BY Tara Baker
I hear the following questions quite a lot; “How can I make a healthy dinner when I am rushing around in the afternoons after the kids?”, “How can I take a healthy lunch to work when I get up at 4.30am to go?” and “How can I look after my family if you're asking me to cook my meals from scratch?”
I'm hearing you, I really am. It isn't easy. It’s easier to grab takeaway, to just eat toast or cook pasta and mix a jar of sauce with it, but in the long term this is doing nothing for your health but making you lazy because you’re tired. The more tired you get, the lazier you become and so the vicious cycle begins.
So, to help break this cycle I truly believe we need to undergo a priority check and explore our values. What is important to us? Do we actually want to be healthy, or do we like feeling lethargic and generally under the weather? I appreciate that we’re all busy and juggling different tasks, but there is nothing on Earth that replaces the power of a nourishing diet. It is a basic necessity of life. We don't feed our pets rubbish as we want them to live a long, healthy life without illness, so why do we not do this for ourselves?
Preparing real food takes time, but it is time we have to start allowing for in our day. When we say “I don't have time,” what we’re actually saying is "This is not a priority for me.” How does that sit with you? A nourishing dinner isn't a priority for you. In reality, we cannot expect to be able to compromise our nutrition and still have amazing health.
As the saying goes, we are the sum of the things that we do 80% of the time. You can't become an exceptional runner by completing just one run and by the same token, you can't become a non-runner by missing one run session. Theoretically, the same is with our food. You don’t become a healthy eater by eating a healthy meal once, just as you can't become an unhealthy eater by eating naughty once. So, recognise you are worth taking care of. Slow down a little and make time to chop extra veggies, make a pesto from scratch for the chicken, add fresh herbs to a salad, put seeds into your yoghurt, easy things, giving thought to yourself and taking responsibility for YOU. After all, you’re worth it.
This time of year I try to place an extra focus into immune boosting foods that help nourish and support the immune system. This is a delicious recipe for SUPERFOOD PESTO created by Caroline Beaumaris. I love its simplicity and the fact that this pesto is so versatile, allowing me to incorporate it into so many of my healthy recipes.
WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT IT:
The broccoli is full of alkalinising, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients called sulforaphane that work to support optimum health and protect against disease. It’s a true superfood rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, E and CoQ10. Broccoli is also a wonderful source of B group vitamins, vitamin K, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and manganese. Herbs such as fresh parsley and basil are full of superfood goodness that are anti-inflammatory to the body.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 1 JAR)
1 head broccoli
1 large bunch basil
1 bunch parsley
Generous handful baby spinach leaves
A handful of pumpkin seeds or your choice (raw sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts or macadamia nuts)
60g Parmesan – grated - optional but delicious
1 clove garlic, smashed
Generous pinch sea salt
Generous pinch ground black pepper
4 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil or a lovely lemon scented olive oil.
1. Chop broccoli roughly and place into your food processor for a few seconds until it is finely chopped.
2. Add basil, parsley and spinach and process again until finally chopped and mixed in with the broccoli.
3. Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon, Parmesan, garlic and pumpkin seeds.
4. Season with sea salt and pepper the process again until combined and finely chopped.
5. Add olive oil and give your superfood pesto one last wiz.
6. Taste and adjust the flavours adding more lemon, salt or pepper if required.
7. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.
NOTES AND INSPIRATION
• Use in-between layers of lasagne.
• Mix through zucchini spirals and heat in a hot pan until luscious.
• Spread over a pizza base before baking and top with fresh tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella.
• Mix through steamed or roasted vegetables.
• Serve with fish or chicken.
• Spread over a pizza base before baking.
Brodie Gardner has a Masters in Exercise Physiology, Honours in Sports Science and competes as a professional triathlete. He has a long history working with elite athletes and has provided consultation services to numerous Australian sporting associations.