Good eating for good health

Turn on your TV, open a newspaper, or boot up your computer and you're bound to get some confusing news about diet and health. Healthier. Happier. a Queensland Government initiative states:


"Queensland is a great state but unfortunately we have the highest rate of obesity in Australia. Our research shows 65% of Queenslanders are overweight or obese, and 33% don’t even realise it. Not only that, 23% are at risk of being overweight in the future." (Queensland Health, 2016)


But don't let this drive you to distraction — or to the donut shop. Instead, remember four key facts:

  1. What you eat affects your appearance, your energy and comfort, and — above all — your long term health.

  2. Australia is on the wrong track. Diabetes and high blood pressure are on the rise. Heart attacks, strokes, and cancer are distressingly common. Many factors contribute to these complex problems, but the basic reasons are simple: we eat too much, we choose the wrong foods, and we don't get enough exercise.

  3. Scientists now know what diet is best for health (see below). The fine print has changed and is likely to change some more, but the key facts are in.

  4. Good eating is not a punishment, but an opportunity. If you know why it's important and what to do, you'll find it enjoyable and satisfying. And if you establish an overall pattern of healthful nutrition, you'll have plenty of wiggle room to savour the treats that matter most to you.

    Your goals

    For most people, TLC stands for tender loving care. For doctors, it stands for the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet. The TLC diet provides sound goals for most Australians.


    The TLC Diet

    Total kilojoules adjusted in conjunction with exercise to attain or maintain a healthy body weight. (Your doctor or a nutritionist can help you figure out how many calories you, personally, should be taking in.) Talk to us - make an appointment with our Nutritional staff, and we will be able to calculate the exact figures for your body.


    Total fat
    25% - 35% of total kilojoules
    Saturated fat
    Less than 7% of total kilojoules
    Polyunsaturated fat
    Up to 10% of total kilojoules
    Monounsaturated fat
    Up to 20% of total kilojoules
    Less than 200 mg a day
    About 15% of total kilojoules
    The Institute of Medicine
    at Harvard recommends:
    • men 50 years and younger get 38 grams per day
    • women 50 and younger get 25 grams per day
    • men over 50 get 30 grams per day
    • women over 50 get 21 grams per day


    The take home 

    A whole foods business like Wholesomeness can be really useful. Not only for our Health Coaching and Cooking Class services, but our online meal delivery service provides perfectly balanced and portioned meals for when you are too busy to cook (or simply prefer not to) - check out the current menu here. We love to use vegies in interesting ways to ensure you get enough fibre and its never boring. Baked apple, beetroot and quinoa anyone? See the above pic of our Roast Pork Belly for a beautiful combination of flavours.

    Here's a typical nutritional information panel found on all our meal descriptions on the website. This one is for Braised Lamb with Cavolo Nero, Roast Pumpkin and Red Onion.

    Servings per portion: 1 Serving size: 300g
    TOTAL Energy: 1350 Kj
    Protein: 33.6g
    Fat: 13.4g
    Carb: 13.2g

    What's interesting to most from the table above, is that daily intake of fats is much higher than most people would think. But the important point to note is that what you want to be eating is monounsaturated fat. Liquid at room temperature, you can find these fats in olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds and don't forget about fish (mostly polyunsaturated but also high in mono), eggs, some cheeses (think Roquefort and Parmesan) and butter.

    When cooking oils are heated they can oxidise forming free-radicals and harmful compounds that you definitely don't want to be consuming. Which is why we don't use cooking oils typical of the food industry - you will notice our meals are mainly braises, tagines and curries - so we don't actually fry anything in oil. That leaves room for you to add good fats in the form of extra virgin olive oil, nuts and avocado to your salads and snacks throughout the day.

    Like any advice, listen to your body first and choose to use the information that works for you. Bio-individuality is the key to nutrition, and what works for your friend or someone in the media may not work for you.

    For some inspiration on delicious healthy recipes, sign up for a Wholesomeness cooking class. Or talk to Georgia our in-house Nutrition Consultant and Certified Health Coach about a free introduction to Health Coaching today via


    Five tips to create a nourishing diet that you can enjoy

    It’s all about teaching yourself to think about food in a new way. Years ago, meat and three veg was the Australian staple. Now we know that more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and fish are best for our health. 

    Food is intrinsic in our everyday lives, not to mention our celebrations! From – “hey, it’s your birthday, here’s some cake” to –“it’s Friday lunch, let’s take the team to the pub”. 

    Make it exciting by experimenting with new recipes and meal plans. Be creative and take chances. Instead of dreading your new food lifestyle, have fun with it.

