Cooking – love or loathe it, it can really be the cornerstone of your health. When was the last time you rolled up your sleeves and tried cooking a new recipe or used that expensive appliance that sits in the corner of a cupboard collecting dust?

It’s Australia’s Healthy Weight Week and one of the big focus points for this initiative is getting everyday Australians back into the kitchen and cooking more. It’s also about taking stock of your own health and putting some simple strategies in place to improve your vitality and (if required) your waistline!

So, let me steer you in the right direction with some strategies to get you back into the kitchen and to start making a few dietary changes that could make a big impact on your health!

Eat more vege:

Chop up some vegetables and have them in the refrigerator ready to eat. They make great ‘dipping sticks’ into hummus and increase your overall vegetable intake. With around 90 per cent of Australians NOT eating enough vegetables, this is a simple way to boost your intake. Plus, if there are any left after a few days, instant stirfry prepped!

Drink smart:

Ditch the sugar-laden fruit juices and soft drinks and aim to drink more water. A hydrated body will boost your vitality and also kerb some unnecessary eating. Thirst and hunger are often confused – so go for water first and then check the hunger signals.

Plan your week:

So if you are not great at cooking, perhaps think about what you can cook and expand your repertoire. If you can only cook (for example) bolognaise mince, then you can repurpose this in a number of ways – tacos, shepherds pie, chilli con carne or even lasagne. Be brave and experiment!

Smart snacks:

Some people are great with their meals but find they lose their way with too many processed snacks. Try and opt for whole and minimally processed foods like nuts, fruit, hard boiled eggs, vege sticks, olives and even homemade popcorn. Eat ‘close to nature’ and reap the rewards.

Pack your lunch: 

Four days a week, try and pack yourself a nourishing lunch. Whether it be leftovers or a healthy wholegrain salad sandwich. Packing your lunch ensures that you are well nourished throughout the day. One day each week, feel free to buy your lunch out if it is part of your routine. Just make smart choices.

Being at a healthy weight will not only have you feeling your best but also reduces your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. So get back to the kitchen and start putting a few healthy changes in place, so that you can be the healthiest version of you.

Until next time…

Eat well, be well