Healthy budget foods
You already know: Potatoes are a good source of potassium and fibre.
Surprise! There is such a thing as low-GI potatoes. Called Carisma potatoes, University of Sydney research found this lower-GI potato variety gives you longer-lasting energy and fullness compared to some other varieties. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, too.
Try this idea: Boil chopped Carisma potatoes then combine with low-fat Greek-style yoghurt, chopped fresh chives and finely chopped red onion to make a creamy potato salad.
Traditional rolled oats
You already know: Oats are rich in soluble fibre to help lower cholesterol.
Surprise! They’re a real hunger buster. Rolled oats provide low-GI carbs and protein to bust hunger and boost energy.
Try this idea: Add two to three tablespoons of rolled oats to meatballs, burger patties, rissoles or meatloaf instead of breadcrumbs. You can also try including two or three tablespoons of rolled oats in soups and casseroles to thicken slightly.
You already know: Chickpeas are high in fibre and protein.
Surprise! Just 75g of chickpeas counts as one of your five serves of veg for the day. Research also shows a high legume intake can lengthen your life. A seven-year study, spanning Australia, Sweden, Japan and Indonesia found that for every 20g increase in daily legume intake, there was a seven to eight per cent reduction in mortality risk.
Try this idea: Make your own hommus by blending 1 x 400g can of chickpeas, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 crushed clove of garlic, and 1 tablespoon of tahini (serves 8). Serve with wholemeal pita pockets filled with sliced cucumber, sliced tomato and shredded skinless barbecued chicken breast.
You already know: Brown rice provides vitamins, minerals and a greater amount of filling fibre compared to white rice.
Surprise! Eating brown rice can help with weight management. Brown rice is a Filling & Healthy food, and is low-energy-dense, meaning it fills you up but is low in kilojoules. A six-year study showed that women who ate mainly low-energy-dense foods put on less weight over time than those who ate high-energy-dense foods.
Try this idea: Try baked brown rice for breakfast. Place 1½ cups (300g) of brown rice in a baking dish and cover with 2½ cups (625ml) of boiling water. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 190°C until water has absorbed. Top with poached pears cooked with fresh ginger (serves 6).
Low-fat natural yoghurt
You already know: Yoghurt is a winning way to boost your calcium intake.
Surprise! It’s one of the best foods to eat after exercise. With high-quality protein, yoghurt helps with post-workout muscle repair and recovery.
Try this idea: Instead of cream or coconut milk, stir low-fat natural yoghurt into curries, laksas and tagines.
You already know: Canned sardines are an excellent way to boost omega-3 fatty acid intake for a healthy heart, mind and mood.
Surprise! They’re one of the most calcium-rich foods. Canned sardines are more affordable and sustainable than putting fresh fish on the menu regularly, and a 90g serve of sardines gives you more calcium than a cup of milk.
Try this idea: Whip up a Spanish-style tortilla by pan-frying sliced cooked potato, sardines, fresh tomato and parsley, then pouring over whisked eggs and cooking until set.
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