    Don’t be in a rush. Change slowly. By the time you are 40, you'll have eaten some 40,000 meals — and lots of snacks besides. Give yourself time to change, targeting one item a week.

    1. Start with breakfast, switching from processed cereals and breads to eggs, spinach and a little bacon, or try oatmeal with walnuts and fruit. If you just can't spare 10 minutes for a sit-down breakfast, whiz some greens with a banana and protein powder for a quick smoothie on the run. 
    1. For lunch, try out salads loaded with a protein hit such as cheese, tuna or leftover roast chicken. If you crave sweetness after a meal, try a piece of fruit here.
    1. Snack on unsalted nuts, trail mix, fruit, a ‘rainbow’ of raw veggies with hommus. I like capsicum, cucumber, celery, carrots – anything with crunch.
    1. For dinner, experiment with fish, poultry, beans and lentils, roasted vegies (so easy), quinoa, brown rice, and, of course, more salads and veggies. In fact, try making your meal plant based with a little added protein like a fist-sized piece of chicken or red meat. Then any leftovers make a great salad the next day.
    1. Fresh fruit and frozen fruit desserts are examples of suitable after-dinner treats. And there's nothing wrong with the occasional cake, pie, or chocolate if portions are moderate and it’s more of a once a week type habit – not every night!

    Most of all, just relax about your diet. There is no such thing as the perfect food. Not everything on your plate needs to have a higher purpose. Take your tastes and preferences into account. If Spaghetti Bolognese is your favourite food, it is perfectly okay to eat it — but try to make it a Sunday treat instead of a daily staple. The better choices you make in your overall diet, the more "wiggle room" you'll have to spoil yourself.

    Remember, take a long-term outlook. Don't beat yourself up if you slip up or "cheat" from time to time. It’s not about being faultless every single meal, much less every mouthful. It is all about balance. Your nutritional peaks and valleys will even out if your overall dietary pattern is sound.

    For more delicious healthy recipes, try a Wholesomeness cooking class. We can tailor them specifically to your needs.

    If you’re struggling with changing your diet and lifestyle, you may want to consider hiring a health coach, the idea is pretty simple – you want to make the changes necessary to be your best – but ‘stuff’ keeps getting in the way. A coach can help you listen to your body first and use the information that best works for you. Because bio-individuality is the key to nutrition.

    Georgia, our in-house Nutrition Consultant and Certified Health Coach is available on Friday’s to talk to you about a free introduction to Health Coaching make a one-on-one appointment via

    Merging good taste and good nutrition

    At Wholesomeness, we’re all about fusing the latest nutrition research via Harvard Medical School and other evidence based peer reviewed resources with healthy cooking by delivering healthy prepared meals to your home, providing hands-on cooking classes and health coaching.

    For those who are time poor or going through a busy or stressful period, we have our Meal Plans because we know from our own experience that life can get crazy sometimes – and these meal plans take the thinking out of healthy eating by providing you with a nutritionally balanced week (Executive Pack), fortnight (Slim & Tone Plan) or our 30 Day Reset plan at the touch of the keypad.

    But when things simmer down a bit, and you find you actually have the time to shop at the farmers markets and do some awesome meal-prep for the week we have some practical tips for nutritious and delicious home-cooking from our family to yours.

    Make plants the main attraction

    A substantial amount of research shows that people who eat a plant-based diet — mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes — live longer and enjoy better health than people whose diets consist mainly of animal-based foods like meat and dairy.

    Many cultures developed their cuisines around plant foods out of necessity. Traditionally, animal protein was expensive, so limited quantities were available. Mediterranean, Latin American, and Asian cultures are known for pairing healthy plant foods with lean protein (fish, chicken) and monounsaturated fat (olive oils, nuts).

    These diets can have substantial health benefits. For example, a Mediterranean-style diet has been found responsible for:

    • longer life expectancy
    • reduced heart disease
    • relief from rheumatoid arthritis
    • lower rates of Parkinson's disease
    • lower rates of Alzheimer's disease

    Here are five tips to get creative with your plant-based meals:

    1. Follow the motto ‘If it grows together, it goes together.’ For example, try the Spanish sauce called Romesco over grilled vegetables. It's made from roasted red peppers, olive oil, and nuts.
    2. Make olive oil really shine by matching a bold olive oil, such as a Tuscan varietal, with other bold flavours, such as rosemary and pine nuts.
    3. Complement a milder olive oil, such as a French varietal, with subtly flavoured foods such as a garden salad with fish
    4. Blend green herbs (parsley/coriander), raw garlic, olive oil and lemon juice – a little chilli - and fennel seeds and add generously to roasted vegetables for a potent health elixir (also called Chermoula)
    5. Tabouli is so easy to make – and goes with any meal – finely chopped tomato, cucumber, parsley, mint leaves, green onions are combined with lemon/lime juice, olive oil and some soaked cracked bulgur wheat.

