Over the last five years, Aussies have become increasingly more health conscious. We are consuming less beer, wine, and spirits; and smoking less.
And that’s a good thing!
But, unfortunately, we still experience rising rates of obesity. And with obesity comes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and array of other diseases and illnesses.
Not surprisingly, most of Australia’s problems with obesity stem from our eating habits.
In short, Aussies eat way too much junk food. We consume about three times more than the recommended daily intake of junk food!
And what do I mean by junk food?
Junk food includes stuff like: lollies, chocolates, cakes, and fast food.
People eat junk food because it’s delicious, easy, and readily available. But there are ways to get food that is delicious, easy, and readily available without resorting to things that also pack on the pounds.
Check out this list for ideas!
Homemade Protein Balls
Protein balls are simple, healthy snacks that are perfect for people who are constantly on the go. You can make these snacks in advance and store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
As the name suggests, protein balls are full of protein and are all but guaranteed to increase your energy and keep you full throughout the day – all while tasting amazing!
There are several varieties of protein balls and many ways to make them. One of our favourite varieties is the no-bake oatmeal protein ball.
To make this delectable snack, you will need:
- 1 ½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup vanilla whey protein
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ cups smooth, natural nut butter
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup raisins (or other add in if you don’t like raisins)
- 4 tablespoons milk or milk substitute
Making these protein balls couldn’t be any easier. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix them with your hands. Then, roll the mixture into balls and place them in a container. Set that container in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until you are ready to eat them.
If you don’t like the idea (or texture) of eating large oats, use a blender or food processor to mix the dry ingredients. Then add the liquid to the food processor and pulse until you form a thick paste. Remove the paste from the food processor, shape into balls, and store in the refrigerator.
Five minutes and done! You have a healthy, delicious snack to take with you and fuel you throughout your day.
Everybody loves smoothies! They are refreshing, filling, yummy, and fun to drink. But unfortunately, the smoothies you get at stores and shops are often full of sugar and void of any actual fruits or vegetables. You end up spending 8 bucks on what is essentially blended ice and sugar.
You can do better!
Making smoothies at home saves time from having to wait in line, saves money, and allow you to customise your drink to fit your exact flavour preferences. Not to mention, it will be much better for you!
Choose three fresh fruits and/or vegetables. Cut up 1 cup of each ingredient. Toss them in blender. Add one cup of milk or milk substitute and one cup of ice.
Blend. Drink. Yum.
While the possibilities for smoothie combinations are literally endless, here are some of the most popular:
- Strawberries, raspberries, banana
- Pineapple, mango, banana
- Kiwi, apple, banana
- Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
- Kiwi, strawberry, spinach
- Banana, pineapple, kale
- Banana, spinach, 2 tablespoons nut butter
- Rolled oats, banana, 1 tablespoon nut butter
- Plain unsweetened Greek Yogurt, strawberries, blueberries
- Blueberries, strawberries, 2 tablespoons chia seeds
So test out different combinations and see which ones you like best!
A lot of people resort to eating less than healthy foods because, while they can blend up a smoothie and enjoy a good protein ball, they don’t have time to make an actual meal.
That’s where meal prepping comes in!
Meal prepping helps you make meals or portions of a meal in bulk and in advance so that when it’s time to eat, you have minimal prep and cook time.
There are a few essentials to ensure that you are meal prepping efficiently.
Meal prep containers are a key investment! Make sure you have a durable, lightweight set of containers in various sizes. Rubbermaid is normally reasonably priced and has a lot of good options.
You can also invest in a lunchbox set to make meal prepping for lunchtime a whole lot easier!
In addition to actual containers, you will want to have storage bags and markers on hand to help keep you organised.
2) Cooking appliances
If you plan on making meal prep a part of your healthy eating regimen, a slow cooker and food steamer are non-negotiable!
Pick one day out of the week and make that “Meal Prep Day.” On that day, dedicate an hour or two to set yourself up for success for the rest of the week.
During this time, you will cut up and store vegetables for weekly meals; separate, season and store meat for the week; and cook any rice or pasta and store. Make sure to label all of your storage containers and bags with the contents, day of the week you stored them, and the day of the week you plan to eat them.
You can use the ingredients for your daily meals however you see fit:
- Throw them in the slow cooker with some broth before you head to work
- Put them on a baking sheet when you get home, drizzle some olive oil over them, and let them bake while you take a shower
You can use these meal prepping tips to help with all meals of the day! And don’t forget to store leftovers for healthy work lunches that save money!
Best Times to Eat During the Day
You may have heard that there is a magic formula for when to eat during the day, for optimal health benefits.
Alas – there is no magic formula.
Perfect meal timing largely depends on each individual’s natural biorhythms and activity patterns. But while there is no one right answer, there are a few guidelines to help you maximise the benefits of healthy eating.
1) Eat lunch early
Research shows that those who eat a late lunch (after 3pm) are more likely to gain weight than those who eat earlier lunches.
2) Eat between 6am and 7pm
Ensuring you eat all meals and snacks between 6am and 7pm can reduce your daily caloric intake by 244 calories! And considering that extra calories often turn into extra pounds, this is a good rule to live by.
3) Eat a nutrient-rich breakfast
While there are conflicting opinions on the significance of breakfast, most researchers agree that a nutrient-rich breakfast can have positive effects on your overall eating habits.
So start the day off right, and eat a high quality breakfast.
Maybe a quick three ingredient smoothie?