How I shop: Kim Tikellis

What does one of Australia’s leading dietitians put in her shopping trolley each week? We asked the Coles Group Manager for Nutrition & Health to share her secrets to healthy eating.

Photo of Kim Tikellis

Kim Tikellis: Staples include wholefoods such as fresh fruit and veggies, wholegrain fresh bread and roasted, unsalted mixed nuts.

Kim Tikellis is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian with more than 25 years’ experience working in the Australian food industry. As you’d expect, she packs her supermarket trolley full of healthy food options. But being a busy working parent, she also knows that meals need to be not only healthy, but tasty and convenient for when the family wants food on the table fast.

In Kim's trolley:

Fresh Salmon

With a Greek island heritage, our family loves seafood and my local Coles store so I always head to the deli for fresh fish. We try to include fish or seafood 2-3 times a week as a protein source, especially oily fish such as salmon which contains beneficial omega-3 fats. Just add a squeeze of lemon juice and dill to season fresh salmon pieces, wrap in foil and bake in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve with couscous and steamed veggies for a super-quick, deliciously healthy meal.

Avocado

All fruit and veggies are good for you. The important tip here is to enjoy a range of different-coloured varieties for natural plant phytonutrients. My advice simply is to eat the rainbow from the produce department! However, if I had to single out one, it’s avocado which is botanically a fruit, and so versatile. Avocado makes a naturally smooth creamy sandwich spread, pimps up a salad, or pairs perfectly with beans in Mexican dishes.

Tip: Create a fast dip with mashed soft ripe avocado, chutney and lemon juice. Add veggie baton sticks and crunchy baby cucumbers to serve as a healthy after-school snack for famished kids.

Greek yoghurt

With a surname like “Tikellis” it has to be Greek yoghurt! I’ve worked a lot in the dairy industry and am a big fan of the nutrition density of dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, especially for growing kids. These foods provide nutrition value via high-quality protein, calcium for strong bones and teeth, plus a range of vitamins and minerals. If you’re watching your weight, choose reduced-fat dairy foods and substitute yoghurt for cream or ice-cream on desserts or treats. I love a big dollop of creamy Greek yoghurt on fresh, fragrant summer stone fruit.

RSPCA free-range eggs

Eggs are always a quick go-to when we need a meal in a hurry. We scramble or poach RSPCA free-range eggs, add some mushrooms, tomatoes or spinach leaves and serve with a side of salt-reduced baked beans for a tasty, nourishing meal. Eggs are economical nutrient-dense foods containing protein and B vitamins, so you can enjoy two eggs daily.  

Tip: Thinly slice an egg omelette and top a veggie stir-fry, rice or Caesar salad to add protein.

Oats

My grandmother was born in Manchester, so I enjoy a hot cup of Earl Grey tea plus porridge or oats, but the rest of my family is not so keen! Oats are a “superfood” as they’re naturally high in β-glucan to help reduce cholesterol, high in dietary fibre, and filling for longer-lasting energy. My newest favourite is the Coles Wellness Road Raspberry and Cranberry Toasted Muesli, one in a range of four mueslis I have helped create together with the Coles grocery product development team. It’s high in wholegrains and enhanced with BARLEYmax fibre for gut health. Nutritious and delicious.

Wellness Road ProRice

This is my secret weapon with a 5 health-star rating.  Wellness Road ProRice is a rice alternative made with lentil and pea flour, in two variants: with added cauliflower or sweet potato powder.  This sneaky vegetable “rice” is a good source of protein and fibre to nutritionally boost your favourite curry, soup or pasta bake. Find ProRice in the pantry section of Coles grocery aisles and prep in the microwave using a rice steamer.

Frozen veggies

All veggies are good for you, including frozen veggies. I’ve worked a lot on frozen veg as a dietitian and there’s a big misconception that these foods are convenient but not as nutritious. Take it from me, they are equally nutritious so no need to feel you are compromising when you buy frozen veggies. I have learnt one important fact to remember – frozen peas, beans or mixed veg are already blanched (pre-cooked) as part of the freezing process, so the real key here is refresh them, but don’t overcook them. You can add frozen veggies direct from the freezer to a stir-fry, curry or pasta dish.

Legumes

Superfoods in a can, all the prep work is done for you and they are convenient and healthy. Fibre-rich, high in plant protein, and there is a wide range of chickpeas, lentils or beans to choose from.  I prefer no-added-salt or salt-reduced versions. Drain, and use to enhance the nutrition and flavour of any meal or dish. Lentils added to bolognaise sauce always passes the kids’ taste test. Legendary.

Tofu

Try Coles Nature’s Kitchen Firm Tofu in your next Asian dish or curry. Made from soyabean, nutritionally this tofu has the maximum 5-star health rating and is a good source of complete plant protein. Tofu absorbs other flavours such as ponzu dressing, as we discovered when visiting Japan.  Use sparingly due to the high sodium content, but it’s a tasty pairing to elevate tofu in our favourite Asian recipes. 

Bananas

Another favourite in our family fruit bowl: a ripe bunch of bananas! My husband and I love these pre-packaged-by-mother-nature fruit as a snack to “grab and go”. Nutritional reasons to enjoy bananas: they are high in potassium plus complex carbohydrates, and the vitamin B6 in bananas can help provide an energy boost. Enjoy sliced on breakfast cereal or in a smoothie.