of fruit you like best, or better yet, a big combination of these.

And you can make it a bit fancy if you like.

5. Rissoles.

Made famous on The Castle and still cooked by mums all across Australia who use them to sneak vegetables into their children’s food- the humble rissole is a godsend.

Throw it on the plate with creamy mash and broccolini and your children will be eating ALL of the vegetables and still getting some iron into their diets – and best of all, they won’t even realise.

That, of course, is just the tip of the healthy eating iceberg. With the internet now at almost every person’s fingertips, our choices for healthy, delicious food is literally limitless. We really don’t have any excuse these days NOT to want to eat healthy.

What is your favourite sneaky health food?

If you want to ramp up your healthy eating with the best green smoothie recipe EVER, Nicola Wood shares her secrets. 

What’s your favourite, surprisingly delicious, healthy meal? 

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