My work colleague Chab read my blog and asked me to put together some ideas for him on new foods to incorporate into his diet. Chab wants foods that will provide him with energy to get through his busy day but finds that many of the healthy options don’t seem to fill him up or give him much energy.
After evaluating Chab’s diet, I found it was pretty high in salt, and towards the high side in cholesterol and saturated fats, mainly due to the high animal product content (dairy and meats). Chab’ diet was also fairly low in fibre and carbohydrates. A bowl of cornflakes for breakfast just wasn’t giving Chab much to work with through the morning, so he was very hungry at lunchtime.
My advice for Chab is to eat a good breakfast and choose foods that keep you full for longer by releasing their energy slowly. Complex carbs are great for this, so Chab should try to eat more whole grains, especially in the morning. It’s also important for Chab to eat protein-rich foods, as these keep hunger pangs at bay. An added bonus of my menu ideas for Chab is that that many of the foods help boost concentration and have high fibre content which is great for keeping cholesterol low. I’ve made sure the foods below are quick and easy to prepare – as Chab told me he doesn’t want to be slaving over a hot stove after work every night!
Chab has agreed to give these new foods a try, and to let us know how he’s feeling in a few weeks.
Five new foods for Chab to add to his diet
- Beans - one of the most filling, versatile and healthy foods around, beans are simple to prepare and come in many varieties (chickpeas, kidney beans, etc). Beans are full of fibre (good for lowering cholesterol and keeping you regular) and can be used in many ways.
Ideas for beans: baked beans on wholegrain toast, a baked bean toasted sandwich for lunch, red kidney bean burritos, stir a can of chickpeas into a salad or soup or use hummus instead of butter on sandwiches, wraps or crackers.
- Raw nuts - full of fibre and containing lots of good fats, nuts are a great healthy addition to the diet. Ideas for nuts: roast nuts and put them on salads and stir-fries, nibble on a handful at morning or afternoon snack time, sprinkle on porridge in the morning.
- Eggs – Proven to fill you up for longer, eggs help improve concentration by providing necessary nutrients and protein while being low in saturated fat and calories. One egg contains all nine essential amino acids and 6 grams of protein. Eggs from free range fed chickens are higher in Omega-3 fatty acids than chickens fed grain or soybeans. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve brain function and improve focus.
Ideas for eggs: great in the morning poached, scrambled or boiled with brown bread, boil some eggs and take to work to eat with your lunch as a great protein boost, egg and spinach sandwich on rye break, egg omelette in the evening with spring onion, spinach and red capsicum, on the weekend make frittatas using muffin pans and take to work for lunch.
- Porridge - The breakfast of kings! You really can’t beat porridge for breakfast. It is filling, cheap, nutritious, easy to prepare, and you can mix it up by adding different toppings. The high fibre content provides a steady stream of energy. Oats also contain Vitamin B which helps transform carbohydrates into usable energy.
Ideas for porridge: Prepare with half milk/half water and top with plain yoghurt, berries, banana, honey, seed mix, sultanas, grated apple, seed mix kapaipuku which my Mum loves, the list really goes on. Just don’t cover it with sugar!
- Yoghurt - Full of vitamin-B, which helps your body convert other nutrients into energy and includes lots of good bacteria for your tummy. Make sure it’s not full of sugar and additives you can make your own which is so easy you’ll never buy it from the supermarket again.
Ideas for yoghurt: on porridge or muesli, use instead of mayonnaise in salad dressings, add to curries, add to fruit smoothies, eat simply on its own as a snack with the porridge toppings previously mentioned.
Some menu ideas for Chab that incorporate these new foods
- Porridge with toppings
- Natural muesli with fruit and yoghurt
- Baked beans on toast
- Eggs on toast with avocado
- Raw nuts
- Seed mix
- Carrot with hummus
- Piece of fruit
- Hard boiled egg
- Tin of tuna/salmon/sardines on crackers
Lunch / Dinner ideas
- Stir a can of chickpeas into a salad or soup
- Egg sandwich/roll with lots of salad
- Baked bean toasted sandwich with salad
- Mini frittatas recipe with salad
- Mix left over rice/quinoa/couscous from night before with tin of tuna/salmon and squeeze lemon juice and eat with a salad
- Sushi rolls
- Vietnamese rice paper rolls
- Baked potato with baked beans or tabouli
- Felafel kebab with hummus and salad
- Instead of white rice with your meat and three vege, try other grains such as brown rice, quinoa or couscous.
- Red kidney bean burritos (make the mix and freeze it so you just have to re-heat it after work and add some salad veges and wrap it up) recipe.
- Lentil sheppard’s pie (freezes well so can take for lunches, re-heat when you’re busy) recipe
- Make a huge pot of soup and freeze it in small containers so you can grad it and re-heat it
- Make Indian style curries with chickpeas instead of meat. Recipe
- Mini pizzas on pita breads (go easy on the cheese)
- Have breakfast for dinner – baked beans, poached eggs, avocado, spinach and tomatoes on wholegrain toast is a perfectly good dinner
- Make a healthy homemade hamburger with lean meat, heaps of salad and a wholemeal bun
- Try nutmeat in place of mince in things like spag bol – you will either love it or hate it