Healthy Eating Tips with Naturally Nina
Health and eating habits are in a constant state of flux but every new day is a fresh opportunity to get back on track and focus on nourishing our bodies. We spoke with Nina, a foodie and accredited Nutritionist (BHScNutr) specialising in sports & performance nutrition and eating disorders, to learn some of her healthy eating tips.
Nina founded Naturally Nina, a website and Instagram account where she shares healthy recipes and discusses her balanced approached to health and wellness. Cooking and sharing meals was a big part of family life for Nina and after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and later studying nutrition, she learned about the impact food has on how we feel on a day-to-day basis. We spoke with Nina about quick-cooking tips, balanced vegan meals and ideas for good, wholesome home cooking in general!
What are your top go-to quick healthy dinners?
I love making a quick veggie stir fry with whatever veggies I have in the fridge, so hopefully lots of colours, with some tempeh and quinoa or rice. Or some roasted veggies with baked pumpkin or sweet potato, paired with some falafel and avocado or a drizzle of tahini on top is also a favourite!
There are a lot of little fussy eaters out there, and we’re always looking for meals we can sneak extra veggies into. What are some everyday meals that you pack full of nutritious veggies?
Grating or finely chopping veggies (such as carrot, pumpkin and zucchini) makes them really easy to sneak into dishes such as pasta sauces, stews, chillis and curries. I never go without throwing a big handful of spinach in at the end too! Another sneaky way to add in extra veggies is grating zucchini or carrot into baked goods, like muffins or banana bread, and even pancake batters. It doesn’t affect the taste but adds extra volume and nutrient goodness!
You’ve got 20 minutes to prepare a balanced meal to serve four, what do you make?
An easy family favourite go-to has to be making chickpea pasta (a higher protein and fibre pasta that tastes just as delicious), with a quick veggie packed lentil Bolognese, fresh basil and some cashew parmesan on top. Delish!
What are your favourite summery recipes for right now?
I really love making ‘Nourish bowls’ out of leftovers in the fridge, which usually contain either rice, quinoa or sweet potato as a complex carb, a protein of choice, lots of colourful veggies and a delicious dressing! Smoothies are also a summer go-to, with my favourite being frozen banana, frozen mango, a spoonful of peanut butter, almond milk, a handful of spinach and 1-2 tbsp vanilla protein powder for a nourishing and refreshing snack or breakfast.
Do you have any time-saving tips for busy home cooks?
Definitely to batch and bulk cook! If you’re making something for dinner, make at least double the amount so you can have the leftovers for lunch the next day. Cooking up bigger batches of roasted veggies, rice or quinoa etc. can also be used to throw together quick nourish bowls or salads during the week.
Do you have any favourite one-pot dinners?
I love a good bean chilli with chickpeas, mixed beans, onion, garlic, tinned tomato, chopped sweet potato, any veggies I have in the fridge, and plenty of Mexican spices like cumin, ground coriander and paprika, topped with fresh coriander and some avocado. You can’t beat it for an easy and wholesome meal!
What are your favourite lunch or dinner ideas for healthy and balanced vegetarian or vegan dinners?
Some of my favourites are:
- Veggie tofu stir fry with rice or quinoa
- Falafel with hummus, tabbouleh and a fresh salad or pita bread
- Lentil Bolognese pasta packed with lots of veggies
- Homemade veggie pizzas or burgers (with a bean/lentil or tofu-based patty)
- Lentil dahl or a veggie tofu curry with rice
- Bean chilli served with baked sweet potato and guac
Do you have any favourite healthier desserts?
I love blending frozen bananas into a healthy ice cream! You can add different things for a variety of flavours, such as peanut butter, cacao powder, berries or mango. And then top with your favourite toppings, like crushed nuts, fresh berries, coconut flakes or even some dark chocolate!
What fresh produce do you always have on hand?
I always have a variety of colourful fruit, veggies and greens at home, and usually pick what is on special and in season at the time. I try to base what I cook on what I have available, rather than the other way around.
What are your pantry essentials?
Definitely a good variety of herbs and spices to add flavour to cooking! As well as base ingredients like oats, rice, quinoa, tinned beans and tomato, different dried fruits, seeds and nuts, pasta and healthy baking ingredients!
Do you have a favourite Celebrate Health product?
My favourite would have to be the BBQ sauce! It’s so delicious used not only drizzled on a variety of different meals, but used as a marinade for making delicious and flavoursome baked or barbequed veggies or tofu.