Healthy eating

Outback Café TV chef Mark Olive talks about why healthy eating equals healthy living.

Mark OliveHi, I’m Mark Olive, from the television series The Outback Café.

I work with food for a living, so I know healthy eating is the key to a healthy life. It makes you feel better, and helps to protect you and your family from disease.

But you don’t need to be a chef like me to eat right. Healthy food is easy to prepare and it also tastes great!

Check out the links below to find out more about healthy eating, and ways to improve your own and your family’s diet.

What is healthy eating?

Healthy eating means eating a wide variety of nutritious foods.

You’ll need:

Plenty of fruit – oranges, apples, bananas, pineapple, mandarins, pawpaw, melons, berries. Australia has lots of different fruits. You pick your favourites!

variety of healthy foodPlenty of vegetables and legumes – tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, zucchini, beetroot, broccoli, peas, beans, lentils and local bush tucker like bush tomatoes, yams, warrigal greens, bunya nuts – the list goes on and on.

Cereals – foods like breads, rice, pasta and noodles – preferably wholegrain.

Some meat and eggs – lean meat (which has less fat), fish and poultry such as chicken (take the skin off!) or meat alternatives such as legumes and nuts. Traditional meats such as kangaroo, goanna, and emu are also really good to eat as they are lower in saturated fats than other meats.

Some dairy foods – milk, yoghurt and cheese (choose low fat varieties).

Lots of fresh water – try to drink water instead of sugary fruit juices or soft drinks.

Healthy eating also means cutting down on less healthy foods too.

You should:
  • Cut down on foods that are fatty
  • Cut down on foods that contain a lot of salt
  • Cut down on food and drinks that are sugary
  • Cut down on alcohol
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Well Done – Healthy cooking tips

It’s not just what you eat; it’s how you eat it. You can make a big difference to you and your family’s health by replacing unhealthy ways of cooking with healthy ones.

Here are some examples:
  • Use non-stick cookware so you don’t need to use cooking oil. If you do use oil use a spray or a small amount of good oil like olive oil.
  • Instead of frying food, try baking, grilling, boiling, steaming, microwaving, or poaching.
  • To keep valuable nutrients, microwave or steam your vegies instead of boiling them.
  • Cook in liquids like stock, lemon juice, fruit or vegetable juice, vinegar or water instead of oil.
  • Buy low fat dairy products and lean meats (and trim off the fat before cooking).
  • Remove the skin from chicken before cooking.
  • Don’t add salt when you are cooking.
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Added Goodness – get more fruit and veg into your family’s diet

Want to get more fruit and vegies into your family’s diet? Try these ideas:
  • Add a can of chopped tomatoes to your stews, casseroles or lean mince dishes.
  • Chop some capsicum or grate some zucchini or carrot and add it to bolognaise sauce.
  • Chop bananas or stew fruit to top breakfast cereal or oats.
  • Serve canned fruit (in natural juice with no added sugar) and sugar-free jelly for dessert, or make a fruit salad.
  • Have chopped vegies like carrot and celery sticks ready and waiting for the kids when they get home from school, or when you feel the need for a snack.
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Take Out Time – healthy takeaway options

Sometimes we’re too busy to cook, and it’s easier to grab some takeaway. There are healthy options here too!

Barbecue chook – remove the skin, and choose the breast meat. Avoid eating the stuffing and gravy.

Chinese food – choose steamed rice instead of fried rice, and select mixed vegetable dishes or lean beef or seafood stir fry.

Hamburgers – this can be a healthy choice if it’s made with lean grilled meat and low salt. Ask for no butter or marg, and get extra salad instead of bacon or cheese.

Italian – choose pasta with tomato-based sauces, and pizza with lots of vegetables and low fat toppings such as lean meat or chicken. Remember to ask them to go easy on the cheese!

Lebanese – get your kebab with extra salad but skip the fatty sauces.

Salad bar – these can look healthy but can still hide sneaky fat. Avoid salads dressed with mayonnaise – they’re high in fat.

Fish – choose grilled fish instead battered and deep fried.

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Mark's Tips

Tip 1

Still want crunchy potatoes? Instead of roasting or frying them in fat, cook them first in the microwave, then crisp them under the grill for a minute or two (keeping the skin on is better for you and remember no salt).

Tip 2

Eat more fish (without batter), which is high in protein, low in fat and loaded with omega 3 fatty acids – which are great to help prevent all kinds of diseases and health problems.
baked beans on wholemeal toast

Tip 3

Baked beans are quick, easy, healthy and yum – serve for breakfast on wholemeal toast.

Tip 4

Want a healthy snack? Corn on the cob is high in fibre and low in fat, and tastes great! Just don’t add margarine, butter or salt.

Tip 5

It’s not always easy to get hold of fresh fruit and vegies. But the good news is healthy fruit and vegetables can be fresh, canned or frozen (remember to choose canned fruit in natural juice with no added sugar.)

So even when you can’t get fresh foods, you can still enjoy healthy eating!

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