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Recipe makeovers for healthier meals

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Recipe makeovers for healthier meals

Recipe makeovers for healthier meals

Some cooking methods are healthier than others, and picking a healthier method can be a useful way to make your meals healthier. There are a number of foods commonly added to meals that are high in fat, saturated fat, salt and/or sugar. Making simple swaps of these ingredients for healthier choices can add healthy nutrients to your meal, whilst reducing the quantity of less healthy nutrients.

Try these healthier cooking methods:

  • Stir-fry, using spray oil
  • Steaming
  • Grilling
  • Poaching
  • Microwaving
  • Roasting over a dish of water
  • Baking using spray oil
  • Air frier

Rather than salt, use herbs and spices instead to add flavour.

Add more non-starchy veggies to your dish!

Many dishes lend themselves to being packed out with more vegetables. By adding more vegetables to your dishes, you will increase the phytonutrients, as well as fibre. Non-starchy vegetables are nutrient-rich, and low in energy (e.g. tomatoes, spinach, broccoli). Use non-starchy vegetables to reduce your portions of other ingredients, including proteins, and complex carbohydrates. If you do not want to add vegetables to your meal, add a side of salad or steamed vegetables.

Try the following swaps to boost the nutrition in your meals:

When the recipe calls for this ingredient

Swap to these

Milk, yoghurt

Skim or reduced fat varieties, or a can of reduced fat evaporated milk. Add after you have removed the dish from the hot stove or oven to avoid splitting. You can thicken milk by adding a heaped teaspoon of cornflour mixed in cold milk before it is heating- stir constantly

Cream, sour cream

Replace cream and sour cream with the 85% less fat cream for cooking, or reduced fat evaporated milk. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar if the recipe says to use “sour” cream


Use reduced fat cheese varieties. Use an extra light cheese slice to thicken sauces. Mix grated carrot through grated reduced fat cheese

Butter, lard, copha or cooking fats

Use reduced fat margarine spreads, or avocado for sandwiches. In cooking, swap for polyunsaturated or monounsaturated margarine. You can replace some of the margarine in baking with a fruit puree


Use an oil spray rather than frying. Reduce the amount of oil, when necessary, in a recipe


Choose reduced fat varieties. Try substitutes like low fat yoghurt with mustard and lemon juice


Make your own. Using a combination of healthy oils such as olive, canola, avocado, sunflower, safflower or nut oils, or yogurt and add balsamic vinegar or other vinegars, lemon or lime juice, mustard, fresh or dried herbs, crushed garlic or mustard.


Extend your sauces by using evaporated reduced fat milk, or canned tomatoes

Make a cheese sauce by steaming cauliflower, and when soft blend it with light ricotta cheese, and a small amount of grated reduced fat cheese.


Choose lean meats and remove all visible fat. Add chopped fresh or frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes, kidney beans, chickpeas or brown lentils. Remove chicken skin before cooking.

Include meat free meals each week, using tofu, legumes or eggs as a source of protein.


Make pies bottomless and cover with a lattice of filo pastry sheets or reduced fat frozen pastry sheets or mashed potato for a savoury pie.

Coconut cream or coconut milk

Mix reduced fat evaporated milk with coconut essence or buy the version already flavoured. Use reduced fat coconut milk or cream.


Remove or reduce salt in recipes. Use reduced salt versions of canned goods, stock and sauces. Add herbs and spices so you can leave the salt out

Your Personal Healthy Eating Quiz

What you eat or don’t eat affects how you look, feel and perform. Take our short quiz to find out what foods you could introduce to help you be your best.

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What is healthy eating?

Eating healthy is making sure you enjoy a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups daily, in the amounts recommended. The five major food groups as recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are:

  1. vegetables and legumes/bean
  2. fruit
  3. lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
  4. grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  5. milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of key nutrients and eating a variety of foods from the list above helps to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease.

How do I improve my diet?

If you want to improve your diet you have come to the right place. By completing the Healthy Eating Quiz you’ll receive instant personalised feedback and a report on your diet quality to highlight any areas where you can improve your overall eating habits. Your score is based on the frequency and variety of the foods consumed from the five major food groups mentioned above. No Money No Time can help you improve your score by providing tips, goals and suggestions. On top of this we will provide quick, cheap and healthy recipes as well as credible answers to diet hacks, myths and FAQ’s.

Is my diet healthy?

Dietary habits are different between people. Some people choose to follow a particular diet (i.e., Keto diet or vegan diet) while some have to make changes due to certain food restrictions or health conditions. If you want to know if what you usually eat is healthy, then do the Healthy Eating Quiz today to give you the answers in less than 10 minutes.

Why is healthy eating important?

Your HEQ score and personalised feedback report is based on the frequency and variety of healthy core foods you usually eat. This is important because no single food contains all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Some foods are higher in nutrients than others and people who have a lot of variety in the foods they eat are more likely to be healthy and to stay healthy. In other words, if you can eat a large variety of vegetables as opposed to only 2-3 types of vegetables, the benefits are much greater. This type of diet also helps you to feel better, think better and perform better during your usual daily activities.

Take the Healthy Eating Quiz