May 2021
Jacqui Lewis - BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine

Healthy Cooking Hacks and Tips

Healthy meals in containers

Cooking is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle, but it need not be laborious.

However, our approach to cooking can be, so we have put together this list of quick and cheeky hacks that will not only cut your time in the kitchen in (well, roughly) half - as well as put a satisfying and health giving meal on the table 3 times a day!

1. The 5 P’s apply - AGAIN :)

If you follow my LIVE sessions you’ll have heard me say time and again Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance Every Time - So use one of our BN Multi Weekly Meal Planners  to your advantage and save yourself a headache every week when you’re working out what you’re going to eat.

Plan your week of meals - use our handy E- Book downloads for this:  and add the meals to the weekly plan, add the ingredients you will need to the shopping list and OFF YOU GO to the shops.

2. Get ready for the week ahead

Shop and meal prep are great to do on a Sunday Clean out your fridge then restock with this week's foods.

Pre cut what you can so you can grab and go - or prep and cook with ease every day. You’d be surprised how much time this saves when you only trash the kitchen ONCE - not every time you want to make a meal BRILLIANT

3. Double batch

In the cooler months, benign a meal prep legend is SO EASY - because stews, soups casseroles and curries all freeze so well.

Make 2 quantities each time and freeze one for later in the portion sizes you need for one meal. Again - only trash the kitchen ONCE - BRILLIANT

4. Stock up on 

Baking paper, Foil, Glass Containers, Fresh herbs, Dry Spices, Flat oven trays…. WHY?

5. Bake a bunch of veggies ahead of time

Take 3 trays, one for veggies, one for fish wrapped in baking paper and one for Herbed Chicken wrapped in foil VOILA - you've got food for about 6 meals right there.

6. Cook brown rice ahead of time

Brown rice is so good for you - but it takes AGES to cook and often slows down meal prep -
Cook a 1 kg bag of rice once a week and freeze in portions - pop in the microwave just before your meal and you’re good to go in under a minute!

7. Find your family favourites and FLOG THEM

If you have a small range of recipes that everyone loves, just keep making them until you hear complaining!

Crowd pleaser recipes are a must in a busy family - if they are made from scratch, loaded with goodness and everyone likes them - DON'T CHANGE A THING!

8. Don't run a restaurant, run a kitchen

 I am all for supporting people's likes and dislikes, but when there is a long list of “won't eats” its time to get everyone involved in the cooking.

 This gives the feeling of choice, and responsibility as well as supports good culinary skills which every healthy person needs. If kids (and adults for that matter) have had something to do with the shopping, prepping and cooking of the selected meals, there will be less complaining.

 The BEST thing for kids - get them cooking for the family from the age of about 9.
 Develop their relationship with food early and set them up for success for life.

OK - the above 7 points are practical healthy eating hacks - now come the “nutritional swaps” that make your food not only taste great - but raise the bar from a nutritional perspective as well.
Most you will “know” but the key is in the DOING

9. Make your own condiments

Sauces, dressings, gravy, salsa, chutney, are not hard to make, and keep well in the fridge for at least a week - well maybe not the Avo one....

Here's a few of my favourites:
1) 1 avocado, 1 clove garlic, 1tsp Onion dried, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil/hemp oil 1.4 cup water, Blitz and serve with ANYTHING!!

2) 1 cup Greek yoghurt, 1 clove garlic, 1-2 tbsp tahini, juice of half a lemon - Blitz and serve on anything - so good on hot veggies and salads.

Here's 8 more you can print and keep in the kitchen. You’ll never buy a pre made dressing again!!

This book provides nutritious and tasty salad dressing recipes to help you during your WLS journey.

Download the home-made Dressings Recipes e-book

10. Eat whole grain EVERYTHING

Ditch refined flours, pastas and white rice for good - They really don't bring much to the table other than empty carbs. White versions of these foods offer very little FIBRE and not much in the way of nutrition - WHOLE GRAINS act as an in intestinal broom, the fibre drags out excess cholesterol, lowers blood glucose levels and provides a good hit of the B group vitamins.

Energy from white foods it's like a quick hit - dropping you off feeling HUNGRY before time.
 Whole grains will keep you full in between meals and will reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes big time!

11. Start every meal and snack with a few bites of protein

This is a standard recommendation for WLS Patients to help with slowing down the emptying of the Bypass pouch or Gastric sleeve.

 This keeps you feeling fuller, as well as slows any spiking of your blood glucose levels in response to your meal.

When carbs go in first, they pass in the the small intestine where they are digested, this does 2 things - leaves you feeling empty very quickly, and secondly, the carbs send the message to your pancreas to ramp up insulin release - so there's more insulin on the scene - and wherever insulin is - weight loss IS NOT! So stick to foods that are about a 50 or below on the GI chart - and always eat your protein first.

Jacqui Lewis,
BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine 

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