    Eat locally

    Locally grown foods may be fresher and have higher nutrient content. Since they spend less time being shipped and handled, they may look and taste better. Shop at your farmers market or arrange a local vegie box delivery from a local business such as Sprayfree Farmacy. We're actually one of their pick-up points, at our Healthy Grill Bar Cafe in Grange.


    Spice it up

    Despite the lack of research on their health benefits, spices, herbs, and aromatics (any plant, herb, or spice that adds lively scent to a beverage or food) make other plant foods mouth-watering treats. And they are definitely a healthier option than piling on the salt. Unlike salt, spices have not been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke.

    Here are four ways to ensure the quality and flavor of your spices:

    1. Buy them in small quantities and in their whole form to ensure freshness.
    2. Store them in a cool, dry space.
    3. Grind them right before use.
    4. Toast them dry in a hot skillet or stir-fry them in oil over medium-high heat (both for just 10-20 seconds).


    Get excited about whole grains

    Rich in fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium, whole grains (such as quinoa or brown rice) are far better nutritionally than refined grains (such as bread or white rice). And they make you feel fuller longer. Because the starch inside of them is absorbed more slowly, they're less likely than refined grains to be quickly stored as fat. Regular consumption of whole grains also reduces the risk of:

    • diabetes
    • Cancer
    • heart disease
    • stroke
    • diet-related depression

    Here are four ways to incorporate different types of whole grains into your diet:

    1. Try grains from around the world such as teff, spelt, farro, kamut, and amaranth.
    2. Blend whole grains such as quinoa with colourful vegetables, spices, and olive oil.
    3. Eat whole-grains as cold or hot cereals, adding fresh fruit, spices (e.g. cinnamon and nutmeg) and nuts.
    4. Season whole grains with sweet spices like nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, and garam masala spice.

    Go a little nuts

    In a large trial of men and women, eating nuts five times a week or more lowered diabetes risk by 27%. In another large study, women who ate nuts just about every day lowered their risk of heart disease by 32%.

    However, since a 30g portion of nuts can pack 700Kj or more, eat them in moderation to help prevent weight gain. Two tasty suggestions: toasted pine nuts sprinkled over a salad or brown rice, or almonds and fresh herbs added to the top of a vegetable curry or casserole.


    Following the above advice will not only make your meals nutritious, but will also allow you to enjoy some of the most delicious food you've ever eaten.

    Like any advice, listen to your body first and choose to use the information that works for you - for example some people thrive on a vegan diet while others need to include animal foods. Bio-individuality is the key to nutrition, and what works for your friend or someone in the media may not work for you.


    For more delicious healthy recipes, sign up for a Wholesomeness cooking class

    Or talk to Georgia our in-house Nutrition Consultant and Certified Health Coach about a free introduction to Health Coaching today via


    Who’s growing your food?

    Food glorious food... we all need it, most of us really like it (some a little too much) but how many of us actually know where it’s come from? Do you know the name of the farmer who grew it, what was sprayed on it, how fresh it actually is?

    Read more

    10 easy packed lunch ideas for busy days

    I reckon it is pretty easy to eat healthy lunches……that is if you only have healthy food in the fridge, and as an extra precaution you also hide your car keys to make sure you do stay at home to eat said healthy lunch. (p.s. This may cause problems if you hide your car keys and then can’t remember where they are when you are already running late for an appointment.)

    But, how do you have a healthy lunch when you have to actually leave the house and go to places like …..say…. work.

    Here are 10 simple lunch ideas that will save you time. From salads, to healthy and hearty warming lunches that you can make ahead. These delicious ideas will help you stay satisfied throughout the afternoon, and because you made it yourself you will have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what you are eating, no nasty preservatives or hidden sugars thanks very much. Just think of all the extra time you’ll have to sit down and enjoy your lunch, rather than waiting in line to order it. You will also save money, as well as the obvious benefit of eating nutritious and healthy meals.

    Wait! Before we get started it is a good idea to take a bit of time on a Sunday to plan and prepare your lunches for the week. By packing your lunch the night before it is one less thing to worry about in the morning. Not saying all this will be easy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be challenging, and it does take a level of commitment to do this.

    Here are 10 ways to make it easier:

    1. Make double dinners

    This option is quite obvious as it is quick, easy and cost efficient.

    a) Heat at work, or heat at home and pop in a thermos before you leave for work. Think Bolognese, stews, soups, chicken drumsticks and curries. These are all easy to make in bulk, especially if you have a slow cooker.
    b) You can keep some for lunches or freeze portions for later.
    c) If you already order your dinners from Wholesomeness, add some more delivered meals to your order to use as serves for lunches.

