For most of my working life I have had active jobs that require me to be fit and healthy. Because of the nature of the work I have often had more than one job meaning that I am often rushing around from place to place with not much time for meals or preparation of them. Also when I was a circus aerialist, I needed to keep my body weight reasonably low so that when I worked with a partner in doubles trapezes he was able to lift me without having a hernia (he did actually have a hernia but I swear it wasn’t my fault!) During this time I learned a lot about nutrition and found ways to eat well on the run. I would like to share some of these tips with you and hope you find them useful.
First off, you have probably heard this before, you need to eat small meals often (Around 5-6 mini meals per day). If you are a busy active person you need to be constantly refueling. This is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight because you want to keep your metabolism fired up and you don’t want to allow your self to become so hungry that you lose control and eat everything in sight.
Secondly every mini meal should contain some form of protein. Examples of this include; lean meat or fish (canned is fine), low fat cheese (cottage is good), yoghurt, egg, small handful of nuts, beans, lentils and legumes, protein powder or bar. Eating protein with your meals leaves you feeling more satisfied and means you will stay fuller for longer. Ever noticed if you eat a meal of just carbs how you are hungry again really quickly? Speaking of carbs, I don’t believe in cutting them out completely of your diet. They give you energy and important nutrients. However, try to eat the bulk of your carbs in the earlier part of the day and eat little or none in the evening. Also try to eat nutrient dense carbs like brown rice instead of white and wholegrain breads and cereals.
Thirdly, and of course you ALL know this part, you need to exercise! Most importantly you need to do resistance exercise because this is what builds muscle and keeps you burning calories even at rest. The more muscle you have, the more you can eat without it turning up as stored fat. KX Pilates is perfect for this and don’t worry ladies you will be creating long lean muscles not bulky ones!
PREPARE – If you know you are going to have a busy week ahead stock up on some things you can have in your car or desk/fridge so you don’t resort to unhealthy options. Good choices are protein bars (I’ve tasted a lot of these and my favourite tasting one is Musashi Choc Fudge), unroasted nuts like almonds, brazils, walnuts, fresh fruit (bananas are very satisfying), pre boiled eggs, fruit and nut bars, whole grain rice or corn snacks, yoghurt, cans of flavoured tuna, carrot and celery sticks with peanut or almond butter or hummus.
For quick lunches my favourite is multi grain corn cakes with avocado cottage cheese and tomato or you could use canned tuna or salmon instead. I often accompany this with a protein smoothie, made with vanilla protein powder, almond milk (any low fat milk will do) and frozen berries. You can also freeze over ripe bananas and add them to your smoothies. These smoothies are almost a meal in itself and makes for great breakfast too.
Another easy option is to keep some pre-baked potatoes in the fridge (or you can microwave for 5 mins) and eat with a small can of baked beans and some low fat cheese or sour cream. I also like to keep pre cooked Quinoa in the fridge and add it to salads. It’s loaded with protein!
My Favourite quick dinner is an omelette with spinach, avocado, cheese and tomato in the middle. You can also add some lean ham or turkey breast to it. Fish and steak are also very quick and easy to cook and you can pair them with some steam in the bag vegies from the freezer section in the supermarket. Fortunately living in Melbourne we are blessed to have lots of amazing cheap Asian cuisine on our doorsteps. There are many Thai places (my fave is Derby Thai in Caulfield) where you can get a single serve stir fry and rice in one container for under $10. It’s healthy, low fat, nutritious and delicious. Many places also have the option of having brown rice instead of white. Also Grill’d Burgers does an amazing Mixed Vegetable salad with quinoa and feta. You can add grilled chicken to it for a complete meal, its absolutely delicious!
Now to finish everyone needs a sweet treat once in a while so I would like to share with you a fabulous brownie recipe. It’s so yummy and moist you won’t believe there is no butter or oil in it.
- 1 cup unsweetened apple purée or sauce
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- 3/4 cup self-raising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup (70g) walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 175°C and lightly spray or oil a 20x20cm baking dish.
- Place puree in a medium-sized bowl. Sift in cocoa, flour and baking soda. Add sugar and salt. Mix until just combined (do not over-mix as this will toughen the brownies). Gently fold in chocolate chips and walnuts. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the centre feels set and fudgy when a skewer is inserted.
- Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before turning out. Cool completely before slicing into squares. Dust with sifted icing sugar before serving, if desired.
Use frozen berries instead of walnuts.
Recipe by:Bronwen King