Salad on the side – the answer to Australia’s weight problem?



Yesterday the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the much awaited, early nutrition information from the big Australian Health Survey.

One of the most interesting things it told us, was that, in Australia, we are getting more of our kilojoules from things like pasta, noodle and rice dishes than any other type of food.


Part of it is because, they’re so popular now, but we also eat large amounts and often don’t have many veggies or any salad with them.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest about 1-2 serves of pasta at a meal, to keep a healthy weight. A serve is 1/2 cup of cooked pasta.


This serve of Spaghetti Bolognese above has about 4-6 serves.

But if we serve ourselves less pasta with our meals won’t we be hungry?

The secret is to always try to make meals half coloured veggies or salad.


Not only does this cut the kilojoules of the meal in half while still giving plenty to enjoy, but it helps us get our five serves of veggies that we need each day.


At home, it works well to serve half a plate of salad or vegetables first, then think about how much pasta and sauce you’d still enjoy, while staying comfortable.

A mixed pasta dish might look more like this.


It doesn’t really work to try to only add extra vegetables to the sauce, because the same amount of veggies, just won’t fit.

If you’re in a rush, have run out of fresh veg, or feeling like an easy meal, frozen vegetables are a great option. It’s good to always keep some on hand.


Take-away pasta or noodles, can work the same way.


Serve half as much with some vegetables or salad on the side.

If you’re eating out, it works well to order an entree sized dish and a side salad.

Or share a pasta or rice dish and a leafy salad with others.

Or even both!


Creamy Thai Red Curry & Coconut Carrot Soup – ideal for lunch through winter


Soup and toast

This quick and easy comfort food, is very light on kilojoules at around 350kJ per bowl.

Cook up a big batch to freeze in portions and take for lunch, or jazz it up with fresh chopped coriander and good bread to serve for friends.

For dinner, you can give it more body by adding extra cooked leftover/steamed/frozen veggies and even some tinned drained chickpeas.

It can be varied nicely by using cauliflower, broccoli or zucchini instead of carrot.

Serve two different colours together for added style.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2 tsp oil (leave out if not using curry paste)
2 tsp red curry paste (from a jar) (optional)
1 kg carrots (peeled and roughly chopped)
3 medium onions (peeled and roughly chopped)
2 tsp crushed garlic (from a jar)
1 Tbsp salt reduced stock powder
6 cups water
1 Tbsp salt reduced soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1x375ml can evaporated light milk (preferably coconut flavoured or add 1 tsp coconut essence to tin) or use light coconut milk

Heat oil in large saucepan and cook curry paste until fragrant. Add all other ingredients except milk and essence. Simmer until veg are tender. Add milk and essence and puree soup with food processor or hand held blender.

Source ‘Symply Too Good Yo Be True’ No. 4 by Annette Sym

Cauliflower mash – tasty, leaner swap for mashed potato


Portion perfection cauliflower mashComfort food for the cold weather, that won’t weigh you down

Love mashed potato but it’s just too ‘morish’?

Why not try cauliflower mash!

Cauliflower mash can be used instead of mashed potato with a winter casserole, or spread it on top of cottage pie mixture instead of potato!

So how do you make cauliflower mash? Simple!

Ingredients (Serves 4):

• 1 small head of cauliflower

• Optional: Your choice of added flavours (eg. minced garlic, herbs)


1. Chop cauliflower head in to florets.

2. Steam or microwave until very soft.

3. Add steamed cauliflower to food processor/blender or use a hand blender, as well as any additional flavours (if desired) and blend until smooth. You may need to add a small amount of hot water to reach your desired consistency.

4. Serve with meal, on top of cottage pie or however you wish to use it!

Source: Portion Perfection facebook site

Catering?….always include a large, interesting salad


A salad can be quick, easy and exciting.
Just start with mixed leaves and add layers of colour and texture, ending with the most interesting.

Even just a sprinkle of antipasti mix over leaves looks great.

But use whatever you’ve got:

Frozen – baby peas/baby beans/baby corn (just pour over boiling water and drain)

Leftover roast veg – anything colourful

Canned – baby beets, chickpeas, corn kernels

Fresh – sliced lebanese cucumbers, blanched snow peas or asparagus, cherry or chopped tomato, strings of grated carrot, sliced capsicum, avocado, spanish/ red onion

From the deli – antipasti mix, crumbled feta

Cooked chopped of sliced protein – cooked diced chicken, sliced beef or lamb, canned tuna or salmon, sliced boiled eggs, diced or crumbled cheeses, nuts, seeds

Dressing – mix equal quantities mustard with honey, brown sugar or white sugar and vinegar (plenty). Add a dash or oil if you like. Serve this separately, so leftover salad will last a bit longer.