12 foods to eat well and satisfy cravings

  • Share this story
12 foods to eat well <em data-src-img=

It’s the perfect time to kickstart your new plan to eat well. This doesn’t have to involve following unsustainable rules and feeling permanently hungry. Rather, it’s all about using your common sense and applying simple guidelines, such as doing some meal planning and being mindful of what you’re eating (nothing puts paid to good intentions faster than mindless snacking when you’re ravenous). try to eat nutrient-dense foods (those that contain a lot of nutrients relative to their kilojoule content). This means choosing foods as close to their natural state as possible, including meat, oily fish, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds, and a colourful variety of fruit and vegetables daily (phytonutrients, which have protective and antioxidant effects on the body, are responsible for their vibrant colours). You know the drill, but here’s a refresher:

* eat a range of plant-based foods, wholegrain, legumes and nuts
* eat a range of colourful, sustainably farmed veg and fruit everyday
* eat responsibly sourced fish and seafood
* eat food with less saturated fat and a wide range of healthier fats
* eat food with less sugar and salt
* eat free-range meat not treated with growth hormones or routine antibiotics
* eat food made without unnecessary additives such as MSG, tartrazine and ado-dyes

It needn’t be complicated or time-consuming. In fact, it’s quite exciting and easy when you regularly add a range of different ingredients – like the ones on these pages – to your shopping list. All they need is some basic preparation to bring out their natural deliciousness and you can have yourself a meal in 20 minutes or less. Even better, share it with friends or family and you’ll be doing everyone a favour – there are so many benefits to communing over a great meal.

1. Eggs

This year, expand your egg repertoire with Yotam Ottolenghi’s legendary Turkish-inspired skillet-baked eggs by flavouring spinach with softened leeks, baking the eggs on top and drizzling everything with chilli-spiced butter and garlicky yoghurt. Or you could soft-poach eggs to ooze deliciously into a grain bowl (try our recipe with barley, herbs and kale). Then again, you could just hard-boil them, dip in dukkah and eat as a snack. Whatever level you choose, the humble egg, which contains protein and a range of vitamins and minerals, will take you there.

12 food goals to eat well and satisfy cravings_eggs

2. Barley

Barley is high in dietary fibre, which provides a feeling of fullness, and is a great alternative to rice or couscous. Thanks to its versatility, nutty flavour and chewy consistency, it’s easy to incorporate into meals either as a side or part of the main event. Try barley in our grain bowl recipe with eggs, avo and kale (which deserves an honourable mention of its own – shred this versatile green into salads, bake it to make moreish veggie crisps, or be utterly virtuous and blend it into a smoothie to start your day.)

Kale-and-barley bowl with poached egg recipe

Try the kale-and-herb barley bowl with poached egg recipe here.

3. Baby marrow

Keep a punnet of these summer squash in your fridge and you’ll never be short of dinner options. Baby marrows are members of the cucurbit family and are great roasted and steamed. They’re also a pasta alternative loved by low-carb devotees. But embrace them raw and you’ll love their flavour even more. Add Tenderstem broccoli and grilled farmed trout for a substantial salad that’ll see you through to dinner.

Raw baby marrow salad with basil pesto and trout recipe

Try the raw baby marrow salad with basil pesto and farmed trout recipe here.

4. Broccoli

There really is nothing this cruciferous veg (it belongs to the same family as kale, cauliflower, turnips, Brussels sprouts and cabbage) can’t do. Broccoli contains vitamin C and folate. Chop it finely to make broccoli “rice”, sauté whole florets in olive oil with minced garlic and a crack of black pepper, make a broccoli pesto with olive oil, Parmesan, basil and lemon juice, or roast it to serve drizzled with with a yoghurt-based sauce.

5. Mackerel

Eating a wide variety of fish and seafood is an important part of your plan to eat well in 2018. The rich, bold taste of mackerel is a quick way to a flavour-packed breakfast, filling lunch or light supper. “A balanced diet should include at least two servings of fish per week, especially oily fish like mackerel, as it provides essential Omega-3 fatty acids our bodies can’t produce that contribute to the normal function of the heart, brain and eyes,” says Woolies dietician Cindy Chin. Buy the versatile smoked version with black pepper and you won’t even have to turn on the oven!

Peppered mackerel and smashed peas on rye toast recipe

Try this peppered mackerel and smashed peas on rye toast recipe here.

6. Tomatoes

Nothing signals summer like these guys – now available in red, green, orange and yellow. Slice them into exotic salads, caramelise for a tarte tatin, chop into salsas, simmer in veggie curries, or do as the Spanish do and rub them onto toasted ciabatta drizzled with olive oil (try the pan con tomate recipe here). Tomatoes are a dietary source of the antioxidants beta-carotene and lycopene, which is better absorbed by the body when it’s cooked with fat such as olive oil. The savoury flavour of tomatoes makes a great match with sweet, juicy nectarines and torn mozzarella in a vibrant seasonal salad that’s delicious with roast chicken or pork.

