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Planning and Preparing balanced meals. Written by Alice Mika, Dietitian

Split your plate

Aim for ½ of your plate to be vegetables, ¼ to be low GI carbohydrate (eg rice, wholemeal pasta or bread, potato) and ¼ to be lean protein (trimmed meat, seafood, beans, tofu, eggs).

This strategy also works when ordering takeaway or eating out – you may need to order a side of salad or veggies!

Choose a cuisine

When struggling for inspiration, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. Sometimes choosing a cuisine can help make decisions easier.

For example, choose Mexican cuisine, and then build a plate using the above structure. This could be a burrito bowl with coriander, lime, rice/quinoa (carb), grilled chicken or bean mix (protein), and fajita vegetables/corn, lettuce, tomato, and avocado for vegetables.

Have a think about how you could achieve this with other cuisines.

Reduce preparation time

If you feel that the preparation of ingredients for meals is one of your big barriers to eating healthy or cooking at home, work to reduce these barriers.

Sometimes, buying pre-cut or frozen vegetables to add to your meals is the easiest way to ensure that you’re including them regularly.

Other examples of this may include:

- Buying salad mix instead of individual ingredients

- Buying pre-cooked chicken or other meat to have in salads/rolls meals

- Freezing extra sauce/stock to use instead of making from scratch

- If choosing premade sauces – opt for reduced salt/sugar. While these options may be convenient, it is important to choose ones with minimal unnecessary ingredients and no added salt or sugar.

- Stocking up on tins of beans/tuna/lentils to add to pasta sauces or soups for an extra protein top up.

While fresh is best, if buying premade options as above is going to make the difference between including vegetable and protein into your diet or not, it is still going to be a positive change. When buying premade items, it is important to balance these with a fresh and varied intake where possible.


Alice is an accredited dietitian with a Masters degree from Monash University and is currently close to finishing a FODMAP/IBS management certificate. Alice has always had a passion for nutrition, sport and the human body but also enjoys working with people with a wide range of conditions. These can include food intolerances, irritable bowel syndrome and weight loss. She has a holistic approach to health and likes to incorporate a variety of factors into well being including, diet, mental and physical health.

Alice strives to provide nutrition advice in a way that is accessible, practical and enjoyable. She can guide and support her clients through dietary changes to achieve a variety of goals, including

- Chronic disease management

- Weight loss or gain

- Nutrition for sport

- Food intolerance management

Making a dietitian is a definitive step towards using nutrition to improve your quality of life & energy levels. She is available for both face to face and Telehealth appointments.


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