    Photo courtesy of

    2. Salad

    Before you say ‘booorrringgg”, salads are packed full of everything your body needs to get through the day, full of fibre, vitamins and nutrients. Here are some tips to making salads easy and fun.

    Salad jars – Get your hands on some mason jar and fill with different salads.

    Add dressing first: Balsamic and olive oil options are a good choice. Then add tomato, capsicum, red onion. Anything that would taste good pickled and acts as a barricade layer to the liquid.

    Then add more vegetables: Mushrooms, beans, avocado, sprouts, celery. Add your grains: brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat. Then add your protein: egg, ham, chicken, tuna, roasted or leftover meat from dinner, feta or mozzarella cheese or beans. Protein is what is going to fill you up and get you through the afternoon. Add your base: spinach, leafy greens, nuts/seeds

    Options are endless: cobb salad, greek salad, sweet potato salad. They do stay fresh as the dressing stays on the bottom. See more great recipe ideas here.

    Picture courtesy of

    3. Canned Tuna

    A great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12 and protein

    a. Sustainable brands are becoming more common – Fish 4 Ever is Australia’s # 1 Sustainably fished Skipjack Tuna as rated by Greenpeace for the past 5 years. 100% Pole and Line caught. Click here for a list of Fish 4 Ever stockists in Queensland.
    b. Combine tuna with good quality mayonnaise, or a baby spinach salad, or combine with tomatoes and basil
    c. Top tuna on rice crackers or other wholesome crackers d. Keep a few cans of canned tuna at your work


    Image courtesy of:

    4. Fermented food

    Fermented food has been used by different cultures for many years. Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, fermented vege’s/fruit and yoghurt.

    a. Adding a small amount of fermented foods to every meals provide a number of benefits including: increased vitamins, boosting your immune system, improving digestion, and adding good bacteria to your gut.
    b. Add chopped fermented pickles to tuna, or salads.
    c. Have some tzatziki with ham or as a dip.
    d. Add raw sauerkraut as a side to ham or meat dishes.
    e. Drink some kombucha or kefir.

    Image coutesty of:


    5. Boiled egg

    Eggs are a great source of protein, boil half a dozen eggs on Sunday night and store them ready in the fridge.

    6. Dips and vegetables

    Use vegetables (carrots, capsicum, beans, cucumber) for dipping into guacamole, tzatziki, hummus, beetroot or pesto dips.

    7. Leafwhich

    Use leaves such as lettuce, silverbeet or ‘massaged’ kale as a wrap or ‘taco’, with a filling of grated carrot, beetroot, shredded chicken or whatever else takes your fancy.

    8. Avocado

    Avocado’s are a great source of vitamins and full of healthy, beneficial fats that help to keep you full and satiated.

    a. Avocado Shell Salad: halve an avocado and top with red onion, tomato and humous.
    b. Or spread avocado on rice crackers with a little lemon juice, salt and pepper.

    9. Green smoothie

    Green smoothies are great because they still provide fibre (as opposed to juices). Dark leafy greens contain plenty of antioxidants and vitamins. You can prep and blend and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. A good green smoothie is made up of a few things, leafy greens, vegetables, some fruit, liquid and other extras:

    a. Leafy greens: spinach, kale, bok choy,
    b. Fruit: berries, banana, pineapple, apple, avocado, pear (you can also use frozen berries,
    c. Liquids: water, almond milk, coconut water/milk, and cultured drinks (kefir, whey, kombucca)
    d. Extras: chia seeds, green superfood powders (Spuralina, maca etc), cacoa powder, nuts, spices
    e. This website is a good guide to green smoothie making.


    Image courtesy of:

    10. Choose Water to drink!

    You don’t want to ruin your healthy lunch by adding a sugar-laden soft drink or juice. So there you go, I hope you found some of these ideas helpful. Good luck! Mix it up and add variety.

    Remember to pack it right, invest in some good quality lunch containers or thermos. There still might be times when you need to purchase your lunch, so plan ahead and choose places where you know they have healthy options. And remember you can always get chef prepared healthy meals delivered from Wholesomeness. Easy Peasy!

    Now I would love to hear from you guys – what are your tips for packing healthy lunches to work?

    CoreyOUR GUEST BLOGGER: Corey is a wife and mum of 2. Seeing so many sick people around (including herself) inspired her to research what foods we should be eating for optimal health. She began implementing changes with amazing results. She now has a new love for delicious, wholesome and nutritious food. She believes healthy nutritious eating is a key to a happier life.