Tomato and Flavourburst nectarine salad recipe

Try the tomato and Flavourburst nectarine salad recipe here.

7. Nectarines

12 food goals to eat well and satisfy cravings_nectarines

These smooth-skinned flavour bombs are one of the greatest gifts of summer. Get your five portions of fruit and veg a day by snacking on the perfectly ripe, juicy fruit, slicing them to add to salads, serving with cheeses, combining them with tomato, chilli and cucumber in a gazpacho, poaching them to serve with ice cream, or making a refreshing fruity sorbet. Look for the ripe-and-ready white- and yellow-flesh Flavourburst nectarines at your local Woolies – they’re exclusive to the retailer and are sun-ripened for sweetness.

8. Almonds

These nuts are high in fibre and better-for-you monounsaturated fats. Stock up on the raw (unroasted and unsalted) nuts to blend into smoothies, crush over yoghurt and fresh fruit or snack on with pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds for a dose of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Try using them in stuffings and crusts for meat dishes, as well as in tagines and pilaus. When it comes to pantry staples, always have a jar of almond butter at hand (it’s more delicately flavoured than peanut butter) to spread onto French toast, add to hummus instead of tahini, whisk into a dressing for carrots or kale, or add to a pesto with chopped herbs, garlic and Parmesan. And if you’re steering clear of dairy, almond milk is a delicious substitute in smoothies, desserts and curries. (For something a little different, try the turmeric latte recipe here).

12 food goals to eat well and satisfy cravings_almond smoothie

Try the almond-and-banana smoothie with seeds recipe here.

9. Free-range beef

Here’s a rule to live by: eat meat less often – just a few times a month is enough – but when you do eat it, make sure it’s excellent quality, choosing free-range wherever possible (Woolies’ free-range beef is
never given growth hormones or routine antibiotics). “As part of a balanced diet, meat in moderation provides essential protein, iron and zinc, two minerals that are often low in our diets,” says Woolies dietician Cindy Chin. Choose leaner cuts like fat-trimmed fillet over fattier cuts more often to help reduce your intake of saturated fat. How to make great-quality meat go further? Slice it thinly to add to a salad with plenty of crunchy veg.

Seared summer free-range beef with vibrant veggies recipe

Try the seared summer free-range beef with vibrant veggies salad recipe here.

10. Avocado oil

Avocado oil is made from the pressed pulp of the avocado fruit, creating a culinary oil that’s rich in flavour, as well as high in monounsaturated fats. It has a high smoking point (the temperature at which an oil starts to smoke and break down) and is a versatile addition to your pantry, great for everything from searing steak to adding buttery flavour to dressings. Replace mayonnaise with avocado oil in tuna salad, drizzle it over fish before baking, or add it to hummus or guacamole to eat as a dip with fresh vegetables. (Peruse the shelves at Woolies for a variety of healthier oils that you can experiment with in your cooking.)

11. Yoghurt

Yoghurt contains calcium, which can be beneficial for your bones, and live cultures to help maintain normal digestive function. The plain version is the perfect blank canvas for breakfast (add berries, seeds and a drizzle of honey), and lends tartness to sauces, dressings and marinades. It’s also a great tenderiser for chicken, lamb and beef, and a substitute for buttermilk, sour cream and mayo. Such a great all-rounder, there should always be a tub in your fridge! Woolies’ Ayrshire milk is routinely tested and farms are audited to guarantee that cows are not treated with rBST hormones. Ayrshire yoghurt is thick and creamy, contains no added preservatives and millions of live bifidobacterium cultures.

Green goddess-style low-fat Ayrshire yoghurt dressing recipe

Try the green goddess-style low-fat Ayrshire yoghurt dressing recipe here.

12. Chickpeas

Eating more plant-based foods couldn’t be easier when you have a few cans or bags of dried chickpeas on stand-by (and you can also find a range of other legumes, wholegrains and pulses at Woolies). You will feel fuller for longer and these legumes are a source of protein, carbohydrates and fibre. Their nutty flavour makes a hearty base for quick salads (try adding grated baby marrow, feta, mint, red onion and a lemony vinaigrette). Or make your own falafel to fill pita pockets, or roast them to add crunch to soups instead of croutons.

Turmeric-roasted hummus recipe

Try the turmeric-roasted hummus recipe here.

Discover more features here.

Hannah Lewry Article by: Hannah Lewry

Woolworths TASTE’s Food Editor is passionate about conjuring up fresh ideas for fast and easy dishes that taste as great as they look. Turn to her expertise for everything from time-saving mid-week food to lazy weekend meals. You’ll have a lot of fun in the kitchen while you’re about it.

Social Media

You might be interested in...