Inspire | 14 December 2021

Your Essential Guide to Delicious and Nutritious Eating

by Carlisle Homes

New year, new food. How to tackle healthy eating habits for 2022.

Summer is a time ripe with festivities, which doesn’t come without its challenges. We are faced with guests to entertain in the silly season, and come January, we want to knuckle down and cultivate healthier lifestyles. A central force here is food, and with so much to consider it can all be overwhelming.

Thankfully, we have Lisa Holmen, nutritious recipe guru and founder of food and travel blog, Lisa Eats World. For our new Summer Series, Lisa joins Carlisle homes to deliver nutritious recipes and expert advice so you can hit the ground running with a delicious summer. 

This week, we explore how to successfully tick off one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions: a nutritious reset.

This New Year, Lisa suggests making long-term, sustainable resolutions you can stick with, such as a balanced whole food diet. Photography: Her Golden Point Photography.

After all the indulgence over the festive season, it’s time to tighten those waist strings and eat healthily for the New Year. This doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on flavour however. Whether it’s a delicious breakfast, a home cooked dinner or a snack on the go you can still eat delicious foods with nutrition in mind.

Set realistic goals you’ll actually stick to

Avoid making New Year resolutions which are impossible to stick to. When it comes to healthy changes, think of them being sustainable and long term rather than short term fad diets.  Adapt a balanced whole food diet which is centred on nutrient dense foods like lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts and wholegrains and limit refined processed foods. Each meal should have a good balance of fibre and protein to keep you fuller for longer and avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes throughout the day.  A good place to start is to swap refined grains with whole grains. This is as simple as opting for wholegrain bread, rice and pasta rather than the white variety or experiment with other wholegrains including quinoa and farro.

Think sustainability

Eat with sustainability in mind and try going plant based! Consume at least five serves of vegetables every day with as many different colours as possible to get a range of different nutrients and antioxidants in the diet. Half of your dinner plate should be filled with vegetables or salad. If you’re used to every meal having a protein, try adopting at least one plant-based dinner once a week like Meat Free Monday. Get creative with your usual dishes with plant-based alternatives. Lentils for example are great substitutions for mince in dishes like spaghetti bolognese and lasagne. Introduce legumes into your diet like chickpeas, lentils and beans which are packed full of plant-based protein and gut-friendly fibre.

Plan ahead

Try cooking more meals in the comfort of your own home, rather than dining out or getting tempted by takeaway. This way you are more likely to consume less saturated fat and sodium. Make meal planning and meal prep part of your weekly routine. Planning a menu of meals in advance is much more likely to result in healthier meals and save you money and reduce food waste.

Kick start your metabolism

Try not to skip meals and eat before hunger strikes to avoid overeating later. Protein rich snacks are perfect for this. Think low sugar yoghurt, nuts, home-made muesli bars and seeds. Try to keep your pantry and fridge ‘junk free’ so you don’t fall into the temptation of snacking on something unhealthy. Stock your fridge and pantry with plenty of healthy snacks and wholefoods. Eating a healthy breakfast is essential too since it provides important energy for the day and kick start’s your metabolism. Check out our Healthy Breakfast guide here (link to other article). 

Read on for Lisa’s curated selection of nutritious and delicious recipes to kick start your new year!

Creating healthier meals to eat every day is much easier when you plan and prepare food as part of your weekly routine.

Chickpea and Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Nourish Bowl

Ingredients 

  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Pinch salt 
  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup of purple cabbage, steamed
  • 1 cup of kale, shredded,
  • Chia seeds and lime to garnish

Tahini Dressing

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 210c.
  2. Line a large baking pan with baking paper.
  3. Add the chickpeas, oil and spices in a large bowl and toss to combine and place them on one side of the baking tray.
  4. Place sweet potato on the other side of the baking tray and sprinkle with olive oil and honey.
  5. Toss to coat then sprinkle with thyme. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until sweet potato is golden brown and soft in middle (chickpeas may need slightly longer).
  6. To make the tahini dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
  7. Add more water to reach the desired consistency.
  8. Place quinoa in each bowl and top with roasted chickpeas, sweet potato, avocado, cabbage and kale.
  9. Sprinkle with chia seeds and drizzle with the tahini dressing.

Entertaining this summer provides the perfect opportunity to serve delicious, healthy food your guests will thank you for.

Persian Stuffed Eggplants

These eggplants are beautifully balanced with savoury and sweet notes. The addition of pomegranate molasses provides a subtle natural sweetener to the dish and the pomegranate seeds provide a lovely burst of freshness on the palate. Substitute lamb with lentils to make a vegetarian version. 

Ingredients

  • 3 eggplants
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 450g lean lamb mince
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Black pepper and salt to season
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
  • 50g feta
  • 4 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Seeds of one pomegranate

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Cut the eggplants in half lengthways, then cut diamonds into each half in a lattice pattern and drizzle with half of the olive oil.
  2. Bake in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes until tender.
  3. While the eggplants are cooking, prepare the lamb mince.
  4. Heat the rest of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat then add the onion and garlic and cook until soft then add the cumin and cook for another minute.
  5. Add the lamb mince and cook until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Season to taste.
  7. Stir in the pomegranate molasses and cook for another few minutes until the liquid is reduced.
  8. To serve, place the eggplants on a serving dish and top with the lamb mixture followed by the feta, parsley and pomegranate seeds.

Pair a big meal with an elegant table setting to create an experience for yourself and those around you.

Sweet Potato, Peanut and Coconut Curry

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch (approximately) of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 400g tin of diced tomatoes
  • 400g coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to season.
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 red capsicum, deseeded and sliced
  • 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 120g baby spinach
  • Coriander, red chilli, extra peanuts and rice to serve

Method 

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat then add the onions and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute until aromatic then stir in the turmeric and red curry paste and allow the flavours to develop for another 1 – 2 minutes.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, two cups of water (or stock) and bring to the boil then reduce the heat to simmer and add in the coconut milk, peanut butter, brown sugar and lime. Season to taste.
  3. Add the sweet potato and capsicum and cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Once the sweet potato is tender add the chickpeas and baby spinach and cook until the spinach has just wilted.
  4. Serve immediately with fresh coriander, chilli, extra peanuts and rice. 

Explore more of this three-part series! Discover our essential guide to planning the perfect dinner party here and our healthy breakfast ideas here.

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