1. Choose asparagus
Did you know that one serve of asparagus (4-5 spears) provides more than one-third of your daily folate needs? This B vitamin is important for growth, especially during pregnancy. Asparagus is also rich in vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron. So try lightly steaming it, then serve with your favourite meat.
2. Skip the salt
Excess sodium has been linked to a risk of heart disease and strokes, so retrain your tastebuds by gradually reducing the amount of salt you use in your cooking. Try swapping the salt for ground pepper, chilli, onion flakes, fresh herbs, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
3. Rehydrate with water
We need to drink about two litres of a variety of fluids a day. This should mostly be made up of water, but if you need to shake things up a bit, just add fresh flavour. Infuse crushed fresh basil or mint leaves in a jug of water (or try sliced citrus, berries or melon). Or, freeze no-added-sugar fruit juice in an ice-cube tray then add to glasses of water.
4. Rethink salad
Spring is a great time for salad, but you don’t have to just use veggies. Add fruit for a surprising flavour kick and to help reach your recommended two serves a day. Toss in some slices of crisp Pink Lady apples or Packham pears. Or try blueberries, which are great with spinach, rocket and baby gem lettuce.
5. Read the label
Food labels can help you make healthier choices – if you know what to look for. Compare the fat, sugar and sodium (salt) levels in the per 100g column of the Nutrition Information Panel. Total fat should be less than 10g (less than 3g saturated), sugars should be 15g or less and sodium below 400mg (less than 120mg is best). Look for Coles Brand products that have the Health Star rating on the front of the pack – aim for a rating of 3.5 or higher.
6. Pantry perfection
Add the pantry to your spring-cleaning list. A well-organised pantry saves you money (no more buying things you already have) and having healthy pantry staples on hand makes cooking nutritious meals easier and more enjoyable. If unhealthy snacks are your downfall, store them up high or in opaque containers and position healthier snack options in your direct line of sight for convenient access.
7. Plan to succeed
To avoid the “we’ll just get takeaway” trap, plan your meals and your shopping. Choose your recipes for the week ahead, then write a list of everything you need. A list will help you shop faster and stay focused. If you’re after a super convenient option, remember you can shop any time at Coles Online and have it delivered straight to your door.
8. Snack smart
When mid-afternoon munchies strike, reach for unsalted nuts. Nuts are nutrient dense and high in plant protein, dietary fibre and minerals. A recommended serve of nuts is 30g a day or a small handful. As well as snacking on raw or dry-roasted nuts, they’re also great for adding some crunchy goodness to a variety of meals. Sprinkle chopped almonds over porridge, or toss walnuts into a salad.
9. Love your leftovers
Is eating seconds derailing your healthy eating plans? Invest in good-quality storage containers and pop any leftovers into the fridge before you sit down to eat. That way you’ll be less tempted to eat another helping, plus you’ll have another healthy meal ready for the following day.
10. Pack a picnic
Now it’s warming up, combine a weekend meal with a trip outdoors. Choose a location that involves a bit of a trek and you’ll work up a healthy appetite, plus the additional physical activity may help build your fitness levels. During the week, enjoy your lunch outdoors in a park or garden to boost your mood and your vitamin D levels.
11. Make brekkie in your sleep
Coles AFLW ambassador Steph Chiocci is a fan of bircher muesli for a get-ahead breakfast. “It’s a delicious way to start the day,” she says. “I keep a mix of rolled oats, shredded apple, Greek-style yoghurt, coconut and sultanas in the fridge – it’s a nutritious and filling breakfast that includes a good balance of carbohydrate and protein.”
12. Cook up eggs
For healthy in a hurry, try an omelette. Spray a small non-stick frying pan with oil and place over medium-high heat. Add 2 eggs, whisked, and 1 tbs chopped herbs. Cook for 1-2 mins, gently lifting the edges with a spatula so the uncooked egg runs underneath. When almost set, add veggies such as mushroom, capsicum or spinach, fold in half and serve with extra herbs.
13. Get grilling
Fruit is a great sweet treat as it contains naturally occurring fructose sugars, plus vitamin C and fibre. To enjoy fruit in spring, try grilling it. Apple wedges, pineapple slices, halved bananas, rhubarb and even strawberries will caramelise and intensify in sweetness after a few minutes on the heat. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon or nutmeg for extra deliciousness.
14. Make ’em last
It pays to know how to store your fresh veggies correctly so they last as long as possible. Cucumber, zucchini and capsicum can be stored in the fridge door or on the front shelves. Put long-stemmed greens, like kale, in a jar or jug of water. Cover with a plastic bag secured with a rubber band. Remember these tips and you’ll always have healthy veg on hand.
15. Grab some mushies
If you ask Coles AFL ambassador Eddie Betts, any time of day is the right time to enjoy mushrooms. “I love mushrooms – I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he says. “I love them in a risotto and with poached eggs. I even eat them raw.” For a brekkie recipe, go to coles.com.au/eggswithmushrooms.
16. Choose wholegrain
If you want more nutritional value from your bread, look for wholemeal, wholegrain or rye varieties with at least 25 per cent wholegrain ingredients such as wheat, oats, rye, barley, millet, quinoa and corn. These are rich in fibre, which means they take longer to digest and help to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
17. Go with greens
If you can add extra greens to a dish, go for it, says Coles AFLW ambassador Ruby Svarc. “Look to sneak more veggies into your meals wherever you can,” she says. “When I make pesto pasta, I’ll add extra greens like spinach and broccoli for added fibre and iron.” Try our broccoli pesto pasta recipe at coles.com.au/broccolipesto.
18. Add a peanut butter boost
Coles AFLW ambassador Kellie Gibson adds natural peanut butter to flavour her brekkies and snacks. “I stir peanut butter through oats in the morning and finish with banana and honey,” she says. “It’s a winner with celery or carrot sticks, too.” Try our brekkie bowl at coles.com.au/peanutbutterbowl.
19. Whip up a treat
Swap heavy winter puddings for a spring soft serve. To whip up 1 portion, freeze 1 ripe chopped banana in an airtight container. Place frozen banana in a blender or small food processor with 1/2 cup frozen fruit (such as berries or mango) and 2 tbs Greek-style yoghurt or reduced-fat milk of your choice, then blend until creamy and well combined. Serve immediately.
20. Steak & salad – sorted
A great meal is as simple as protein plus salad or veggies, says Coles AFLW ambassador Courtney Ugle. “I like to put good food into my body after a big track session,” she says. “You can’t go wrong with protein and roast veggies or salad.” Grab some Coles Quick Cook Porterhouse or Scotch Fillet Steaks and whip up the five-ingredient salad at coles.com.au/springslaw.