Nutrition Tips for Summer from Club Active’s Senior Dietitian, Jean-Mari Mouton
‘Tis the season — to season your food’
One of the biggest nutrition mistakes people often make is thinking that healthy food must be boring or bland. If vegetables seem tasteless, it’s because they lack variety.
While not everyone may have the time and skill to be a home chef, one easy solution is keeping an array of spice blends and infused olive oils on hand to conveniently jazz up produce.
Feeling like a light and fresh summer meal? This is a zesty quick and easy meal that can easily be prepared under 30 minutes.
Zesty Lemon Pepper Fish with Greens and Quinoa
Number of serves 4
Nutrition Per Serve: 1790 KJ (425 cals), 42g Protein, 9g Fat, 36g Carb, 7g sugars, 13g dietary fibre
- 600g skinless fillets, deboned (I used Barramundi)
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 spring onion, cut into 5cm lengths and thinly sliced lengthways
- 300g broccoli, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- 150g snow peas, trimmed, halved diagonally
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons, 1 zested and juiced, 1 cut into wedges 2 lemons,
- 1 tbs lemon pepper seasoning
- For extra flavour and a bit of spice, I add a sprinkle of white pepper and a good drizzle of Cobram Estate Chilli Infused Olive Oil
- Place onion in a bowl of iced water. Set aside until ready to use. Place broccoli in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
- Cook quinoa for about 10 minutes in a large saucepan of 2.5 cups of boiling water, adding frozen peas and snow peas in the last 1 minute of cooking. Remove pan from heat. Stir in broccoli. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in zest, lemon juice and half of the oil. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Rub seasoning all over fish. Cook fish for 3 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through.
- Drain onion. Divide quinoa mixture among plates. Top with fish and onion. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!
Focus on positive changes, not restriction
If you think cutting carbs is the most effective, but it makes you crumble inside, it may not be the best approach. Focusing on the nutritional value of all foods is far more effective to create a balanced dietary pattern. If you can find something that brings positive emotions, it’s more worthwhile to include those foods in moderation.
For example, many people turn to snacking to express emotions like stress, boredom or even joy. If these occasions have turned into a habit and you would like to cut back, it’s best to replace it with something equally enriching. Going for a walk might replace a bag of chips or chatting with a friend could sub for a consolatory plate of cookies after a tough day.
Many people end up eating when they’re not hungry. There are so many needs we can mistakenly plug food into and there’s much better solutions.
One of the best ways to cut back on junk food in your diet is to swap it out with fresh, nutrient-dense alternatives.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant in summer — aim to make them fill at least half of your plate, and you’ve already made a major step toward eating healthier.
Plants should have the starring role of your diet, with animal products being the supporting cast. For a healthy balanced meal, aim for ½ your plate filled with colourful vegetables, ¼ plate lean protein and the other ¼ low GI carbohydrates.
For quick and tasty inspiration for salads and other vegetable-based dishes I often look through recipe books, food magazines, and platforms like Instagram as they offer an endless digital trove of ideas too.
Drink alcohol in moderation
“Often we don’t always think about the calories we sip as much as the ones we chew. “
Summer is often a time of cutting loose with patio beers or fruity cocktails and enjoying a drink or two doesn’t have to completely derail your diet or your fitness goals.
To avoid setbacks, it is helpful to be aware of how drinking fits into your overall lifestyle and have a plan for those summer social occasions. Make sure when you are enjoying the boozy beverage that you are tasting and enjoying every sip. Slowing down with your intake can be far more satisfying and helpful to reduce the number of glasses or beverages.
Soda water with lemon and lime, Kombucha or sparkling flavoured waters can offer a refreshing and enjoyable summer drink. Don’t forget to stay hydrated especially on the glorious summer days, whether you drink alcohol or not.
A treat a day is okay
After finishing a nutrient-dense meal, consider enjoying a healthy summer sweet for example a tasty probiotic yoghurt and seasonal fruit. A great strategy for a healthy dietary pattern is to aim for about 90% foods that you know are good for you. The other 10% (or one treat a day, as a rough guideline) can be things that you enjoy or have had a craving for, for example a glass of wine for dinner or a treat of chocolate. Finding a way to incorporate these foods, while still making progress on your health goals, is the key to sustaining healthy habits beyond summer.
All the best,